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Precursor
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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.

Reviews

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.

In the fourth volume in her widely praised Foreigner series (Inheritor, etc.) Cherryh sends diplomat and translator Bren Cameron into space to conduct a tense three-sided negotiation among the Pilot's Guild on the recently returned human starship Phoenix, the ateviÄthe planet's indigenous sentient species, whom Bren now servesÄand the Mospheirans, the human colonists whom the starship long ago abandoned in the atevi's world. Although there are beings of good will on all three sides, xenophobia, cultural preconceptions, factionalism and old animosities roil the situation, as do deteriorating conditions on the long-abandoned space station where the negotiators meet. Worse, a presumably hostile third intelligent species is lurking in the galactic neighborhood and may be in the process of tracking down the Phoenix. Making things even more difficult for Bren is his complicated relationship with his mother, who is driving him to distractionÄvia electronic mailÄwith her insistence that he reestablish a relationship with his recently injured former girlfriend and with her refusal to take seriously the danger she's in at the hands of Mospheirin factions hostile to Bren's mission. The novel features well-developed characters, Cherryh's trademark sophisticated political negotiations and strong prose. Of particular note is the author's ongoing exploration of the atevi, one of the more fascinating alien cultures ever imagined. Taken as a whole, this series, which promises to consist of six volumes when complete, represents mainstream SF at its very best. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"A powerful look at the effects of alienation on individuals and societies...probably the best series installment of the year, and a welcome return from one of our very best writers." --Locus

"The novel features well-developed characters and Cherryh's trademark sophisticated political negotiations and strong prose. Of particular note is the author's ongoing exploration of the atevi, one of the more fascinating alien cultures ever imagined. Taken as a whole, this series represents mainstream SF at its very best." --Publishers Weekly "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." --Library Journal "Superior alien-contact series...another intriguing human/alien struggle." --Kirkus "Once again, readers can revel in Ms. Cherryh's ravishing characterization and sensitive exploration of cultural subtleties." --RT Reviews

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