Tangled Yarns

Tangled Yarns

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: Foreigner by C J Cherryh

Book Blurb: It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, has encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on the planet so many light years from home.

Now, nearly two hundred years after that confict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. The the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin's bullet. The work of an isolated lunatic? ...The interests of a particular faction? ...Or the consequences of one human's fondness for a species which has fourteen words for betrayal and not a single word for love?

My Thoughts: This is not the typical Space Drama kind of sci-fi book. It touches on sociology, politics, family dynamics, superstitions, lingual anthropology, culture clashes and psychology. Not only does it feed my inner sci-fi geek, it feeds my school geek as well!

Foreigner is the first of a series, which seem to be set up groups of three - a very fortunate number, by atevi reckoning. Atevi society is feudal, full of high intrigue, formal manners and strong traditions. The human colony, abandoned by its ship, has built up its island in the image of old Earth - right down to its love of technology for technology's sake. To keep the peace, there is one human allowed on the mainland, to interpret, to regulate the flow of tech to keep it from ravaging the balance of the atevi world. Bren Cameron is the current paidhi, or interpreter. And the planets align in just such a way that his quiet role is elevated to major player in mainland politics. He gets greater insights into the atevi than his training ever hinted at. Often at gun point, or at the least while under fire. For as cerebral as I find this book, it certainly does not lack action.

Publisher: DAW

Released: November 1994

This book is owned by the reviewer

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