The eighteenth novel in Cherryh’s Foreigner space opera series, a groundbreaking tale of first contact and its consequences
Alpha Station, orbiting the world of the atevi, has taken aboard five thousand human refugees from a destroyed station in a distant sector of space. With supplies and housing stretched to the breaking point, it is clear that the refugees must be relocated down to the planet, and soon. But not to the atevi mainland: rather to the territory reserved for human, the island of Mospheira.
Tabini-aiji, the powerful political head of the atevi, tasks his brilliant human diplomat, Bren Cameron, to negotiate with the Mospheiran government. For the Alpha Station refugees represent a political faction that the people of Mospheira broke from two centuries ago, and these Mospheirans are not enthusiastic about welcoming these immigrants from space.
In the decades Bren has served Tabini, he has become enmeshed in the atevi world in a way no human ever has before. Bren is now an atevi lord, with his own estate on the mainland, his own household, and his own Assassin’s Guild bodyguards. He is a treasured resource to Tabini and has become close to Tabini’s young son and heir, Cajieri, the first atevi child ever to grow up in the presence of a human.
Tabini, impatient with human politics, has ordered Bren to return to the island of his birth in his official capacity as an atevi lord, with his full atevi retinue. Bren is to inform the president of Mospheira that he is no longer his diplomat, that Mospheira must take in the refugees from Alpha, and that there is no other acceptable solution. And among the refugees are three children requiring special protection because Cajieri has made them his “associates”—a bond of atevi loyalty that is unbreakable and lifelong.
While Bren travels to Mospheira, Tabini sends Cajieri to the country to visit his uncle Tatiseigi—a political gesture to shore up an old man and give the boy a well-earned vacation, a cherished opportunity to escape the formality of the atevi court. Tatiseigi’s neighbors, however, are determined to end an old feud to their own satisfaction….and Cajieri’s presence is just the excuse they need.
About the Author
C. J. Cherryh planned to write since the age of ten. When she was older, she learned to use a typewriter while triple-majoring in Classics, Latin, and Greek. With more than seventy books to her credit, and the winner of three Hugo Awards, she is one of the most prolific and highly respected authors in the science fiction field. Cherryh was recently named a Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. She lives in Washington state. She can be found at cherryh.com.
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
"My favorite science fiction series is C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner Universe. Cherryh deftly balances alien psychology and human vanities in a character caught between being human and part of an alien race." —Denver Post
“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 ChicagoSun-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
"The Foreigner series is about as good as it gets...so finely and densely wrought that you may end up dreaming of sable-skinned giants with gold eyes, and the silver spun delicacy of interstellar politics." —SF Site