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Defender (Foreigner) by C. J. Cherryh

Defender (Foreigner) (original 2001; edition 2002)

by C. J. Cherryh

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8631215,504 (4.17)33
Title:Defender (Foreigner)
Authors:C. J. Cherryh
Info:DAW (2002), Mass Market Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library, Read in 2011

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Defender by C. J. Cherryh (2001)



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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This is the fifth of the Foreigner series, and Bren Cameron has made the terrible mistake of becoming comfortable in his new role as the representative of the atevi ruler aboard the space station. He has spent the last several years carefully maintaining peaceful relations among the atevi, the humans of the island of Mospheira on the planet, and the humans of the returned starship, Phoenix. Phoenix is refueled, the first of the new starships is well along in construction. One of the atevi aboard the space station, Lord Geigi, has even worked out a method of raising fish (a food acceptable to atevi at all seasons) on board the space station in manner that's practical and yet also complies with the strict atevi taboo against raising captive food animals.

So, of course, at this point, the senior Phoenix captain, Ramirez, dies, and with his dying breath imparts a dangerous secret to the most junior captain, Bren's old friend and fellow paidhi, Jase Graham. The space station the Phoenix crew had built in another star system was not completely destroyed by the aliens who attacked it; there were survivors on board who were left behind to begin repairs while Phoenix went for help. Only a tiny number of people knew this; virtually the entire crew was lied to, being told that their family members were dead. In addition, because part of the station survived and there were survivors aboard, it's possible that the aliens, if they returned, could have obtained information about the location of the atevi homeworld and the fact that it's the nearest thing to a home base that humans in these parts have. This is overheard by a station worker who came to the infirmary with a minor injury, and the rumor gets out, and all hell breaks loose, as atevi, Mospheirans, and crew realize how critically they've been lied to. The Phoenix captains vote to go back to the other star system and rescue those remaining on the partially-destroyed station, because they'll have a mutiny on their hands if they don't.

Meanwhile, Bren's mother is ill, possibly seriously, his brother's marriage is being seriously damaged by his efforts to Make Mother Happy (an impossible task) and he wants Bren to come home, take care of Mother, and fix his marriage, and Bren's ex-fiancee is hinting that she wants to get back together. In his professional life, Bren is unable to communicate with Tabini, the atevi ruler he serves. He's receiving no communication, directly or indirectly, and gets no response to his own messages, no matter h ow urgent. Has he lost favor with Tabini? If so, this could be a serious problem, given how thoroughly he's burned his bridges with Mospheira.

And then Ilisidi, Tabini-aiji's grandmother, arrives aboard the space station, with Tabini's six-year-old heir, Cajeiri, in tow, and Bren's life gets exciting.

If you're allergic to Cherryh's prose, avoid this; it's more of the same. If not, however, this is an enjoyable new entry in an enjoyable series. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
One has to be prepared to read the Foreigner series in sets of three, as the story arcs follow that pattern. This is, btw, appropriate to the auspicious three of the Atevi culture . . . but never mind. Captain Ramirez, senior of the ship Phoenix, dies suddenly and it becomes evident that only the topmost layer of lies to do with where and what the ship was up to before returning to the atevi planet and station has been uncovered. Bren finds himself feeling abandoned by Tabini, but events sweep him onto the ship and out into space, accompanied, to his surprise and chagrin, by the incomparable Illisidi, Tabini's grandmother and Tabini's six year old son (already as tall as a human adolescent). They are to go to the "lost" space station, Reunion, which, it turns out may still have people living on it, might have been attacked for good reason after some human (Ramirez) trespassed on yet another alien culture. It's all very touchy as the ship crew have family who were left there and had thought them all dead. Bren is now "Lord of the Heavens" as appointed by Tabini, to negotiate atevi interests as needed. More powerful than he ever imagined. But at Illisidi is (predictably) at loggerheads with Sabin, the senior captain on the mission, whose motives are ambiguous and loyalties unknown. The dreaded Pilot's Guild, are they in charge of this mission? Find out in Book 6. Bad idea to start these any time you know you will be too busy to sneak off to read them. **** ( )
1 vote sibyx | Feb 21, 2016 |
Book five in Cherryh's Foreigner series, in which two groups of humans and one group of aliens deal with messy politics, a push for technological advancement, and a lurking external threat. This one is set something like seven years after the previous volume, and features some shocking, well-kept secrets finally coming out. It feels very much like a transitional part of the story, a setting-up for what comes next, but despite that, and despite the fact that even for this series the ratio of things actually happening to people sitting around talking is very low, I found it a surprisingly fast and engaging read. Maybe that's because those were some darned interesting shocking secrets. Or maybe I've just gotten thoroughly into the groove of Cherryh's leisurely, decades-spanning storytelling. Either way, I'll be interested to see where it goes from here. ( )
  bragan | Nov 9, 2015 |
A deathbed confession, overheard by the wrong person, sets a wildfire of emotion through both the station and the ship crews as they learn there may be survivors on a station they abandoned when they ran back to the Atevi world.

Betrayal, anger and distrust are rampant in every interface between the various human groups and even with the Atevi. However, with the ship refueled, there is no reason why the crew can't go back to get the missing people. A year-long journey and a chance of a hostile alien encounter are only part of the problem. A decade has passed since they abandoned Reunion. What will they find when they return?

The hope that friends and family might still be holding on in the partially destroyed station is going to lead to a mutiny if a rescue isn't immediately launched -- and even that would take a year to reach the station -- then there is going to be serious trouble.

Into this atmosphere, Bren Cameron must try to work a solution to everyone's liking -- but he's working blind in one respect. He has had no instructions from the Aiji or the Atevi government. Urgent messages go unanswered at a time when he most needs the guidance of his friend.

He knows friend is not a word he can apply to any Atevi. He knows that he doesn't feel what they feel, and yet he can't help but feel a level of betrayal when he learns the Aiji has been working with another rather than with him. He's been cut off with no one but his loyal Atevi companions to stand by him in a dangerous situation where he can only guess what the leader of the Atevi world will want. Add the pressure of family commitments he can in no way deal with, and believing himself abandoned and betrayed, Bren can only do what he's always trained to do -- mediate between groups of people who are one step away from open warfare. When the indomitable Illisidi and the Aiji's young son come to the station, intending to travel aboard the ship, the situation grows even more complex.

Defender is an exciting book from start to finish, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing just what might be the truth and what enemies might Bren faces. As always, the alien society is exceptionally well-written and the plotting superb. This book is a real treat for fans of the series. ( )
1 vote zette | Feb 23, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. J. Cherryhprimary authorall editionscalculated
May, Daniel ThomasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll,StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Asad, Barb, Harriet, and Irene,
and to Ann, Lawrence, Elaine, Elizabeth, Elinor
and Cynthia...
They found the missing pieces.
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Firelight went up to the red figures of an ancient frescoed vault, smoke-hazed from the braziers on either side of the black stone tomb.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0756400201, Mass Market Paperback)

National best-selling author and winner of three Hugo Awards, C.J. Cherryh presents book two of her second Foreigner trilogy-the epic story of a single human delegate on a hostile alien planet.

In this long-awaited sequel to Precursor, the alien atevi enter the treacherous politics of space travel-as their one human negotiator is caught in the throes of a mutiny...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:07 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An isolated human colony has led a precarious existence on the hostile world of the Atevi, until the return of the starship Phoenix threatens to shatter the balance of power.

(summary from another edition)

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