The long-postponed sequel to The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn is another locked-room mystery that detective Lije Bailey is called to the Spacer planet Aurora to solve. He is reunited with Gladia Delmarre, with whom he had a frustrated relationship in The Naked Sun. The novel devotes some time to discussing why destroying a robot is murder and sifting through a series of suspects until Bailey finally discovers that another robot (Giscard) caused the brain-death to shield the robot’s creator, and that he himself is present to further the cause of space exploration. In the process, Asimov hints at the beginnings of psychohistory.
The Robots of Dawn was the beginning of Asmov’s efforts to combine his robot stories and his Foundation stories into a single unified future history. Because there are no robots in the Foundation stories, this novel was the first stage in rationalizing their disappearance (or going undercover). The final stage was depicted in the sequel, Robots and Empire. The Robots of Dawn, more than twice as long as its two predecessors put together, was a best seller.