C. J. Cherryh planned to write since the age of ten. When she was older, she learned to use a type writer while triple-majoring in Classics, Latin and Greek. At 33, she signed over her first three books to DAW and has worked with DAW ever since. She can be found at cherryh.com.
Set on an alien world where the descendants of humans marooned in a long-ago starship accident live segregated from the indigenous atevi on a remote island, this polished and sophisticated tale from the popular author of Hestia addresses the complicated issue of how humans might have to compromise to survive on a planet where they are barely tolerated by the original, humanoid inhabitants. When Bren Cameron, given the name paidhi because he is the only human allowed to mingle with the atevi , survives an assault by an atevi assassin, the shaky detente between the human enclave and the alien society is threatened. Subjected to kidnapping, imprisonment and psychological torture, Cameron finds himself caught between rival factions of atevi as he must grapple with both human and alien xenophobia and with the insidious influence of human technology and culture on an extraterrestrial society. Three-time Hugo-winner Cherryh's gift for conjuring believable alien cultures is in full force here, and her characters, including the fascinatingly unpredictable atevi , are brought to life with a sure and convincing hand. (Feb.)
Exiled to the island of Mospheira, a colony of stranded humans relies on one man, their ``paidhi'' (liaison), to explain their ways to the dominant species of their adopted world. When Bren Cameron, the current paidhi, becomes the target for assassination in a culture where licensed murder is a recognized political solution, the conflict between species becomes a life-and-death struggle for survival and understanding. Veteran sf/fantasy author Cherryh plays her strongest suit in this exploration of human/alien contact, producing an incisive study-in-contrast of what it means to be human in a world where trust is nonexistent. A good purchase for most sf collections.