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Cherryh taks a good deal of time developing her characters to the point that you actually CARE about them. Many authors sci fi and otherwise are too concerned with the plot to let the reader get to know the characters, and so when it comes down to plot crunch-time, nobody really cares what happens. Cherryh is very much the opposite. You care what happens to Niun and Duncan, you feel their emotions, you fear, cry, love, and laugh with them because Cherryh takes the time to let you into their hearts and minds. The friendship between Niun and Duncan feels so very real, because we see from the point of view of both, and understand how their minds slowly move together towards that point.

Second, the emphasis on the alien cultures. Unlike in Star Trek, where all the alien cultures are just humans with a little body paint, the mri and the regul both are completely alien. While the mri at least are vaguely humanoid, both are very alien in their thought-processes, thinking in ways that humans find difficult or impossible to follow.

Cherryh does a brilliant job in this book of describing and letting the reader into the cultures of both the mri and the regul. Three: The fact that the book is not resolved by Niun discovering he would be better off human, and assimilating. I've read so many books where the alien character is assimilated by the human character, with the feeling that human culture is better anyway, so of course it will win out.

This book is the opposite, and runs in the face of that xenophobic cultural bigotry. Duncan becomes mri. Stavros is well on his way to becoming regul. I love the idea from this book that cultural identity is not just skin deep, but comes with a certain thought process and behavioral patterns - the fact that Duncan is mri is recognized both by the mri themselves, and by the regul - it is only the humans, set in their shallow ways, who refuse to see this change.

Between the Covers

In all, this is my favorite book in the science fiction genre. This is a wonderful trilogy! For detailed reviews of each book, check out the individual titles in my library. CJ Cherryh always starts slow, and this is perhaps one of her slowest starts.

The Mri Language

But it's worth persevering for the totally epic space opera she manages to describe. This trilogy is also unusual in that CJC employs a range of Points of Views, alien and human, which is something she often avoids.

Faded Sun Trilogy

It's not a style I often like, but handled well, as this is, it does allow a greater sense of empathy with many more of the characters and a greater explanation of motivations for various actions. Faded sun contains the complete Trilogy: Kesrith: A desert world out at the limits of human exploration, recently seceded to human ownership, after the defeated Regul and their Mri mercenaries withdraw. It is also home to the last of the Mri, a fierce race, who hold strictly to their own ways and do not compromise.

Nuin is Mri. Youngest, of those on Kesrith and deeply disappointed that he hasn't and now won't see action in the war with humans that has lasted his entire life. Duncan is human - aide to Stavos, the envoy to the Regul, to observe Regul withdrawal. When chance politics allows him the chance ot explore outside he takes it with glee - anything to get away from the dull, slow ungainly and spiteful regul. However he encounters the uncompromising Nuin, and a destiny is set in motion which will effect the futures of all three races.

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Shon'jir: The Passing. Nuin and his 'mother' the tribal elder, and his biological sister have their spaceship, and are retracing the journey of their kind, As detailed in their Holy mysteries. Unfortunately the ship comes courtesy of Duncan their human adoptee. Only if he can forget his humanness and become mri - surpassing the constraints of biology can he be permitted to continue with them.

For Duncan it is journey beyond his imagining, humans always compromise. Mri do not.

Complete Bibliography of C. J. Cherryh

Kutath: the journey has reached it's end - dead worlds have been passed, each suitable for intelligent life, but known was found. Kutath II -- the original homeworld of the mri, an ancient, dying world, home of many other races now dead, and of the elee, also surviving. Na'i'in II -- the Sun, the primary of Kutath, original homeworld of the mri. Pana I -- the Revered Objects, the Mysteries, the Forbidden, usually kept in the sen-Shrine, behind the screen beyond which no kel'en may pass.

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Melain s'Intel Zain-Abrin. Sa'an II -- the Giver of Laws, first of the Kel the text is not clear on whether "Giver of Laws" is a translation of his name, or merely a descriptive.

Sa'er II -- name of a Kath woman on Kutath, it is said to be "like the word for morning," although that is never given. To understand it is to understand the mri. Shon'jir I -- the Passing ritual, a verse that speaks of the Dark and the times between, performed at a mri birth or death, also the period in which the mri migrate between homeworlds.

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Overall, the samples provided in the text comprise a naming language, rather than a complete langauge suitable for fannish use. They were the mri--tall, secretive, bound by honor and the rigid dictates of their society. But now the mri have faced an enemy unlike any other--an enemy whose only way of war is widespread destruction.

Cherryh planned to write since the age of ten. When she was older, she learned to use a type writer while triple-majoring in Classics, Latin and Greek. She can be found at cherryh.