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- ISBN: 978-0586062005
- Title: Robots and Empire
- Author: Asimov, Isaac
- Publisher: HarperCollins, New York
- Year: 1985
- Pages: 512
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The fourth novel in the Robot Series, Robots and Empire provides the transitional plot to the Foundation Series.
It has been over 200 years since the events of The Robots of Dawn. Elijah Baley has succeeded in promoting galactic exploration among earthmen. Baley himself spent the remainder of his days settled on a distant planet.
He is survived by his descendants, and his name echoes throughout the newly settled worlds as an Earth hero. His humaniform robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, and the mind reading proto-humaniform robot R. Giskard Reventlov, are still functioning, and remain quiet guardians of the human race.
Both robots are in the possession of Gladia Delmarre, a long lived Spacer woman and former mistress of Baley. She wearies of the centuries of her long existence, though she is soon reinvigorated by an encounter with a seventh-generation-descendant of Baley’s, Daneel Giskard (or D.G.) Baley, a Settler trader.
D.G Baley enlists the help of Gladia to visit her former home planet of Solaria, to help unravel the mysterious destruction of several visiting settler spaceships. Although seemingly abandoned by the Spacers, Solaria possesses an imposing threat that the crew must survive.
Her visit sets into motion a series of events, leading to Gladia’s fulfillment of Elijah Baley’s legacy, while she encounters Baley’s former adversary, Kelden Amadiro. Her robot advisers and protectors, Olivaw and Giskard, discover a plot by Amadiro and his conspirators to destroy Earth. Olivaw and Giskard must use the most of their abilities to secretly unravel and thwart the plot, and must even transcend beyond the three laws of robotics in order to save Earth.
This is my favorite novel of the Robot Series. The characters have been fully fleshed out by Asimov, and their struggle to live up to Elijah Baley’s legacy is engaging. The interactions between the robots Olivaw and Giskard are unique and interesting. Due to their secretive nature, they must solve a crisis of humanity, without possessing the necessary qualities to do so. Through reason, determination, and something of a robotic spirit, they transcend their programming to meet the crisis.