The first book in the fifth Foreigner sequence by Hugo Award–winner C. J. Cherryh.
In the wake of civil war, Bren Cameron, the brilliant human diplomat of the alien atevi civilization, has left the capital and sought refuge at his country estate, Najida. But now he is trapped inside Najida — which has been surrounded by enemies — with the powerful grandmother of his ally, Tabiniaiji, atevi leader of the Western Association. Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, is not inclined to be passive and sends Bren into enemy territory, to the palace of the leader of the rebels.
Bren’s mission is to negotiate with Machigi — a young atevi lord who has never actually seen a human — and somehow persuade him to cease his hostile actions against the west. Is Bren a shrewd enough negotiator to stay alive, and not alienate Ilisidi or Tabini, while also representing the interests of their enemy?
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.