Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Serpent's Reach” as Want to Read:
Serpent's Reach
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Serpent's Reach (Alliance-Union Universe)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  864 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The constellation of Hydri, also called the Serpent, became an undesirable destination during the era of humanity's most prolific interstellar colonization. For Hydri was under strict quarantine because it harbored an intelligent and dangerous alien race, the insectoid majat. Yet human colonies predating the quarantine did exist in this sector of space, which they called S ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 7th 1989 by Mandarin (first published May 1st 1980)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Serpent's Reach, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Serpent's Reach

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,319)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I read lots of sci-fi in my Lost Youth, but fell away from it once I went to university. I discovered Cherryh in grad school--- took "Serpent's Reach" home one random Friday night...and was enthralled. Here was sci-fi that was austere, cold, well-crafted, with characters that had depth and intelligence and plots that weren't (allowing for aliens and interstellar travel) just silly or trivial. Cherryh wrote about what happens to human societies interacting with the truly alien, about politics in ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This novel is set in the far future of the aftermath of the Company Wars. The Serpents Reach is a small section of space that is centered on one planet intially where a alien life form is found that is ant like in nature but possessing intelligence. Only one group of humans are allowed to interact with them and they form the Kontrin Company to interact and eventually trade with the aliens, called majat. The Kontrin become the de facto rulers of the Serpents Reach and the story is about 800 years ...more
Perry Whitford
The Hydri (or Serpent's) Reach are a cluster of stars virtually quarantined from the rest of the Alliance for the best part of seven hundred years. Human traders' first contact with the native Majat race, a giant ant-like hive species, had disastrous effects, before the Kontrin family established a colony based on the sharing of technologies.
The Kontrin enabled the Majat to travel in space from their home world Cerdin, whereas the Majat, as a hive-mind species with a collective consciousness, e
This is a mini-epic of the far future. Serpent's Reach, a section of space, has been isolated from human-colonized space for 700 years. The insect-like majat are native to this region. They have permitted an elite population of descendants of the original explorers to remain, and treated so that they are nearly immortal. There is also a controlled population of genetically modified humans. The majat trade with human worlds through a single planetary spaceport.

The book begins with the assassinati
This is a convoluted novel of miscommunication and political maneuvering where nothing is ever exactly spelled out – a fantastic read! It has a compelling fascinating plot; two species barely managing to coexist together, full of assumptions and misunderstandings, struggling to overcome deeply held inculcated beliefs.
I love CJ Cherryh, and have never read anything of hers that I didn't like. This book is no exception. While I found myself confused at times over what exactly was happening (especially as the war began - although this could be partially beause I'm dreadful at imagining any type of battle scene), I found the premise of the book, and the Majat, utterly fascinating. I also love anything Cherryh writes with the azi in it - they make you wonder what exactly it means to be human in the first place. ...more
I destroyed this book by reading it. It was a yellowed paperback with a sticker on the front reading: FRANKLINS 55c. The cover came off, and then the mouldy spine fractured, page by page. But it was a FREAKIN' AMAZING READ. I would willingly murder another copy of this book in order to read it again.

Raen Meth-Maren may be my new favourite strong women character in all of science fiction.
An original plot and setting, and a well thought-out approach to an alien species and how it would affect humanity. Not much action but the characters are well developped (although a bit more depth would have been appreciated in some instances). The story is well paced however, and keeps the reader hooked.

I enjoyed this one a lot.
Rebecca Huston
Another one that I have really enjoyed from CJ Cherryh. This time, a blend of human and very alien relationships, along with revenge, family reprisals, and some intense action sequences.

For the complete review, please go here:
Erik Graff
Jul 13, 2009 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cherryh fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
One of many novels in Cherryh's Alliance-Union universe, set somewhere in the middle of its history. Not having read the predecessing novels, I didn't get much out of it though it is stand-alone in the sense of not requiring prior knowledge.
Jeff Doten
I think things have changed ( in books ) since 1980. The first 16 pages is a massive info dump followed a tedious step by step of 'no surprises at all' .

I'm going to reread Hammerfall now so I dive into its sequel.
Nov 25, 2009 Kay added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
I enjoyed this older title of Cherryh's as much as her newer ones. great interspecies interaction! in all of her novels she is always creating interesting beings and cultures.
Although it is set in the Alliance/Merchanter universe, this is a completely self-contained stand-alone novel. I really like that Cherryh took the story arc through in one book.
I read this book when it first came out and really loved it. It held up well although I didn't like it as much when reading it 25 years later. Definately worth a read.
Ryan Zimmerman Carstairs
Cherryh is one of the greats, but IMOP this is one of her less than greats. Interesting idea, but it's kind of a convoluted mess.

But what do I know.
I liked this book set in a rich and complicated universe. I especially liked the way the majat are portrayed and how Raen interacts with them.
This is one of my comfort books. As usual, Cherryh avoids the anthropomorphic trap with her aliens.
I really liked the main character in this book and it had some fantastic ideas!
Another I'm gonna hafta check out. Cover doesn't look familiar.
One of my ultimate favorites, amongst all of her books.
3.5 nicely varied.
Matthew marked it as to-read
Dec 20, 2014
Rachel marked it as to-read
Dec 11, 2014
Brian marked it as to-read
Nov 29, 2014
Gene marked it as to-read
Nov 29, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 43 44 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Irsud (Diadem, #3)
  • Iceworld
  • Earthclan
  • Hammered (Jenny Casey, #1)
  • Spacespaw (Dilbia, #2)
  • Fury
  • The High Crusade
  • A Mirror for Observers
  • Pacific Edge (Three Californias Triptych, #3)
  • For Love of Mother-Not
  • The Harem of Aman Akbar
  • In the Company of Others
  • Beginning Operations: A Sector General Omnibus (Sector General, #1-3)
Currently resident in Spokane, Washington, C.J. Cherryh has won four Hugos and is one of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed authors in the science fiction and fantasy field. She is the author of more than forty novels. Her hobbies include travel, photography, reef culture, Mariners baseball, and, a late passion, figure skating: she intends to compete in the adult USFSA track. She began ...more
More about C.J. Cherryh...
Downbelow Station (Company Wars, #1) Cyteen (Cyteen #1-3) The Pride of Chanur (Compact Space, #1) Foreigner (Foreigner, #1) The Faded Sun Trilogy (The Faded Sun, #1-3)

Share This Book