Betrayer by C.J. Cherryh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This series is consistently satisfying in a way that very few SF can be. It's very political, very immersive, and so deeply rooted in an alien world. Humans and Atevi navigate the turmoil in the provinces as Tabini regrows his political strength. Tabini's grandmother Ilsidi has sent Bren into enemy territory to broker a deal among the most chaotic associations.
This is a huge amount of trust. And amidst various accidents, Bren has been forced to appear like he's betraying all his associations with Tabini and Ilisidi. It's exciting and it's very, very political, but Cherryh pulls it off wonderfully. I just love how Bren always comes through as an extraordinary diplomat.
If that wasn't enough to hold our interest, of course, we get a huge dose of action as war breaks out and alliances shift and Bren is caught in horrorshow of field movement and gunfire. These novels aren't normally this full of action, either, but this is the end of this mini-trilogy, so it's perfectly natural. :)
I can't help but think of this as anything but a long, long story arc over years, from Bren's early days to his middle age, encompassing so many huge changes over an alien world, with humans stuck on a small island in a world full of very dangerous aliens. What would it be like as a tv series? A long-running tv series? It's very close in my mind to, say, Shogun, and the similarities keep coming... only, I have to admit... I love this one more. :)
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