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This review does not represent the opinions of the general public. It reflects my personal thoughts and opinions on the book.
That said, on to the review!
Author: C. J. Cherryh
Publisher: DAW Books
Copyright Date: 1999
The Phoenix returned to the world of the atevi, bringing with them news of a hostile alien race in the next star system over. Desperate to mount some sort of defense if the aliens follow them, the Pilots' Guild--the ones in power aboard the Phoenix--have been working with the atevi and the Mospheirans, descendants of the humans left behind when the Phoenix first left. However, despite the apparent reality of the alien threat, something strange is going on. With the two ship paidhi called back to the Phoenix, both the Mospheirans and the atevi are concerned that they're about to get cheated. Now Bren Cameron, paidhi to the atevi leader, has gone up to the space station that was once the home of his ancestors to sort things out and, incidentally, to ensure that the people on the planet don't get exploited by the Pilots' Guild. But while life among the atevi has prepared him for both hardline negotiations and armed conflict, nothing could prepare him for a confrontation in space, where one wrong action on either side could wipe them all out!
C.J. Cherryh's Precursor takes up the story shortly after the end of the Foreigner trilogy. And while it has been a while since those three books came out, the story is no less riveting and captivating. Not simply because the writing is great and the plot is interesting, but also because we get to return to characters we grew to love and see how their lives are progressing in the face of this new three-way stand-off.
One of the things that impressed me about the first three novels was how Bren was a man alone (or mostly alone) among the atevi where initially only the highest ranking atevi had seen him, then being thrown into hiding where others who had never seen humans before were suddenly able to gawk at him. One surprising thing about those books was the way Bren was like a negotiator between the Mospheiran humans and the atevi, often to the humans' detriment but ultimately to their continued survival. Now this book has him negotiating not only on the atevi's behalf with the Pilots' Guild, but also with the Mospheiran diplomats. Then, later, there are other tests to his skills and abilities. Here is a man who has had no end of difficulties being plagued with more and more!
Precursor looks like the start of another terrific trilogy in the Foreigner universe. I can barely wait for the next two books to come out so I can enjoy them too! But believe me: if you're going to read this book, you'd better read the first trilogy first, or there's going to be a great deal that you may not understand. Good luck!
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