Friday, December 6

C.J. Cherryh's Protector - SPOILER ALERT

I just finished re-reading C.J. Cherryh's entire Foreigner series.  It is the only series that has more than five books and follows the same characters that I have ever finished (I tried with the Wheel of Time series, really I did!).  The latest (as of 6 DEC 2013) and fourteenth novel, Protector, was released in April 2013.  I read it for the first time in May and just finished the second reading last night.

Cherryh's ability to build characterization and produce interesting and convoluted plots is a continual joy.  SPOILER ALERT.  My favorite part of this book came at the very end, after the action of the climax when we learn more about Bren's faithful and enigmatic bodyguard, Banichi.  We learn a little bit, a very little bit, of Banichi's backstory.  Part of the interest comes from the emotion Bren feels toward Banichi, the forbidden emotion of friendship, of liking, that drives Bren to ask questions of his most enigmatic bodyguard, Algini.  Another part of the interest comes from Bren's confession of ignorance.  Bren is remarkably astute throughout the series which makes his self-doubt and grasping after the rare emotion he allows himself all the more satisfying when manifested.  The final, and most satisfying, part of the scene, is Bren's response to Algini at the end - "Take care of Banichi, nadiin-ji.  Keep him safe." - commending Banichi's wellbeing to his fellow Atevi as the best thing for Banichi and trusting those people to both keep Banichi safe and tell Bren if there is ought he can do to achieve that very same goal.

My favorite line in the book came on page 329: "Geigi, he suspected, had sat back at his desk, scarily satisfied."

Knowing Geigi, an Ateva equally understated and powerful, with all the backstory that came before, and all the estimable strategy and knowledge brought to bear in that person, and knowing that given a problem with infinite solutions and the odds thought to be stacked against his side that Geigi made the best possible choice - Cherryh timed the emotional and intellectual impact of that revelation perfectly.  

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