Sunday, May 10, 2015
Tracker by C.J. Cherryl
This is volume 16 in Cherryh's Foreigner Universe series, which began some twenty years ago and is sequenced in three-volume arcs; so this is the first book of the sixth arc of the series.
Cherryh is one of the Grand Masters of science fiction/fantasy and the Foreigner series is the most sustained and perhaps the most defining work of her long career. I will admit up front that I am one of her biggest fans, I own copies of almost every book she has published, including the complete set -- to date --- of the Foreigner series, and reread them regularly. She writes what I call anthropolgical science fiction, and her major concern and theme is what happens in the relationship between humans and other intelligent species.
What's particularly fascinating is her ability to create alien worlds and other intelligent species so convincingly and in such detail that when humans show up they are the aliens.
If you've not read any of the other books in this series, my advice is to put this one aside and go back and read Foreigner, the first in the series, first. Then, if you are hooked, read the next fourteen, in order, before you read Tracker. These are books that absolutely need to be read in sequence, so you can immerse yourself in the world of the atevi.
In this book, the paidhi-aiji, Bren Cameron, and his associates, the aiji-dowager Illisidi and her great-grandson, the heir apparent Cajeiri, are urgently summoned to the space station in orbit above the planet when the kyo, a species they previously encountered during a mission throug space to rescue 5,000 stranded humans, make good on their promise/threat to visit the world of the atevi, now jointly inhabited by humans. So this is the first volume of a three volume arc that will focus on the kyo's visit and the attempt to negotiate a treaty with these, their nearest known neighbors in space.
Given that Bren's ability to communicate with the kyo is at this point limited to a vocabulary of 300 more-or-less defined words (he's not even sure which are nouns and which are verbs, or whether the concepts of noun and verb even apply to the kyo's language), the negotiations are going to be a challenge.
For background on the Foreigner series click HERE to read a post on the blog Far Beyond Reality, and a subsequent link to an analysis by author Ann Leckie.
For a review of Tracker and the Foreigner series from the blog Reconsidering click HERE.