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Kesrith (The Faded Sun #1)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  1,625 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
This is the story of three people: Sten Duncan, a soldier of humanity; Niun, last warrior of the mri, humanity's enemies; and Melein, priestess-queen of the final fallen mri stronghold. It is the story of two mighty species fighting for a galaxy, humanity driving out from Earth, and the enigmatic regul struggling to hold their stars with mri mercenaries. It is a story of d ...more
Mass Market Paperback, No. 300 (UJ1393), 252 pages
Published April 1978 by DAW (first published 1978)
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsThe Forever War by Joe HaldemanRingworld by Larry NivenRendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. ClarkeThe Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
Classic Science Fiction - 1970-1979
49th out of 168 books — 142 voters
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutA Storm of Swords by George R.R. MartinChildhood's End by Arthur C. ClarkePerdido Street Station by China MiévilleHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Best Hugo Award Runner-Ups
66th out of 85 books — 84 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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EVERYONE knows that SF BUFFanatics are all ARCH HIP, COOLaphonic and loaded with silky, smooth BREEZYness, right? RIGHT? Good...however, despite sharing the above stats, SFantasticos often vary greatly in the kind story they like to fill up on. From funny to campy to light-hearted to hearted to character-driven to world-builders to actiony to mega-actiony to detailed orientated to serious to socially conscious to thought-provoking to operatic to epic to life-changing, and all combos and sequence ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
May 25, 2013 Dirk Grobbelaar rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Okay, this novel reminded me of Dune. Kesrith, like Arrakis, is a desert planet; the burrowers are reminiscent of the Shai-Hulud (sandworms); the Mri bear more than a passing resemblance to the Fremen, or as far as their lifestyle on Kesrith is concerned. Yet, despite all this, the novel never felt like a knock off. It goes off in a whole different direction, and, being only the first chapter in the Faded Sun trilogy, can not be read as a stand-alone.

There is one other Dune comparison I can draw
Dec 30, 2014 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014

This is a story of three people: Sten Duncan, a soldier of humanity; Niun, last warrior of the mri, humanity's enemies; Melein, priestess-queen of the final fallen mri stronghold.
This is the story of two mighty species fighting for a galaxy: humanity driving out from Earth, and the enigmatic regul struggling to hold their stars with mri mercenaries.
This is a story of diplomacy and warfare, of conspiracy and betrayal, and of three flesh-and-blood people who found themselves thrown together in a
Jan 10, 2012 Shelly rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a little too dry for me though I did end up liking it. C.J. Cherryh writes well and does a really good job in this story creating believable aliens that I came to care about during the story. I guess in the end it was just a bit too slow moving for what I was in the mood for.
May 02, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
This was the start of one of my favorite sci-fi trilogies of all time. I was thinking about it the other night and went hunting through my bookshelves until I found it, thinking I might re-read it. It is so old that it pre-dates ISBNs. So much for scanning with the Goodreads app. The paperback edition cost $2.95 and it was published in 1978. But I felt even sadder when I opened it and the ancient glue of the binding cracked, so I've just ordered the omnibus reprint of all 3 novels from Amazon. I ...more
Talitha (Victorian Soul)
First off, this book has a different take on the usual alien-colonizes-Earth bit, turning it around a little so that the humans are trying to colonize an alien planet, Kesrith, which belongs to the Regul and the mri, who are essentially the Regul's mercenary army. The problem with that is the mri have been decimated by the humans, who the mri think fight without honor. It becomes more apparent as the book goes on that the enemies of the mri may not be who they seem.

