Destroyer by C.J. Cherryh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jacket Blurb: It has been two years since the starship Phoenix
left Alpha Station on a rescue mission where over four thousand human
spacers were under attack by a hostile alien race. Now, exhausted from
their journey, the crew of the Phoenix yearns for home. But when the ship makes the jump into atevi space, they learn the worst: that supplies to the station have been cut off; that civil war has broken out on the atevi
mainland; that the powerful Western Association has been overthrown;
and that Tabini-aiji, Bren Cameron's primary supporter and Ilisidi's
grandson and ally, is missing and may be dead.
With no one left
to lead the Western Association, Ilisidi and Bren know that the
survival of their allies lies in their hands. And with the atevi
world at war, the only safe landing strip lies on the human colony at
Mospheira. Although there are many dangers inherent in bringing a
powerful atevi leader such as Ilisidi onto human lands, Bren
realizes they have no other choice. But even if they safely survive
their landing, will Bren and Ilisidi together prove strong enough to
muster the remaining shards of the Western Association and regain
control of their planet?
I love this series. The world and character building are outstanding, there is so much subtlety within those typed pages, and it's a thinking book as much as it is an action book. I find this combination absolutely perfect and absorbing.
These are not stand alone books and I highly recommend you start at the beginning with Foreigner. Destroyer is book number one in the third sub-series of this sequence.
As with most of Cherryh's books, this starts out somewhat sedately, then before you know it, you are being sucked along with the characters and while it's not Fast and Furious, there is quite a bit of continual action. The atevi/human ship has arrived back in-system from a two year voyage to find the ruler of the Atevi missing in action and presumed dead. Political upheaval is threatening everything Bren and Tabini have been working toward - which is modernization of the Atevi up to and including space travel. This forward progress has not been without it's resistance, and those political factions took advantage of the pahdhi's, Dowagers and the heirs absence to move against the ruling party. Now Bren and the Dowager must act with unseemly and unfortunate haste to prevent everything Tabini has work to achieve from completely collapsing, because there are seriously, bigger things in the universe to worry about and a divided Atevi means a fallen Atevi.
My main complaint with this book comes perhaps with Bren bemoaning that the current political strife is his fault, that he should have seen it coming, that it was his (and Tabini's) actions that led to this civil war. He pushed too hard, too fast against Atevi tradition. He released too much technology too soon. He advised unwisely. He did this wrong, he did that wrong. I wanted to reach into the pages, grab him by his wilted lace, and shake some sense into him. A minor frustration overall.
Ultimately, a great read. Highly recommend the whole series.
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