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Pretender (Foreigner, #8)
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(Foreigner #8)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  2,354 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Exhausted from a two-year rescue mission in space, the crew of the starship Phoenix return home to find disaster: civil war has broken out, the powerful Western Association has been overthrown, and Tabini-aiji, its forceful leader, is missing. In a desperate move, paidhi Bren Cameron and Tabini's grandmother Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, along with with Cajeiri, Tabini's ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by DAW (first published March 7th 2006)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,354 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'll just admit something to ya'll. This is my go-to series when I want to see great characters, great world-building, exciting politics and, of course, ALIENS.

The Atevi are hands down my favorite species of any series or franchise, and it's not because they're human-like black gods of such mathematical prowess as to make who university departments cower in fear, but because they're so *close* to us.

*close* But not THAT close. It's the differences that are a real killer. Just ask the
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, favourites, r2017
4.5 - 8th book (middle book of third trilogy)

The fight against the usurper Murini continues with the political alliances between the various clans shifting and tightening, and Bren is of course once more in the middle of it all... Fights ensue, followed by a mad dash using quite a few methods of transport.

It is such a lovely thing to come back every month to have my dose of Cherryh's writing and be once more immersed in the ateva world. These characters have become old friends, each new
V. Larkin Anderson
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, kindle
Much like the other books in this series, Pretender is as slow-moving, socially complicated, and occasionally as confusing as the aliens that it portrays. However, the mind-bending psychology of the aliens mixed with the coziness of a slow burn political drama is exactly what I go to the Foreigner series for, so I enjoyed myself immensely. This series might not be for everyone by if alien political drama sounds at all appealing to you, I recommend you go back and start with book one, Foreigner. ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, scifi, space_opera
3.5 stars

This one didn't hold me quite as well as the previous one, although a lot happened in the book arc.
keikii Eats Books
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To read more reviews, check out my blog keikii eats books!

"We value you,” she said. “Our compass. Our true lodestone of virtue.”
“One is glad of some usefulness, aiji-ma.” He was not comforted. The old spark had entered the dowager’s eye this morning, ever since that turn of events in the camp. Ilisidi in this mode was dangerous. Lethal.
And sometimes frighteningly honest. She reached out a hand and touched his arm.
“Protect the truth, paidhi-ji. Do not swerve from that. We wondered when,
May 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I found this book a struggle. Purely a transition book, intended to get the characters from point A, through point B, to final destination of Point C. There is a fair amount of travel involved, lots of personal angst from Bren as he decides the whole Atevi muck-up is his fault, and concerns well out of Bren's control or realm of human comprehension.

It is well understood there was a political upheaval that ousted the current regime and forced them into hiding. No, not everything was the paidhi's
Mar 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The eighth book in the Foreigner series, and the second in the third trilogy, I have given it three stars. It's not bad, but honestly it didn't set the heather on fire either. I love this series because of how they describe and let you into alien thinking - two sets of aliens in the last series. But this book should have been combined with the previous book - there was no real delineation at all. The padhi comes back from space to find the Atevi world in uproar. In book 7, he meets up with the ...more
Rebecca Huston
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
In the 8th book of the Foreigner series, Bren Cameron returns from the two year mission to the world of the Atevi, and discovers that things have gone very awry. Tabini is missing, and the Western Association is going through rebellion. Quite a ride, and the final sequence is madly intense.

For the complete review, please go here:
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The mecheiti aren't crashing through Uncle Tatisegi's hedges; instead, everyone else in the Padi Valley and the west seem to be crashing Tatisegi's in a show of support for Tabini. Bren worries, and there are priceless tea sets set out and many tea cakes devoured over fractious political discussions. And Cajeiri's in the middle of everything, Tabini's and canny Ilsidi's hope for peace on the continent. And Bren makes a definitive political statement.
May 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed the first six books in this series. But, for some reason I'm finding the third trilogy almost unbearably boring. This book, volume 8, was by far the most difficult for me to get through in the entire series so far. Even by CJ Cherryh standards very little happens here inside unusually long, meandering chapters. Ugh. I dread moving on to book 9 at this point but perhaps this trilogy will finally turn into something in the third book.
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Action plus! I really liked this 8th book in the Foreigner series. Bren is in his usual self-doubting state, but there is serious action in this segment. This is not a standalone book. You must have read the preceding installments to understand what is going on. If you have, you will likely enjoy how the usurper is defeated.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
More like 2.5. Some interesting societal glimpses, and character development. But the pacing feels wrong.

