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Defender: Book Five of Foreigner Mass Market Paperback – November 5, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of the best long-running SF series in existence, Cherryh's Foreigner Universe books (Precursor, etc.) tell the story of a small human colony abandoned on a planet inhabited by the atevi, an alien race whose humanoid anatomy disguises radically different instincts and thought patterns. Misunderstandings have led to war in the past and make human/atevi diplomacy incredibly difficult. Bren Cameron trained for decades to be the paidhi, the only human allowed to negotiate with the atevi, overseeing the slow transfer of advanced human technology to the brilliant but less advanced natives of the planet in trade for vital raw materials. Eventually, Bren changed sides, becoming the representative of Tabini, the atevi's ruler, to humanity. Now the political situation has been complicated by the return of the Phoenix, the starship whose much hated crew abandoned the colonists some two centuries earlier, and, worse yet, by the starship's report that its crew has discovered a hostile space-faring race relatively nearby. The senior captain of the Phoenix, negotiating through Bren, agrees to help Tabini build a second starship to defend the planet, but as Bren learns after the captain's mysterious death, other plots are afoot and not all the information shared by the starship can be trusted. As usual, Cherryh provides a riveting plot that emphasizes intense human/alien interactions instead of physical violence. Perhaps undervalued because she writes in traditional forms that don't appeal to the literati, while too difficult for some fans of space opera, Cherryh remains one of the most talented writers in the field. (Nov. 6)Forecast: The pulpish jacket art by the usually quite competent Stephen Youll won't bring in new readers who will appreciate Cherryh's work, but established fans will know better.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

On the planet of the atevi, the arrival of the crippled starship Phoenix spawned technological and social change. Now the atevi have a space program and crews in space repairing the Phoenix, but they also have pro- and anti-space factions that are practically rioting in the streets. Tabini-aiji-, leader of the Western Association, sends his selected human spokesman, Bren Cameron, to the space station to find out what is really going on. A lot more than meets the eye, he discovers, including double and triple crosses, plots, subplots, counterplots, and all the other goodies arising from Cherryh's hallmark characterization and world building. This excellent and intelligent book by one of sf's most powerful imaginations sports a plot that is always complex, occasionally convoluted, and seldom independent of that of Precursor (1999), to which it is the direct sequel, continuing another of Cherryh's sagas of human-alien interaction. Like its predecessor, it is a good read, too. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Foreigner (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (November 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756400201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756400200
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've written sf and fantasy for publication since 1975...but I've written a lot longer than that. I have a background in Mediterranean archaeology, Latin, Greek, that sort of thing; my hobbies are travel, photography, planetary geology, physics, pond-building for koi...I run a marine tank, can plumb most anything, and I figure-skate.

I believe in the future: I'm an optimist for good reason---I've studied a lot of history, in which, yes, there is climate change, and our species has been through it. We've never faced it fully armed with what we now know, and if we play our cards right, we'll use it as a technological springboard and carry on in very interesting ways.

I also believe a writer owes a reader a book that has more than general despair to spread about: I write about clever, determined people who don't put up with situations, not for long, anyway: people who find solutions inspire me.