The mri are one of the more in
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Sep 19, 2012 Edie rated it it was amazing
A most excellent series. I found this one on my bookshelf, and found the reason I had kept it all these years. This is one of the first of the alternate world series I so love. The language that CJ Cherryh uses is finely-honed - not the big thick books that have come to be more recently in this genre, but sparse and evoking of the worlds and the peoples she creates here. I had to really focus on the story to be sure I was pulling from it as much as I could. The three (4 if you count the dus, whi ...more
Although this was a 250 page book it was a slow read due to the many details. I read the first page 3 times to make sure I understood all the cultural implications. If you like very detailed world building and understanding an alien culture, then you will enjoy this. I was very frustrated when it ended just as the action began - until I found out that this is the first in a series (yay). Getting into the heads of three different species and realising where misunderstandings were made was fascina ...more
May 06, 2013 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, current-month
Riveting, exciting, creative and original. As usual, Cherryh nails it. And as usual I must proceed with #2. Only drawback, it's only available in paperback or hardcover with SMALL print that it strains my eyes to read. Gah.
Jul 23, 2016 Roxane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
There is a lot to love about this book. The attention given to the development of the two alien races, Mri and Regul, is what gives life to the story and made me really care about what was happening. There wasn't a lot of focus on the human side of things, but I think that will be addressed in the sequel. I have rarely read about alien species who felt so real.

Also, Kesrith is not a forgiving planet. I still fail to see the advantages of living there. Rare minerals?! Softest sand in the galaxy?!
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
This is old CJ Cherryh. Not a series of hers that is especially well known, although it should be as it features many of the strengths of FOREIGNER and the CHANUR series.

KESRITH has action but is not action packed. It is filled with mysteries and politics, written up only the way that CJ can do it. You get the conflicts within characters, conflicts between departments and sections of governments, conflicts within species and between species. You also get friendships. Relationships that rock the
Dec 23, 2015 Christina rated it really liked it
C.J Cherryh has such a riveting style that I love so very much. This book is highly enjoyable and I am looking forward to the next.
Jan 27, 2013 Cristie rated it really liked it
Took me a little while to get into this book - I think C.J. Cherryh is often very detailed in her world building, so it helps when I'm in the mood for it and not just looking for a quick easy read. The anthropologist in me really liked that there are not only three different alien species interacting with one another (one of which is humans), but that the book took some moments to portray the story from each of their perspectives. Much harder to draw a good/bad line when you can really see the d ...more
I really wanted to like this--I do love old school sci fi a la Ursula K Leguin, original Star Treks, etc., but I just couldn't do it. I'm all for invented languages and names, but both of those were so frequent in this book that it essentially wasn't written in English. And pains weren't taken to reveal the meanings of these invented linguistics, either. You're just expected to jump right into the world, feet first, instantly fluent in these alien tongues. I suppose it might ultimately be readab ...more
Ernie Jr.
Dec 02, 2010 Ernie Jr. rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Kesrith was in some ways like reading the Silmarillion. It had a lot of important back-story with a little bit of action. For the most part I found the book slower to read than the Chanur saga, but certainly interesting enough in its own way. It was definitely worth the read to get to the big reveal of the second book and the final psychological interaction and climax of the third.

I would recommend this story to hard core sci-fi fans, but not to the casual or young readers.
Nov 17, 2011 Aine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This is a re-read, so I'm going to count the pages, but not the book.

This is the first installment of my favorite science fiction trilogy. Cherryh's writing is engaging and interesting, and her characters are first-rate. I love the two entirely different cultures (humans make a third) that she introduces to us in these books, and how truly different they are from human society. Niun is just about my favorite literary science-fiction character.
Jun 16, 2016 Lene rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
The book started really badly. It incorporated everything I hate about late 70s, early 80s SF. Pompous, pathos-laden language, moralizing tone and an alien species as protagonists that is not only utterly implausible but also follows the noble savage/last of the upright warriors template.

I only kept reading because I had the entire trilogy and wanted to finish at least the first book so I could say I made the effort. And I must say I'm glad I made the effort and I'm currently reading the second
Annii Frazer
Mar 26, 2011 Annii Frazer rated it it was amazing
This is a re-read, so I'm going to count the pages, but not the book.

