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Winter's Orbit  By  cover art

Winter's Orbit

By: Everina Maxwell
Narrated by: Raphael Corkhill
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Publisher's Summary

The Iskat Empire rules its vassal planets through a system of treaties—so when Prince Taam, key figure in a political alliance, is killed, a replacement must be found. His widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with the disreputable aristocrat Kiem, in a bid to keep rising hostilities between two worlds under control. But Prince Taam's death may not have been an accident, and when Jainan himself is a suspect, he and Kiem must navigate the perils of the Iskat court, solve a murder and prevent an interplanetary war....

Winner of an ALA Alex Award

Sunday Times bestseller

Everina Maxwell's debut is a space opera with high-stakes multi-world politics and irresistibly engaging characters, perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

An LGBTQ romance and TikTok/BooTtok sensation. Find the author on Twitter at @av_stories

From the same author: Ocean's Echo (November 2022)

©2021 Everina Maxwell (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

Critic Reviews

"A chilling account of a dark past wrapped in the warm blanket of a promising future. A pleasure to read." (Ann Leckie)

"A stunning new space opera debut." (K. B. Wagers)

"'Dazzling. Its characters stayed with me long after I raced through the last chapters." (Aliette de Boddard) 

"High-pitched noises escaped me; I shouted, more than once, 'Now kiss!'...in a world so relentlessly uncertain, there's a powerfully simple pleasure in the experience of a promise kept." (The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about Winter's Orbit

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-27-21

Great story, narrator choices disappoint

I really loved the story when I read it as an e-book, so wanted to own the audio version too.


I really wish the narrator had not decided to put on a fake foreign accent for Jainan and Gairad and then used the same one for Bel for part of the book, even though she comes from a different society.

That really detracted from the excellence of the writing.

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  • Christopher Killey
  • 02-15-21

Amazing!

I was sold this book on the concept of gay space princes.

I got interplanetary courtly politics and secrets, an amazing queer love story, brilliant gender inclusivity and characters that I still can't get over.
Absolutely wonderful.

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  • Swuun
  • 02-11-21

Perfect in every way

The story and characters were an absolute delight, and it was truly wonderfully read. It was exactly the book I needed right now.

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  • Nelo
  • 09-11-22

loved it

sci-fi with loads of political intrigue and romance. this was a delight to read. I read the book along with the audio and I have to say the narrator did a good job with the story , you get a good distinction of the characters. I recommend this 👌🏾 it's a good listen

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  • Tom
  • 09-08-22

Fantastic

I keep listening to this book. It’s a magical and captivating read. Very well read!

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  • Pola
  • 12-31-21

Nice romance element, struggled with politics

I fairly enjoyed romance part of the book, even though miscommunication trope made me sigh very loudly. But, in this case, it is somewhat explained.

The rest of the plot was a struggle. I couldn't care less about any of it. There was very little show, but lots of tell. Not kind of world building I am looking for. This book almost put me into reading slump.

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  • maltesefalcon
  • 03-26-21

Stylish and intruiging

The love story element of this book is convincing; several emotional misunderstandings keep our leads distant for a frustrating length of time, and once the penny drops there are still hurdles to overcome before a final resolution. Gender and sexuality are dealt with fantastically well. The future queer society described is both satisfying and believable. I particularly liked that titles (emperor, prince etc) aren't indicative of gender. Even better, the writer doesn't rely on smut to bring about a sense of heated expectation - the scene in the mountains is wonderfully well done, delicate and passionate in equal measure.

If there was any disappointing aspect it was that the scifi, though brilliantly cued up, wasn't fulfilled. Tantalising glimpses of technology, space travel and a wider galactic community were hinted at then seemingly forgotten. Remnants of something highly prized were sought and disputed but never really explained. Negotiations surrounding a treaty of galactic importance were confused, then chaotic, then, when critically important, seemingly resolved merely by our two leads facing up to their feelings for each other. Often the drama defaulted to curiously non-scifi norms: the tabloid journalism seemed weirdly twentieth century to me, as was the nagging inconsitency that despite living in the imperial palace of a futuristic terraforming civilisation, one of our leads slept on a fold-out camp bed. Whatever, I still really liked the book. I feel like there is lots more to explore in this society, and having done the world-building it would be strange if the writer didn't revisit this corner of the galaxy in a future project. I certainly hope so.

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  • Yuli Atta (Damaged Pages)
  • 02-10-21

Amazing political scifi with lots of lgbt rep

I enjoyed this book entirely. Loved the story, the main characters and the overall intrigue

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  • Christopher
  • 06-16-22

A Brilliant New Voice

I'm excited to see how Maxwell's style and craft develops as they continue to write. As a debut novel, it was well executed. More romance with a sci-fi setting but managed to keep from turning self-indulgent. The world building raises interesting possibilities and I'm hoping to find out more soon.