For the aficionados of anthropological science fiction.
What is the Foreigner Series about?
Sci-Fi series created by American writer C. J. Cherryh, The Foreigner universe centers on the descendants of a ship lost in transit from Earth en route to found a new space station.
This series is composed of multiple trilogies of books beginning nearly two centuries after the starship Phoenix disappeared, leaving an isolated colony of humans on the world of the atevi. The story follows Bren Cameron. He is the human paidhi, a translator-diplomat to the court of the ruling atevi race.
Foreigner Series in Order:
- Foreigner – It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, had encountered the planet of the atevi. War became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. Now, nearly two hundred years after that conflict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. Then the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin’s bullet.
- Invader – 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. Cut off from his government and haunted by the continuing threat of assassination, Bren realizes his only hompe may be to communicate directly with the Phoenix as the spokesman of the atevi—an actuan which may cut him off for good from his own species.
- Inheritor – Six months have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix. During these six months, the atevi have reconfigured their fledgling space program in a bid to take their place in the heavens alongside humans. But the return of the Phoenix has added a frighteningly powerful third party to an already volatile situation, polarizing both human and atevi political factions, and making the possibility of all-out planetary war an even more likely threat.
- Precursor – For three breakneck years the atevi labor to build a space shuttle which will bear their representatives to the Phoenix, to strengthen connections with their new human allies and retain their bid for control of their world. But as soon as the shuttle proves spaceworthy, the captains of the Phoenix suddenly recall their planetary delegates, breaking diplomatic contact and initiating a vicious bid for political dominance.
- Defender – Nearly ten years after the unexpected return of the starship Phoenix, the alien atevi have three functioning space shuttles, and teams of atevi engineers labor in orbit to renovate the space station. But these monumental advances not only add a dangerously powerful third party to an already precarious diplomatic situation, but rouse pro- and anti-space factions in atevi society to incendiary levels.
- Explorer – The unexpected return of the Phoenix has forever changed the lives of both atevi and Mospheirans, the captains of the Phoenix have brought both species into space. Their motivation seemed simple: Reunion Station, a human station in another sector of space, had been destroyed by aliens. But on his deathbed, the captain of the Phoenix admits that he lied to the crew—that Reunion was merely damaged, not destroyed, and many people may have survived. At this disclosure, the crew rebels and forces the Phoenix to undertake a rescue mission to Reunion.
- Destroyer – Exhausted from a two-year rescue mission in space, the crew of the starship Phoenix return home to find disaster: civil war has broken out, the powerful Western Association has been overthrown, and Tabini-aiji, its forceful leader, is missing.
- Pretender – In a desperate move, paidhi Bren Cameron and Tabini’s grandmother Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, along with with Cajeiri, Tabini’s eight-year-old heir, make planetfall and succeed in reaching the mainland. The brilliant and forceful Ilisidi seeks refuge at the estate of an old ally, and Tabini-aiji arrives at the door.
- Deliverer – In the aftermath of civil war, the world of the atevi is still perilously unstable. Tabini-aiji along with his son and heir Cajeiri, and his human paidhi, Bren Cameron, have returned to the seat of power. The usurper, Murini, has escaped to the lands of his supporters, but the danger these rebels pose is far from over.
- Conspirator – Tabini-aiji is training his young son in the traditional ways of the atevi, and has Cajeiri under strict supervision. But after two years in space, surrounded by human children, Cajeiri bristles in this boring environment. Desperate for freedom and adventure, disregarding the obvious danger, Cajeiri escapes the Bujavid with his young bodyguards and sets out to join Bren on the west coast.
- Deceiver – Najida, Bren’s coastal home, is no longer the safe haven it once was. For a neighbor’s estate has been left without strong leadership. Lord Geigi now resides on the atevi space station, and in his absence, rebel clans have infiltrated his home. When these rebels attack Bren’s home, the paidhi has no choice but to recall Lord Geigi from space. Can Lord Geigi, Ilisidi, Bren, and Cajeiri overcome their adversaries and end this guerilla war that is the last vestige of revolution?
- Betrayer – 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. Bren’s genius for negotiation enable him to make a daring trade offer to Machigi—one that seems to interest the young warlord. But Machigi is suspicious of Ilisidi’s motives, and, to Bren’s utter shock, evokes an ancient law that jeopardizes Bren’s life.
- Intruder – Bren Cameron has just returned to the capital from his country home. But his sojourn was anything but restful, for Bren and his associates have had a small war of their own to contend with, ending with rebel leader, Machigi, joining the atevi congress representing the rebels as a member state.
- Protector – Tabini-aiji, head of the Western Association and Bren’s ally, has promised his son, Cajeiri, that he can have the young human children he knew from his voyage on the world’s space station sent down to the planet for a birthday celebration. But there’s far a darker business going on in the background…
- Peacemaker – Bren Cameron has received evidence that security has been severely compromised from the aiji’s high office on downward. The powerful Assassins’ Guild—which provides the judicial system, law enforcement, and personal protection in atevi society—is in the hands of a man who would like to turn the entire world back two centuries.
- Tracker – At last, things are calming down; the Assassins’ Guild is functioning again, working out its internal difficulties, and Bren is settling back into his routine: not as Lord of the Heavens; not—to his regret—as Lord of Najida peninsula, where his leisure estate is located; but as paidhi-aiji, an official in the atevi court.
- Visitor – The human and atevi inhabitants of Alpha Station, orbiting the world of the atevi, have picked up a signal from an alien kyo ship telling them that the ship is inbound toward Alpha. Five thousand of the inhabitants of Alpha are human refugees from the now derelict Reunion Station. Bren managed to communicate with that grateful kyo individual on a limited basis. But no one can predict what an alien race might do, or what their motivations could be.
- Convergence – With supplies and housing stretched to the breaking point, it is clear that the refugees must be relocated down to the planet, and soon. But not to the atevi mainland: rather to the territory reserved for human, the island of Mospheira.
- Emergence – Bren Cameron, acting as the representative of the atevi’s political leader, Tabini-aiji, as well as translator between humans and atevi, has undertaken a mission to the human enclave of Mospheira. Both his presence on the island and his absence from the continent have stirred old enemies to realize new opportunities.
- Resurgence – Bren Cameron usually represents the ruler of the atevi state. But Ilisidi, the dowager, has been known to borrow his services from time to time—and she has her own notions how to solve the simmering hostilities in the south of the atevi continent, playing one problem against another.
Prequel Short stories