Conspirator by C.J. Cherryh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Blurb: Cajeiri is the young
son of the powerful leader of the Western Association-and he has become a
target for forces bent on destroying his father's rule. For Cajeiri is
the first ateva to understand the humans living among them-an understanding that threatens his own race.
The jacket blurb for this book is generic to the point of pointless, since the story revolves around Bren, the Dowager, and the young gentleman Cajeiri as the characters and plot moves forward. Towards what, remains to be seen...
The politics in the Capitol have forced Bren from his temporary residence to his home on the coast, which he decides isn't such a bad thing. A visit and some relaxation are long overdue. What he leaves behind is one very disgruntled Cajeiri, who takes it upon himself and his companions to follow the pahdhi to his coastal estate. Just when the dust is settling from this unexpected turn of events, the young gentleman and his companions end up in a pickle when a boat they "borrowed" is pushed out to sea on the tide. The town comes to the aid of the youngsters and everyone is brought back safely.
A visit to the neighboring estate to express thanks on behalf of all uncovers an assassination plot and an entrenched political rival to Cajeiri's father in an allies house. With the help of the Dowager's forces, the rival fraction is ousted from the peninsula. The book concludes with a rather stunning meeting between the natives of the peninsula, the Padhi, and the Dowager.
In my opinion, this was one of the more interesting Foreigner books. Much of the plot surrounds Cajeiri, the troubles he gets into and Bren's reaction to those troubles. The padhi still assumes too much of the guilt in regards to Cajeiri's actions, when it isn't Bren's fault. The young gentleman is headstrong and resourceful. If the Guild can't keep track of the boy, how in the world does Bren think he can?
What we also see is just how much Bren has integrated himself into the culture of the Atevi, and he admits as much to his brother Toby and his girlfriend Barb when they come to visit. Human norms, such as hugging and effusive greetings are now unfamiliar and awkward for Bren, and he finds himself in this odd place of not really belonging in either world.
There is also a thread of political action happening just below the surface which is subtle, and I'm sure pertinent to forthcoming books.
Recommended if you've read the first 9 books in the series. Not a stand alone book.
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