This is the first installment of my favorite science fiction trilogy. Cherryh's writing is engaging and interesting, and her characters are first-rate. I love the two entirely different cultures (humans make a third) that she introduces to us in these books, and how truly different they are from human society. Niun is just about my favorite literary science-fiction character.
Aug 28, 2007 Kay rated it really liked it
I found "The Faded Sun" trilogy fascinating. It was recommended to me by an anthropologist friend, and indeed there is an anthropological element to the series that is part of its appeal. While I'm normally not a fan of "alternate worlds" fiction (you know, the kind that makes up its own language and goes into excruciating detail about alien societies), this one hit the mark for me.
Mar 29, 2015 Wise_owl rated it it was ok
I found reviewing this book as difficult as I found reading it, and it's why even though I enjoyed goo portions of it, I couldn't give it a really high review.

I have read C.J. Cherryh's fiction in other places, most notably in short-fiction anthologies like Sword and Sorceress and Thieves World. It was those works that lead me, quite some time ago, to put this book on my to-be-read shelf.

The book itself is set in an interesting world of sorts in which a conflict involving three races has just e
Mar 16, 2013 John rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I like the tight first person, and I'm used to the rhythm C. J. Cherryh uses. I like looking at humans through alien eyes.
Jesse Toldness
Jul 31, 2015 Jesse Toldness rated it liked it
OK, so here's the thing. Trilogies.

Now CJ Cherryh is one of those authors who almost gets three-stars automatically just for showing up. And I enjoyed the characters (even the ones from a caste-ridden warrior culture, something I hate, more on that in a later review), but this comes off less as 'the first part in a trilogy' and more as 'the first third of what should have been one, rather longish, book'. It's all set-up and it's a testament to the quality of the set up that I'm opening the seco
David Palazzolo
Jan 09, 2015 David Palazzolo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kesrith is the first part of a trilogy set in C J Cherryh's vast Alliance-Universe future history setting, specifically the end of the Mri Wars period. The name"Mri Wars" is a bit of a misnomer, however. While true they were fought between humanity and the mri, the mri themselves are agents of a third interstellar race called regul. The details of the origins of the regul/mri alliance are not fully revealed but that it is some 2000 years old and it is hinted that the mri have have always been so ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Anytime I have considered entering C. J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union Universe, I think about Anthony Trollope. With either author I have always thought that if I read one of their books and liked it, I could spend the rest of my life reading the rest of them. That might be more true of Trollope than Cherryh, since although she has him beat 60 novels to 48, his are much more fantastically long. Then again she continues to write, so it could go either way. There is another odd similarity between the ...more
May 15, 2013 Oni rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This book is my first C.J. Cherryh book, and certainly will not be the last. She got me hook into her story telling style, the richness of the world design, the race description, and the conflict.

The setting is the aftermath of human vs regul war, in a planet called Kesrith, surrounding what looks like a red giant star. Regul was hiring another race as mercenary, the mri, a warrior-like race. The war ends in human favor, regul surrendering a system, in which Kesrith lied. Thus the story begins,
Alex Petros
Aug 19, 2015 Alex Petros rated it really liked it
While uncomfortably close to Dune in its initial setting, the plot direction is completely different and the interplay between humanity, the mri, and the regul is unlike any other science fiction I've read. If you like Sci-Fi, this is a great underground read to add to your collection with some cool points to make.
Timothy Boyd
Jan 25, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it it was ok
I have read several of C. J. Cherryh's books and always found them to be an enjoyable read. While the setting and story of this book reminded me quite a bit of Frank Herbert's Dune books I could not seem to get into the story. While I am not going to recommend the book if you are a Cherryh fan you probably should give it a try.
May 23, 2013 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Past the first chapter (which I had to read twice, all the made up names with apostrophes and hyphens were frustrating and sometimes confusing) and you'll enter a slow build to a lot of excitement. This book in ways reminds me somewhat of the series, Earth's Children, but in a setting different not in time, but in space. Very interesting and rather thrilling at the end, I've just finished and thank goodness I have the other two books in this trilogy as I want to continue reading what for me is a ...more
Marian Phillips
Love this volume... all in one. I read them as they came out but being able to read them as one unit is wonderful!
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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...

Other Books in the Series

The Faded Sun (3 books)
  • Shon'jir (The Faded Sun, #2)
  • Kutath (The Faded Sun, #3)

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