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Publisher's Summary

Six months have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix - the same ship which brought humans to the world of alien atevi nearly 200 years ago, leaving a small and vulnerable colony to struggle for survival in a hostile environment. During these six months, the alien atevi have striven to reconfigure their fledgling 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 even more likely threat.
On the atevi mainland, human ambassador Bren Cameron, in a desperate attempt to maintain the peace, has risked alienation from his own people by communicating with the staff of the Phoenix as spokesman for the atevi, and has arranged for one human representative from the Phoenix to take up residence with him in his apartments, and for another to be stationed on Mosphiera, humanity's island enclave.
Now, Bren has the difficult task of indoctrinating Jason Graham, a young man who has never before set foot on a planet, in the intricate, delicate, and potentially lethal maneuverings of the human-atevi interface. And this at a time when, thanks to the assassination of an atevi lord who had been one of Bren's primary adversaries, and the near-collision of Bren's personal plane with a jet manned by an unknown pilot, the relationship between atevi factions is becoming more strained by the minute.
©1996 C.J. Cherryh (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Highly recommended for all sf collections." ( Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By AudioAddict on 04-14-14

Brilliant and Imaginative

STORY (sci-fi) - CJ Cherryh is an amazing author. The world she has created, the atevi characters, the languages, the political situations...I don't know where she comes up with all this stuff! Just think, there is one human (Bren Cameron) who is charged with translating and maintaining the peace between a human colony and the native atevi, who are large human-like creatures with black skin (see cover art). There are all kinds of differences and extremely tense situations which are great listening. The only complaint I have is that her stories are pretty complex with all the different players and their different motives. There are lots of strange names to keep straight. Several times I wanted to back up and rehear stuff but I was driving and couldn't. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it were simpler or maybe if I were just smarter!

Things get critical in the end and there's quite a bit of action. The current crises are over by the end of the book so it's not a cliffhanger, but there's so much to come. I'm anxious for the space program to build the atevi's ship and get them into space. It looks as if a new, evil race may be watching...

PERFORMANCE - Mr. May has a very pleasant voice. He does a good job differentiating voices for the different main characters and an incredible job pronouncing all the strange names and places in this book.

OVERALL (actual rating 3.5) - This is a great story, but it's not an easy listen. There is only a little bit of sex and no bad language, but this is definitely not for dummies or young listeneres. It is sci-fi in that it deals with human/alien relations, but the problems are all political in nature. If you're looking for little green men with magical powers and cool weapons, you will be disappointed. Each book seems to provide a pretty good recap to get new listeners up to speed, but I would definitely listen to this series from the beginning in order.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Professor on 08-15-12

Well it's not finished yet!:-)

I'm dying to tell you short summary, but to avoid any spoilers,
I'll just tell you one thing:

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10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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