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Robots and Empire is one of the later books in Asimov's "Robots" series - it's hard to place it exactly, as so many stories have been published and republished in anthologies.
If you have not read any of this series, I highly recommend starting from the beginning; although each story is told in such a was that the events in the previous books doesn't need to be known, the development of his main characters takes place over a much longer time-frame.
This book was written well after both the original two "Robot" books and the beginning of the "Foundation" series, but fills in the gap in the timeline perfectly.
Isaac Asimov's stories all tend to have a moral lesson to be learnt. In some stories, this lesson is thrust at the reader wiht no way to avoid it; in others, it is more subtle. Robots and Empire is definitely one of the latter; the plot, characterisation and dialogue are fully effective in masking the moral lessons.
Isaac Asimov does not present us with super-men and women in this story; instead, we see people who are still flawed in one way or another - fear, ambition, greed, naivety; even the robots have their fears and flaws that make them accessible to us, the reader, as someone we can identify with.
Even the brilliant scientists of the planet of Aurora become people we can understand; perhaps they know a little more than us about one topic, but they are still human, still people.
Robots and Empire neatly rounds off the "Robots" series, and - together with Pebble in the Sky - opens the stage for the beginning of the "Foundation" series.
Ideally, read the Susan Calvin stories and Bicentennial Man (both found in "The Complete Robot") first, then the first three Robot novels (Caves of Steel, Naked Sun and Robots of Dawn), then this novel before continuing on to the Foundation series.