Saturday, March 12, 2011

Betrayer-C.J. Cherryh

C.J. Cherryh
Daw, Apr 5 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756406547

Bren Cameron is the paidhi-aiji negotiator with the Atevi. He and the ruler of all of the ai-shidi’tat states, Tabini-aiji, have become close friends especially during the recent civil war in which the human’s skills at solving difficult issues proved valuable.

However, though the capital of Bujavid is back under full control, hostilities remain especially in the Marid District, which borders on Bren’s estate. Tabini’s grandmother Illisidi assigns Bren to use his negotiating skills to broker a deal between Tabini-aiji and upstart ambitious Machigi of the Marad. Machigi is interested in what the first human he has met says, but distrusts sly Illisidi. Instead he invokes Atevi law by naming Bren the mediator between his unstable side and that of the leader. Knowing Atevi history better than almost any native, Bren knows the most difficult part of the assignment is staying alive as mediators almost always are the only thing two fractious sides agree on; that is death to the mediator.

The third book in the fourth Foreigner Universe series (see Deceiver and Conspirator) is a terrific cerebral entry with plenty of action, but the as political machinations are the backbone to the exciting story line. The human hero is once again caught in the middle but this time he is must prove loyal to both sides in the debate; no t easy to achieve since he and Tabini are close friends. Fast-paced, as always in this saga, readers need a chapter or two adjust to the local dialect as C.J. Cherryh transports her audience to het Foreigner Universe.

Harriet Klausner

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