C. J. Cherryh
Daw, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
his is the ninth episode (following
) in Cherryh's long-running
Bren Cameron was trained to live amongst aliens, and has done so for most of his adult life. Bren's people have long been marooned on this world in an uneasy peace with its inhabitants after early misunderstandings and violence. Though Cameron's role has been to oversee the gradual transfer of human technology to the less advanced
, he feels strongly about the aliens' right to control their own destiny and works to ensure it.
hrough the series, new groups have been added to complicate the mix of
and Mospheiran colonists. The ship crew and secretive Pilot's Guild entered the fray when the starship
reappeared, two centuries after leaving a human colony isolated on the planet. Then, a human/atevi joint expedition into space in
- including Cameron, the atevi ruler's acerbic grandmother Ilsidi and rambunctious young heir Cajeiri - made contact with a new group of aliens, the
, themselves in conflict with yet another set. All these humanoids exhibit subtle cultural and linguistic differences, rife for misunderstanding and conflict when (inevitably) interests collide.
, the space travelers returned to find
ruler Tabini's Western Association overthrown - their presence onworld and reuinion with Tabini became a catalyst for the ruler to take back control from the usurper Murini. Now they're readjusting to life in the capital, Shejidan. His elders have decided that the heir, Cajeiri - who spent the previous two years in space, comfortable with technology and humans, and relates to Bren as a father figure - must be weaned from these strong affiliations and allowed to develop more natural associations with his own race. Longing for the human friends he made on the starship, for pizza and old movies, Cajeiri rebels and gets into trouble.
t the same time, Bren worries about his brother Toby, in danger at sea, and finds himself making mistakes in a time '
when every unattended piece of his life seemed to have come loose and careened out of control.
' Then comes betrayal and crisis. Cajeiri's kidnapped and this episode - like the last one - moves into nonstop action near the dowager's ancestral home, involving Cameron, the indomitable Ilsidi, and the gritty young heir himself, whose captors have seriously underestimated his capabilities - and what he's learned from the movies. In the last few episodes, Cajeiri has joined the
as a significant catalyst for change, and I can't wait to see what trouble they stir up next.
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