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Rider at the Gate (Finisterre #1)
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Rider at the Gate

(Finisterre #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  938 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Rider at the Gate (Nighthorse, Book 1)
Stranded on a distant planet that abounds with fertile farmland, human colonists appear to be in paradise. But all the native animals communicate by telepathy, projecting images that drive humans mad. Only Nighthorses stand between civilization and madness. When a flare of human emotion spreads to all the horses, chaos erupts.
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Aspect (first published January 1st 1995)
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Pam Baddeley
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This sounded like a concept that would be quite fascinating: on a remote planet, a colony of humans have set up a sort of wild west society in which they depend on the sentient nighthorses, creatures which bond with humans. Most of the wildlife is telepathic and has the ability to send distorting emotion laden images which can overwhelm and kill human beings in umpteen different ways: the nighthorses defend against those and keep most at bay. They also enable travel and trade, with their riders ...more
Verity Brown
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Cynical fans of SF/Fantasy coming-of-age stories

Although this book has a slow and confusing beginning, it eventually picks up into a really fascinating thriller/murder-mystery in an exceedingly intriguing world. The basic premise is that human colonists have been marooned for generations on a planet where most of the wildlife is "telepathic" (considering that radio signals are one of the most dangerous attractants, I suspect there's some semi-scientific explanation possible for the telepathy). The only thing that prevents humans from getting
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Jim Mcclanahan
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read more novels by C.J. Cherryh than any other author. This may not be unusual in that we are age mates (born within a month of each other) and may have something of a temporal commonality. But, without going into specifics, I have to say that she has provided me with both the zenith and the nadir of much of my reading experience. Mind you, I don't think it has much to do with when the work was created. I have loved both her earliest and most recent works and much from in between. But no ...more
Mar 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006
C.J. Cherryh is well known for her ability to develop wonderful ecosystems for the worlds she creates. Even though her worlds are fantastical, they always speak to what is most human. In Rider at the Gate and its sequel Cloud's Rider, Cherryh does not disappoint. We get a mostly recognizable landscape inhabited by previously starfaring humans and the native telepathic fauna. Among the native fauna of this unnamed planet is the fierce and intelligent nighthorse. Nighthorses are curious and addict ...more
Telepathic Nighthorses are the most powerful creatures on the planet, and partnering with them enable humans to maintain settlements and trade. But a rogue Nighthorse is a fearsome threat, with the power to drive entire settlements mad. There's a lot going on here: four convergent groups of characters, a modicum of worldbuilding based around telepathic bond animals and early winter alien frontierism, and a mystery plot--all written in Cherryh's terse, minute style. Those aspects don't always coa ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Detta var minst sagt en liten revansch från Cherryh, med tanke på vad jag senast läste av henne. Fading Sun-trilogin var ju inte världens bästa första intryck. Jag vill minnas att det nog mest var karaktärerna som satte käppar i hjulet för ett välutvecklat och intressant universum. Språket var väl inte skitspännande, heller. Med det sagt är inte karaktärerna perfekta eller språket sprakande här heller men de är i alla fall så pass bra att de inte är i vägen. Det är helt dugligt hantverk båda två ...more
Gregg Wingo
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cherryh's "Rider at the Gate" and "Cloud's Rider" are part of her experiment with the Western genre. However, the author is doing more than placing cowboys in space or creating a "Wagon Train in the stars" or costuming a la Han Solo or "Firefly", in fact, she has invented a new High Plains Drifter and a society dependent on upon him. This stories are also an exploration of the nature of telepathic societies and its relationship with the mindblind.

Both stories pivot around the relationship of the
Suz Thackston
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm a die-hard Cherryh fan, but I don't love all of her stuff. I wanted so to love this, but it turned into more of a slog than I expected.
One of the things I love best about her is how she does stream-of-consciousness thoughts, that put you so solidly in the character's head. No one does it better. But in this one, where the nighthorses and their riders speak in telepathy so much, it bogs it down for me. Instead of putting me in the mindset, it keeps yanking me out of the action.
And because the
Perry Whitford
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
For human settlers on the planet of Finisterre life is hard, holed up in frontier towns amongst the peaks and valleys, subject to harsh winters and more threateningly to the thoughts and minds of the native animal population, which can both read and project feelings and emotions into the surrounding "ambient".

