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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner, originally published in 1994, is the first novel in what has become the three-time Hugo Award winner's most popular saga to date -- an in-depth exploration of human/alien interaction and of what it means to be human.
A great deal has changed in the five centuries since a lost colonial starship running desperately low on fuel fatefully found sanctuary on a nearby G5 star. After a small group of humans landed and learned that the world was already populated with an aggressive race of aliens known as atevi -- giant black-skinned, yellow-eyed warriors -- a short but fierce war ensued. Impossibly outnumbered, the technologically superior humans ended the bloodshed by agreeing to share their scientific advances in return for their own sovereign land. They are exiled to a large but remote island, and the only human who is allowed interaction with the atevi is known as the paidhi -- a moderator of sorts who must be a master diplomat as well as a dedicated student of the very complex atevi culture. As the paidhi, Bren Cameron must deal with a society that has 14 different words for betrayal and none for friendship. In a civilization where assassination is an "ordinary and legal social adjustment," Cameron learns quickly how to stay alive.
Cherryh's Foreigner sequence (Foreigner, Invader, Inheritor, et. al.) is arguably one of the best-known sagas dealing with the interplay of humanity and alien cultures. Mixing adventure and intrigue with an almost sociological look at her characters, Cherryh's Foreigner series is comparable to Alan Dean Foster's Commonwealth novels -- energetic, insightful, and wildly entertaining. Paul Goat Allen