Sunday, April 4, 2010

Deceiver-C.J. Cherryh

C.J. Cherryh
Daw, May 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756406011

The atevi civil war is over; at least the overt hostilities that is. The Western Association ruler Tabini-aiji has won a shaky victory, but the prime enemy plotter still remains free; as Machigi chieftain of Taisigi clan has powerful followers in clandestine locations especially inside the capital.

While Tabini tightens his control, his human friend and loyal supporter Bren Cameron, who stayed in space for two years, returns planet side, but stays far away from the capital so the xenophobic enemy cannot use him as an alien immigrant. Instead he remains on his estate in Najida where hiding in his basement is Baiji nephew of the Maschi clan chief. He hides from Machigi who was arranging a political marriage of convenience with fifteen year old Tiajo of his clan; once married Machigi was going to have Baiji killed so Tiajo’s relatives can run the strategic lands on the west coast. Although staying away from the capital, danger arrives in Najida when Tabini’s son Cajeri sneaks way from his secret service protectors to Bren’s estate; followed by his Great-grandmother; and soon afterward assassins.

The exciting second tale in the fourth trilogy arc of the Foreigner Universe is a strong entry that fans will appreciate. The underhanded conspiracies and alliances started in Conspirator (should read first so as to avoid being lost in space) continue to thrive. The atevi-human relationships are fascinating to observe especially through Bren’s assessment; he realizes he is a PR nightmare for Tabini, but hiding in space and then on the Najida estate fail to abate the albatross he feels around his neck because he is too loyal a friend. Readers will enjoy the return to the wonderful world of C.J. Cheryh as the overt war may be over, but the covert hostilities remain only the audience will mostly be away from the capital.

Harriet Klausner

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