In volume eight of Cherryh's masterful Foreigner sequence (Destroyer, etc.), Tabini, the deposed ruler of the atevi home world, represents humanity's best hope of survival on this alien planet and the atevi's own best chance of maintaining independence in a galaxy grown suddenly crowded with potential enemies. In order to retake control of his government, Tabini draws together various allies, allowing himself to serve as a possible target for assassination. Tabini must delicately balance the sensibilities of deeply conservative factions against the absolute need to push forward with the technological innovations that human beings have introduced to the atevi world. Human diplomat Bren Cameron, meanwhile, must simply stay alive, if only to prove to the skeptical atevi that other alien races do indeed exist and are headed their way. As usual, Cherryh alternates long stretches of brilliant, often oblique dialogue and complex political maneuvering with shorter interludes of violent, well-executed action. A science fictional equivalent of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire sequence, this series represents contemporary SF at its finest. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
As Atevi gather at Tirnamardi in support of Tabini, the deposed Aiji, Paidhi/interpreter Bren Cameron continues to receive mixed messages. Officially Tabini treats Bren with respect but continually bars him from strategy sessions, refusing even to look at the lengthy report Bren compiled from his two-year space journey. Bren fears that Tabini regrets listening to his advice and assumes that his close association with a human contributed to his overthrow. When mysterious Guild members arrive, Bren's security detail's preemptive strike removes the assassins and sends Tabini's entourage packing for Sheridan, the capital. The hodgepodge of buses and cars carrying Tabini's supporters face sniper fire and sabotage on the road. The Aiji's forces seize the capital, securing the vital government buildings. At the critical morning session, Tabini asks Bren to deliver his report to the legislators. Disregarding his own safety, Bren shields Tabini when an assassination attempt aimed at the Paidhi threatens the Aiji as well. Bren's devotion sways the members of the Aishidi'tat, convincing them of Bren's honesty and good faith. Always introspective, Bren's musings typically slow the narrative; however, psychological tension plays a large part in this drama. Characterization, especially innovative interspecies relationships, drives the books in the Foreigner series. This world, skillfully wrought and imaginatively maintained, holds its fans in thrall. Enthusiasm remains undiminished among its followers for this long-standing series. This eighth volume will be as eagerly awaited as the second. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; SeniorHigh, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2006, DAW, 327p., Ages 15 to Adult.
Nancy K. Wallace
Upon his return from a space rescue mission aboard the starship Phoenix, Bren Cameron, human paidhi (advisor) to Tabini-aiji, ruler of the humanoid atevi, finds his world in the midst of civil war and that Tabini-aiji is missing. Assisted by his loyal crew of bodyguards-Tabini's ancient grandmother Ilsidi and Cajeri, the ruling family's eight-year-old heir-Bren finds a haven with an allied family and watches as more allies arrive at the estate, hoping that their paidhi can prevent the destruction of their way of life. Billed as the "second book of the third Foreigner sequence," Cherryh's follow-up to Destroyer opens up new aspects of atevi civilization while introducing a younger generation of characters. Superbly realized characters and an intriguing, Asian-based civilization make this a good addition to sf collections, particularly where the author has a following. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Praise for the Foreigner series:
“C.J. Cherryh's splendid Foreigner series remains at the top of my must-keep-up reading list after two decades." —Locus
"This is the kind of anthropological SF of which [Cherryh] is an acknowledged master." —Booklist
"A seriously probing, thoughtful, intelligent piece of work, with more insight in half a dozen pages than most authors manage in half a thousand." —Kirkus Reviews
“One of the best long-running SF series in existence...Cherryh remains one of the most talented writers in the field." —Publishers Weekly
“This is one of the best science fiction series currently running….by this point, the series has turned into a complicated set of thrillers involving political and factional turmoil, as well as a close and detailed examination of the troubled interactions between human and alien cultures.” —Strange Horizons
“Cherryh plays her strongest suit in this exploration of human/alien contact, producing an incisive study-in-contrast of what it means to be human in a world where trust is nonexistent.” —Library Journal
"A large new novel from C.J. Cherryh is always welcome. When it marks her return to the anthropological SF in which she has made such a name, it is a double pleasure. The ensuing story is not short on action, but stronger (like much of Cherryh's work) on world-building, exotic aliens, and characterization. Well up to Cherryh's usual high standard." —The Chicago Sun-Times
“[Cherryh] avoids any kind of slump with a quick-moving and immediately engaging plotline, and by balancing satisfying resolutions with plenty of promises and ominous portents that are sure to keep readers’ appetites whetted.” —RT Reviews
“These are thinking man’s reads with rich characters and worlds and fascinating interactions that stretch out over many generations.” —SFFWorld
“Cherryh's forte is her handling of cross-cultural conflicts, which she does by tying her narrative to those things her point-of-view character would know, think, and feel.”—SFRevu