My personal websites and blog:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Julie Czerneda on December 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm an avid fan of C.J.'s work, especially this series. DEFENDER is not a standalone book, which makes it difficult to review on its own. It's the hiatus between storms, the bridge to what will happen in EXPLORER, and such moments necessarily aren't as satisfying as the final book of any trilogy.
This being said, I wasn't at all disappointed. DEFENDER moves us forward several years, to a time when significant changes have occurred: the birth of the heir, the settling of the station, the tightening of bonds between the economies, and the highly significant and logical development of several more beings who can communicate with both species. There is a feeling of settling accounts on the planet, so that the focus of the characters, and readers, now turns to space.
I can't wait to see where C.J. takes us in EXPLORER. I do feel confident this series will come to stand as one of the great achievements of science fiction. Well done and highly recommended!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I somewhat agree with Terry Cholar's review, although I wouldn't call myself "disappointed". Just "not as thrilled as I expected to be."
There was a feeling of "marking time while setting up the next book". Also, the richness of characterization that I loved from the earlier books was also diminished. Jago, Banichi and Cenedi could have been pretty much any generic Atevi Guild members.
If one were actually to list the significant events in the book (which I won't for the sake of those who haven't read it yet), it would be a pretty short list. That said, what little that does occur takes place in the same rich network of intrigue and totally believable clash of cultures that make me love this series.
Readers of the first 4 books will probably enjoy Defender. But it may not live up to the expectations caused by the quality of the prior books and many months of waiting for Defender's publication. I can't wait for book 6!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sarah McUmber-House on March 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As usual, Cherryh has left us wanting more, and knowing we'll get it!
The latest in the "Foreigner" series is no disappointment, except, of course, that the next one is not out for us to grab, run with, and get lost in ... yet.
The depth of the characters just continues to grow, surprises are sprung, and we are kept comfortbly intimate with our established characters. New views, new twists, new horizons, maturity, and new members of the cast strengthen our need to read and pull us into the associations.
I can hardly wait for "Explorer", and the one after that, and the one after... well... you get the picture.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is definitely a "bridge" book and doesn't have a lot of story on its own. Yes, it has the "crisis" that us Foreigner series readers have some to expect but it is much more muted in this book and not that satisfying.
With the lack of a strong story on its own, the central "difficulty in communicating with an alien race" theme begins to grate a little after 5 books.
It seems kind of extreme to say it of a 464 page book, but I think it could almost have been edited down to be the first chapter of the next book in the series. When I see this kind of thing, I always wonder if the publisher is applying pressure to squeeze out that last dollar.
Explorer, the next book in the series, is out now in hardback and my expectations are very high that Ms. Cherryh gets the series back to the level of quality we have come to expect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alysoun Taylor-Hall on November 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This novel is the second volume of the second atevi trilogy. I understand the way trilogies go. The first volume is a self-contained story, with the hero emerging victorious in the end. In the second volume, things turn out to be more complicated, and the hero's future is in doubt, building to the third volume, where we get the big finish. But if the second volume doesn't contain a good story, the reader might not come back for the third volume.
I have read almost everything C. J. Cherryh has written, and she is one of my favorite authors. No author I've read does a better job of creating alien psychologies. Of everything she has written, this series is the best. (It seems almost unfathomable that the atevi aren't real. They have to be living out there, around some distant star somewhere, they're too wonderful not to be!) I'm constantly reading bits of the novels to my non-reader husband, because they're too good not to share. This novel was originally promised in January, and it has been a difficult wait. In preparation for the November release date, I reread the first four books.
I am sad to say that this book just doesn't deliver enough to keep a loyal reader satisfied through the next two-year wait. Of course, we loyal fans have to read it to prepare for the next volume, but the next time Ms. Cherryh commits to a trilogy, I hope she will make sure she has three stories to tell. This novel feels more like a placeholder.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on April 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Sharing a planet between humans and alien atevi has been difficult enough. But when the captain of the spaceship Phoenix dies suddenly after announcing that a long-lost orbital station is still inhabited, the uncertain alliance is shaken--possibly beyond repair. And Bren Cameron, the man tasked as the link between atevi and human is put on the spot. Somehow he has to balance the interests of not two but three parties. Because the crew of the Phoenix is not much closer to, or trusted by the humans of Mospheria than they are by the atevi.
Few if any S.F. authors do a better job in either world-building or in analyzing the psychology of their characters than does C. J. Cherryh and DEFENDER demonstrates Cherryh's skills. The atevi are a completely convincing society--alien in ways that go far beyond physical appearance. Cameron's psychological depth, his ambivalent feelings toward the atevi whom he represents and the humans from whom he springs--drives the story forward.
Unfortunately, as sometimes occurs in middle novels of a series such as DEFENDER (DEFENDER is a sequel to PRECURSOR), the psychological development forms an excessive part of the entire plot. Although humans and atevi are racing to be ready for the attack of a third, completely alien, species, this species doesn't actually make an apperance in the novel. Instead, politicking between the spaceship and atevi, and Cameron's constant worry about his role in the new order, fill the pages. According to the cover blurb, DEFENDER is the THRILLING sequel. A few more thrills would have definitely helped.
I am a huge Cherryh fan (I think the Alliance/Union series ranks among the best S.F. ever written). DEFENDER isn't Cherryh at her best, but any Cherryh is worth reading.
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