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Explorer

Foreigner: Arc 2: Book 3

C. J. Cherryh

It has been nearly ten years since the starship Phoenix retuned to the abandoned station orbiting the world of the alien atevi. This station, called Alpha, had been deserted for centuries following a rift between a faction of the station's inhabitants and the spacers' autocratic Pilot's Guild. For two hundred years this splinter faction had shared a fragile coexistence with the atevi, living in isolation on the island of Mospheira, communicating with the brilliant but volatile atevi by the use of a single highly trained diplomat, the paidhi, and trading technological information for continued peace and safety.

The unexpected return of the Phoenix has forever changed the lives of both atevi and Mospheirans, for over the ensuing decade, the captains of the Phoenix have brought both the atevi and their human counterparts into space. Their motivation seemed simple: Reunion Station, a human station in another sector of space, had been destroyed by aliens.

But on his deathbed, the senior captain of the Phoenix admits that he lied to the crew - that Reunion was merely damaged, not destroyed, and many people, including family and friends of the Phoenix crew may have survived. At this disclosure, the crew rebels and forces the Phoenix to undertake a rescue mission to Reunion.

But the crew and captains do not go alone, for on board are Bren Cameron, brilliant human paidhi, now representing Tabini-aiji, the atevi ruler, and Tabini's grandmother Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, a fearsome, wily, and ambitious atevi leader with an agenda of her own.

Trapped in a distant star system with very little fuel left, facing a potentially bellicose alien ship, how can Bren help to avoid interspecies war when the notoriously secretive Pilot's Guild aboard Reunion Station won't even cooperate with their own ship, and may have kept the inhabitants of their own station ignorant of their true situation?

Inheritor

Foreigner: Arc 1: Book 3

C. J. Cherryh

Six months have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix - six months during which the alien atevi have striven to reconfigure their fledling space program in a breakneck bid to take their place in the heavens alongside humans. But the return of the Phoenix has added a frighteningly powerful third party to an already volatile situation, polarizing political factions in both human and atevi societies, and making the possibility of all-out planetary war an ever more likely threat.

On the atevi mainland, human ambassador Bren Cameron, in a desperate attempt to maintain the peace, has arranged for one human representative from the Phoenix to take up residence with him in his apartments, while another is stationed on Mospheira, humanity's island enclave. Bren himself is unable to return home for fear of being arrested or assassinated by the powerful arch conservative element who wish to bar the atevi from space.

Responsible for a terrified, overwhelmed young man, and desperately trying to keep abreast of the political maneuverings of the atevi associations, how can Bren Cameron possibly find a way to save two species from a three-sided conflict that no one can win?

Precursor

Foreigner: Arc 2: Book 1

C. J. Cherryh

Over three years have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix - the same ship which two centuries left an isolated colony of humans to fend for themselves on the world of the volatile atevi.

Since that time, humans have lived in exile on the island of Mospheira, using a single diplomat, the paidhi, to trade advanced technology for the continued peace and safety of its people.

But the unexpected return of the Phoenix has shattered forever the fragile, carefully maintained political balance of these two nearly incompatible races. For the captains of the Phoenix offer the atevi something Mospheira never could - access to the stars.

For three breakneck years the atevi labor to build a space shuttle which will bear their representatives to the Phoenix, to strengthen connections with their new human and retain their bid for control of their world. But as soon as the shuttle proves spaceworthy, the captains of the Phoenix suddenly recall their planetary delegates, breaking diplomatic contact and initiating a vicious bid for political dominance.

But the powerful head of the atevi's Western Association is not to be outmaneuvered, and he sends his own paidhi, Bren Cameron, into space to negotiate.

Thrust into a political maelstrom with almost no preparation, Bren is empowered to use any means at his disposal to achieve the atevi's aim. But can Bren gain control of the station and political supremacy for the atevi without sparking a three-sided interspecies war?