Nearly two centuries after the starship Phoenix disappeared into the heavens, leaving an isolated colony of humans on the world of the atevi, it unexpectedly returns to orbit overhead, threatening the stability of both atevi and human governments.
With the situation fast becoming critical, Bren Cameron, the brilliant, young paidhi to the court of the atevi is recalled from Mospheira where he has just undergone surgery. But his sudden and premature return to the mainland is cause for more than mere physical discomfort. For in his brief absense, his government has sent in his paidhi — successor, Deana Hanks — representative of a dangerous archconservative faction on Mospheira who hate the atevi. And though she should depart when Bren is once again able to fill his post, no recall order comes.
Cut off from his government and haunted by the continuing threat of assassination, Bren realizes his only hope may be to communicate directly with the Phoenix as the spokesman of the atevi — an action which may cut him off for good with his own species. Yet if he doesn’t take this desperate and illegal action, he may be forced to helplessly bear witness to the final destruction of the already precarious balance of world power.
C. J. Cherryh (born 1942) is the pen name of Carolyn Janice Cherry, a multiple-award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer. She currently resides in Spokane County, Washington.
Cherryh is pronounced ”Cherry”. The author appended a silent ”h” to her real name because her first editor felt that ”Cherry” sounded too much like a romance writer.
The asteroid 77185 Cherryh has been named in her honour.
Lost in a navigational mishap, humans from the spaceship Phoenix have made landfall onto a planet inhabited by the atevi, whose thought processes are utterly alien to humans. This leads to a war with devastating results.
Bren Cameron is the current paidhi, whose job it is to provide translation services and act as the sole liaison between the humans, now settled on the island of Mospheira, and the atevi. But interesting times are ahead...
The Foreigner Universe consists of twenty-one books. The current recommended reading order for the series is provided below.