Also I realized part of the issue with these books, or well, am able to articulate it. I recognize C.J. Cherryh's style of dialogue and monologue, and it's distracting enough that it sort of takes me out of the story.
Jamie Collins
This begins mere moments after the events of the previous book. It's essentially about a road trip with explosions: Bren and his staff accompany the atevi leader as he flings himself at the capital to drive out the pretender. It’s a decent read within the series, but not one of my favorites, as it’s rather repetitive and mostly consists of Bren musing over the atevi political situation.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
a shorter review this time:
This book definitely brings back the action. Part of what I loved about this book is you know all of the characters by this point, so this is a story of them doing the things you love best about them. It isn't all just action and adventure, however. This trilogy really gets back into the politics of the civilization that the humans blundered into and it fleshes out the idea that not everything is about the humans, but that there's also a rich long history of
Rob Hermanowski
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book, sci-fi
"Pretender" is the middle book of the third Foreigner trilogy, the eighth book overall in this brilliant slow-burning political space opera. This novel follows the efforts of the rightful but deposed leader, Tabini-aiji, to reclaim his seat, which Bren must support, without offending the more traditional and conservative elements of atevi society. Brilliantly conceptualized and written by C.J. Cherryh, the narration by Daniel Thomas May is also perfect, as always.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one felt very much like Destroyer Part 2, as if the two were originally meant to be a single book that then got split in two - that's how smoothly they tie into one another. This one features yet more travel, which is somewhat less interesting than in the last one in my opinion, but at least Bren gets to shine by actually doing his job at the end.
Bren runs away and gives his report to Tabini on the last pages of the book. They are constantly on the run. That's about what I got from this novel. I was distracted while listening, admittedly, but I have to say that I never before got distracted so easily. There were several chapters that I must have listened to three times and I still never got hooked.
Mark Edlund
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Science Fiction series - it is hard to believe but Cherryh writes in such a detailed manner that her entire book usually covers up to one week of plot. Still like the characters and am interested in seeing where she takes the series. In this one Tabini puts down a rebellion with Cameron's help.
No Canadian or pharmacy references.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
The greatest SF saga continues. After 8 books, the story is not stale or dragging. Paidhi Bren and the atevi around him form a fascinating social group. Bren's place in society is changing and he may not realize it. A great continuation of a fine series. The series is a must read.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bren getting more and more entangled in atevi intrigues while struggling to maintain what makes him human (which sometimes only gets him deeper into trouble) is just my jam. I love it.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
The last quarter was explosive, but the first 75% was slow and repetitive. Still, it kept the story moving.
Aaron McClelland
Jul 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Not Cherryh's usual gripping drama. The book begins just after an attack whereupon the narrative bogs down into diplomatic maneuvering that drones on chapter after chapter. Shelved it.
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
CAVEAT: This review contains spoiler material, not about the book itself, but about the preceding seven books; i.e., if you have not read the previous books, you might be better off reading my more general review of Destroyer (or reading my blog post on Cherryh).

At any rate, the eighth instalment in Cherryh's Foreigner series starts almost directly after the ending of Destroyer. Human paidhi Bren Cameron and his atevi associates — including the aiji-dowager Ilisidi and her great grandson Cajeiri
P.D.R. Lindsay
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Pretender is quite my favourite in the series. It follows the dramatic events of the spaceship's return to the planet and Bren, the atevi young heir, and his great grand-mother making a splendid dash to rescue the aiji and put the atevi part of the planet back to rights. Now the aiji and his supporters must take back the capital city and the government.

There is lots of action, a wonderful train ride, Bren and the heir,Cajeiri, have a fraught moment or two but they reach their destination.

Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, scifi
This one was, if anything, more exciting than the last in this truly engrossing series. I had quite a few moments where my heart stopped, several times when my eyes teared up, and most unusual, more than one belly laugh. I cannot recommend this series highly enough. But start at the beginning, please, as each story follows the next with barely a pause to draw breath. None of the books end on a cliff hanger, thank God, but only in a breathing space, with interest still engaged to wonder what will ...more
Jan 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
CJ Cherryh is one of my all-time favorite authors and this nonet is probably her best effort. It's got everything -- politics (lots of it), really great aliens, culture clashes of monumental proportions, great charaters... I can't say enough about it.

The story is absorbing -- a lone human diplomat becomes embroiled in the political life of an alien culture that's just similar enough to his own to be comfortable and just different enough for that comfort to be extremely hazardous. In the course
Krista D.
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh, this book brought tears to my eyes more than once.

The scene of Bren in front of the legislature and trying to give his speech. He doesn't realize the assassin's bullet is meant for him and tackles Tabini. Having the heir and the dowager both standing next to him, giving his speech for him and telling them to all go to hell. The lord of Dur and the old fox Tatiseigi himself. The crowds outside of the train.

Bren is convinced no feeling or emotion can cross the neurotransmitter line between
J.C. Webb
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: male-protagonist
Ok, so this book is so much more action packed then the rest of the series. That being said SO much is hinted at behind the scenes that it could easily make your head spin. (view spoiler) ...more
Lisa Feld
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nyc
A solid adventure, and thoroughly enjoyable, with Bren and company facing civil war and trying to draw shattered atevi associations back together. (view spoiler) ...more
Ken Richards
Jul 22, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars
The middle portion of the 3rd Foreigner Trilogy kicks off right after the events of its predesessor, as forces gather at the damaged estate of Tirnamardi and begin to move resolutely toward the capital at Shejidan. The ghostly figure of Tabini reappears as Bren Cameron rides in convoy. Most is told in the paidhi's sleepdeprived head. The heir Cajieri provides comic relief, and further insight into how things work in this intricate survey of interactions between alien cultures.

It is, as
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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

Other books in the series

Foreigner (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Foreigner (Foreigner, #1)
  • Invader (Foreigner, #2)
  • Inheritor (Foreigner, #3)
  • Precursor (Foreigner, #4)
  • Defender (Foreigner, #5)
  • Explorer (Foreigner, #6)
  • Destroyer (Foreigner, #7)
  • Deliverer (Foreigner, #9)
  • Conspirator (Foreigner, #10)
  • Deceiver (Foreigner, #11)
“Bren turned back to the room, somewhat easier about the boy, and realizing only then that he and the dowager had both just leaped into order-giving regarding the aiji’s own son, in the aiji’s and the consort’s presence and in front of witnesses.
Habit. Two years of habit. He was mortified.”
“Aiji-ma, your whereabouts was my own guess, unfounded, probably entirely inaccurate. One can only apologize, and urge—”
“A guess, indeed.”
“One unfounded on any particular information.”
“A very clever guess, paidhi.”
More quotes…