Precursor: Book Four of Foreigner

Precursor: Book Four of Foreigner

4.6 11
by C. J. Cherryh
     
 

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Over three years have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix, which two centuries before left an isolated colony of humans on the world of the volatile atevi. Since that time, humans have lived in exile on the island of Mospheira; but the unexpected return of the Phoenix has shattered the fragile political balance of these twoSee more details below

Overview

Over three years have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix, which two centuries before left an isolated colony of humans on the world of the volatile atevi. Since that time, humans have lived in exile on the island of Mospheira; but the unexpected return of the Phoenix has shattered the fragile political balance of these two nearly incompatible races. For the captains of the Phoenix offer the atevi something the Mospheiran humans never could—access to the stars.

For three breakneck years the atevi labor to build a space shuttle which will bear their representatives to the Phoenix, to strengthen connections with their new human allies and retain their bid for control of their world. But as soon as the shuttle proves spaceworthy, the captains of the Phoenix suddenly recall their planetary delegates, breaking diplomatic contact and initiating a vicious bid for political dominance.

But the powerful head of the atevi's Western Association is not to be outmaneuvered, and he sends his own diplomat, or paidhi, Bren Cameron, into space to negotiate. Thrust into a political maelstrom with almost no preparation, can Bren gain control of the station and political supremacy for the atevi without sparking a three-sided interspecies war?

The long-running Foreigner series can also be enjoyed by more casual genre readers in sub-trilogy installments. Precursor is the 4th Foreigner novel. It is also the 1st book in the second subtrilogy.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Bren Cameron is the trusted human liaison to the court of the atevi in this sequel to the Foreigner trilogy. Two centuries earlier, a group of humans dropped from their starship onto the surface of the atevi's planet. Those still on board the ship took off into space, leaving their brethren to cope with sharing a planet with a species whose worldview was totally different. After a neardisastrous war, the atevi and humans have learned to coexist, with the atevi living on the mainland and the humans exiled on an island. Now their peace is shattered with the return of the starship, whose commanders claim that an attack from aliens is imminent. It is Bren's job to reconcile all three factions to build a spacebased defense against the attack. Readers looking for actionadventure will not find it here. The plot is slow moving and the tone is introspective and contemplative. Bren constantly agonizes over whether his efforts will achieve the desired end or whether he jeopardizes the whole process with a wrong diplomatic move. He and the other characters are cardboard stereotypes with very little depth to make them memorable. It is unlikely that anyone other than those who have read the Foreigner trilogy will care enough to finish this one. VOYA CODES: 2Q 2P S A/YA (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 1999, DAW, Ages 16 to Adult, 438p, $23.95. Reviewer: Diane Yates
Library Journal
Abandoned by the starship Phoenix, the human colony on the island of Mospheira has learned to exist with the alien atevi who occupy the rest of the planet. When the unexpected return of the Phoenix opens up the possibility of space travel to the atevi, Bren Cameron, a human trained in the art of atevi relations, is assigned to handle the delicate negotiations between humans and aliens. Trouble arises, however, from a third species whose presence may spark a three-sided conflagration unless Cameron succeeds in his difficult task. Cherryh continues to explore the rich culture portrayed in the Foreigner trilogy with this first novel in a new series. Combining hard sf with realistically complex characters, this blend of adventure and intrigue in the far reaches of space belongs in most sf collections. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Johnathan Strahan
Cherryh manages to imbue [the novel] with sufficient warmth and humor that it never descends to grimness, and through the accumulation of many small events—which progress the plot only slightly—she manages to build a much larger picture. If Precursor has a flaw it is that it doesn't really stand alone. To fully appreciate the novel, readers need to have read the earlier books in the series. That said, it is probably the best series installment of the year, and another fine novel from one of the genre's very best writers.
Locus
Kirkus Reviews
Addition to Cherryh's superior alien-contact series (Inheritor, 1996, etc.) about the humanoid-alien "atevi" and the colony of castaway humans they've graciously permitted not only to survive but flourish on their planet. Atevi society, composed of jostling clans and factions and prone to violence, is bound together by instinctive loyalty but little else. A pro-human atevi faction, led by the powerful Tabini, sponsors Bren Cameron as human translator/technical liaison and has appointed two loyal atevi, Banichi and Jago, as Bren's bodyguards. But the starship that originally brought the colonists has returned from deep space with news of hostile aliens in the offing. So the ship's representative, Jase Graham, is working with Bren in releasing technology to the atevi and helping them build spaceships in order to enlist them as allies. Certain atevi factions, however, oppose all this. Another intriguing human/alien struggle: the tiny, intricate plot wheels hum, even if the big picture changes hardly at all.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101662250
Publisher:
DAW
Publication date:
10/01/2000
Series:
Foreigner Universe Series , #4
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
79,901
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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