Only the nighthorses are friendly to humans, picking out riders with whom they form a symbiotic relationship. These riders fulfill the crucial role of shepherding resources from one town t
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is set in a world where human colonies exist in walled cities and where all the local wildlife survives by using telepathic images to hunt or flee. The Nighthorses, native animals similar to our own earthly mounts, befriend humans and pair up with individuals, who then act as escorts and guards for other humans when they need to travel across the wilds. Dan Fisher is still getting used to his mount, Cloud, and as a village boy, he is looked down on by the children brought up in the Rider ca ...more
J. Rocci
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this book in one sitting back in high school, staying up late into the night because I couldn't walk away from the tightly built tension. For a straightforward storyline, Rider at the Gate has so many threads interwoven that greater depth is given to every scene. Cherryh has created a world that is both alien and familiar, reminiscent of frontier tales with the isolated mountain villages and rudimentary technology, but starkly different with telepathic horses and hungry beasti ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Any book By Carol Cherryh is a pleasure to delve into and the first Finisterre novel is no exception. Complex characters, deft plotting and plenty of action personify her pre-Foreigner work.

** Sadly, her older novels are disappearing from my local (Chicago) libraries at an ever increasing rate as new media and immigrant pressure has forced libraries into freeing up finite space to address their needs. More dvds and tape books etc. mean less space for older novels that aren't read often enough to
William Crosby
Apr 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Humans on a planet where the native species have telepathic ability (usually imagery). When a horse is hurt and loses its rider it can go "rogue" and its insanity can spread throughout the immediate area causing humans to kill each other.

What happens in the thought/imagery sensations is often more important than what is happening in the "real world" so that distortions and emotions can cause mistrust and anger and .

This book's plot does not move fast; it gets mired in excessive description and c
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cherryh
Wow! Both this book and the second one (Cloud's Rider) form a very tight sequence told over a short winter season. The edgy, dangerous, spooky ambience of these books are a delightful terror to read. Every storm, every slip, every gunshot resonates with a wierd otherness that is captivating. I literally couldn't stop reading these books until I finished, and it was a hell of a ride! As is usual with Ms Cherryh's writing, her characterisations are superb. And look our for the amusing references t ...more
Sue Johnson
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: excellent
I always liked this author but this book and Cloud's Rider were the best for me. Maybe because I have always been horse mad so it resonated with me.
The worlds C J Cherryh creates and the beings that inhabit them are 'believable' and work through problems and relationships in an interesting way. The stories are fast paced and enjoyable. I really liked the Morgaine series but I was not passionate about it whereas this story gripped me from the beginning. And the ending was totally unexpected and
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Love the premise of this book, and the way she examines the consequences of the environment she built on the characters in it.

It's a bit Dragon Riders of Pern, but with a lot more balance - the pairing of riders and ridden isn't all sweetness and light, and can both moderate and accentuate those involved.

Recommended for both horse people and Cherryh fans.
James Ladd
Aug 19, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting read - it took awhile to get into the characters and setting, it being such an alien world yet in some ways seeming familiar to other concepts. It eventually settles into what is a very weird Western, in a good way!
Mar 29, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: science-fiction
I love Cherryh's Foreigner series so I picked up this book which sounded intriguing. It wasn't. It was one of the most boring books I have ever read. I had to force myself to finish it and when I did I promptly donated it.
J.B. Rockwell
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. Part fantasy, part sci-fi, part western with an amazing setting and characters. I've read and re-read this book more times than I can count and never get tired of it.
Nov 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Book one in a short but thrilling series. A different writing style than I'm used to reading. It took until I was half through the first book for the plot to pick up, but once it starts it's hard to put the book down.
Azz Lunatic
Feb 04, 2009 added it
Shelves: 2008-06, box005
"This story consistently manages to spook me. Excellent writing. Recommended for anyone who likes the idea of telepathic horses, but thinks they'd be a really bad combination with teenagers, and thinks that horses are very unlikely to act like reincarnated saints."
Feb 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Creative psychological thriller. Definitely not your typical murder mystery story, this book somehow manages to mix elements of a western with science fiction with a healthy dose of psychological horror and mystery. Creepy and fun.
Oct 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
I enjoyed this story which featured people and horses who can communicate with each other using images. I especially liked the interactions between Guil and his horse Burn and between Danny and his horse Cloud.
Murray Writtle
May 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Another great new Cherryh world. Engaging characters and plot. Skated a bit close to 'too much lost in snow'.
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Every few years, I circle back to the Riders at the Gate books. Always wish there was more than the two books.
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Perhaps I should try to read it again, but from what I remember, it seemed too... I'm not sure what. I didn't feel fully engaged, nor did I care much about the character and his (their?) fate.
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Really great coming of age/character development. I loved the concept, too.
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish, unreadable story to follow.
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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

Finisterre (2 books)
  • Cloud's Rider (Finisterre #2)