Friday, 24 June 2011


Writing a review for the 11th book of a beloved series, nearly two decades in the reading is probably not the most useful thing I could be doing with my time. If you've got to book 10 I doubt you are going to need much prodding from me to pick this one up. But I love this series too much not to want to just tuck the book away and move on without getting a few words about it out of my system. The politics is thick in this one. There's always quite a bit but this one seemed to have more than usual. I'm not much of a political animal so I'm glad Bren, our trusty paidhi, is on hand to keep track of the situation. Like the previous book, instead of the single Bren point of view we also get to see the world from the perspective of the precocious Atevi lordling Cajeiri. He's having a spot of bother with his new bodyguards who are showing no signs of forming manchi with him, that unquantifiable (at least on human terms) Atevi instinct that causes members of their race to form attachments. To their cost humans have confused manchi with the Human understanding of love or friendship, neither of which have any Atevi equivalent. Inter-species linguistic confusions caused the Atevi-Human war not long after the Humans first arrived. Peaceful co-existence was deemed too unstable and prone to further misunderstanding and the human survivors were ceded an island kingdom and a permanent separation from Atevi interaction. With one exception. Bren Cameron. He is the paidhi. A diplomat charged with interpreting all Human-Atevi contact. Things have moved on quite a lot since those early days and Bren is now paidhi-aiji. He's basically gone native, and become so valued by the Atevi high-muck-a-muck's he's been granted his own lordship, land and the loyalty of his own Atevi aishid (currently four Atevi bodyguards). Great characters, thorough world building, Cherryh's brilliant style of prose and restricted point of views make for fascinating and beguiling sci-fi. If you haven't tried a Foreigner book yet, do yourself a favour and go hunt out book one.

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