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Pretender (Foreigner Universe) Mass Market Paperback – February 6, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In volume eight of Cherryh's masterful Foreigner sequence (Destroyer, etc.), Tabini, the deposed ruler of the atevi home world, represents humanity's best hope of survival on this alien planet and the atevi's own best chance of maintaining independence in a galaxy grown suddenly crowded with potential enemies. In order to retake control of his government, Tabini draws together various allies, allowing himself to serve as a possible target for assassination. Tabini must delicately balance the sensibilities of deeply conservative factions against the absolute need to push forward with the technological innovations that human beings have introduced to the atevi world. Human diplomat Bren Cameron, meanwhile, must simply stay alive, if only to prove to the skeptical atevi that other alien races do indeed exist and are headed their way. As usual, Cherryh alternates long stretches of brilliant, often oblique dialogue and complex political maneuvering with shorter interludes of violent, well-executed action. A science fictional equivalent of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire sequence, this series represents contemporary SF at its finest. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The eighth book in the Foreigner saga finds Bren Cameron needing to exert all his diplomatic skills and call on all his allies among the atavi just to stay alive. Two candidates for the rulership of that formidable race are squaring off for a deadly and total confrontation, and the influence of foreigner Cameron is considered at least partly responsible for the situation. Meanwhile, Bren and some of the atavi are aware that another, deadlier alien race is emerging from the starlanes to disrupt the political and military calculations of all factions to date. Cherryh makes no pretense of keeping her sagas simple enough for readers to begin them this far into the sequence, but on the other hand, her world building, aliens, and suspense rank among the strongest in the whole sf field. May those strengths be sustained indefinitely, or at least until the end of Foreigner. 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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Tabini's felicitous arsenal of 9 wine bottles-cum-petrol bombs didn't seem like much of a force to be reckoned with, aside from their symbolic and provocative value. Then again, Atevi wine bottles would be larger than Human wine bottles :-)
There were a few technological and cultural development oddities, but it would be getting too picky to be reasonable, I think. More reasonable would have been for Destroyer and Pretender to have been consolidated into one 400 page publication, with Deliverer as the second and another for the third, which would have simply ended some place else further on.
Readers of Pretender might find 'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence' interesting.
I enjoyed the increased amount of Guild action in Pretender and it felt faster-paced overall relative to Destroyer, the first book in this trilogy.
Bren continues to wallow a bit in angst over whether he was to blame for the successful coup that deposed Tabini Aiji. However, events move far too quickly for an extended pity party and soon he's right back in the thick of the action with his Assassin's Guild bodyguards.
Cajeiri is moving from brat-hood to an interesting character who actually contributes to the storyline a bit more and the Dowager continues to delight yet again.
I've been a fan from the start so I was having a great time with Banichi, Jago, Ilsidi and the rest of the Atevi cast when it occurred to me that very likely if I had started this series with this book I would be incredibly lost. And the further I read the more I decided that new readers would need a "Companion" volume to figure everything out.
So if you have read previous books this one is a good read, if you haven't-- go back and start with Foreigner (and I envy you the chance to read the series for the first time.)
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