Chanur’s Endgame (Chanur 4-5) by C.J. Cherryh

Sorry for being away for some time, life got hectic, now I’m back. And I got some books read as well:

Chanur’s Endgame(by C.J CHerryh) is a collection of 2 books: Chanur’s Homecoming and Chanur’s Legacy.

The Chanure series takes place in the same universe as Downbelow Station .

In Pride of Chanur (Chanur 1) a lone human escape from captivity to the Meetpoint star station and start up this whole sequence. At that time no one had officially seen a Human before.

The oxygen and methane breathing races of this region comes together in a loose Compact of Races:

  • Hani an uplifted race of humanoid felines with medieval clan life. Males are too violent so only females goes to space (how those prejudice start to crumble are a part of the story)
  • Kif is a race of reptilian predator descent that takes all opportunities they can up to and including piracy when they can get away with it.
  • Mahendo’stais a major power that is governed by Personages, charismatic leaders that raise and fall based on perceived social credit. They uplifted the Hani to starflight.
  • Stshoare a non-combative race that handles much of the trade in the Compact
  • The methane breathers are to weird to understand and consist of Tc’a, Chi and Knnn

The story is told from the point of view of Pyanfar Chanur, the captain of the merchant ship The Pride of Chanur.

In Chanur’s HomecomingPyanfar struggles to survive as war threatens the Compact again. The Mahen tries to play two fractions of Kif against each other while dealing under the table with both methane breathers and humans. The mahen Gooldthoot bring the human Tully back to The Pride and asks them to hold him and a message until it needs to be delivered. Pyanfar and the Pride are drawn deeply into a whirlpool of deception, plots and counter plots.

As allways with C.J. Cherryh this is also about the relations and inner thoughts that motivate her characters. Here Pyanfar struggles to comprehend what motivates the other players. Alien is Alien. The crew struggles to comprehend both themselves and their captain as cultures clashes aboard. We have Khym, Pyanfars mate, a “violent” hani male out of his element trying to fit into a crew that is socially prejudiced, we have Tully a lonely human and we have Skkukuka mistrusted Kif that starts out as a prisoner.

In Chanur’s Legacy we meet Hilfy Chanur again, from the crew of The Pride. She who felt in love with the human Tully. Now Head of the Chanur Clan and Captain of her own merchant ship. Despite her misgivings she takes a too good to be true offer to transport a Stsho artifact. As an act of mercy she also takes on a male hani named Hallan, that has been detained on Meetpoint after hitting a Kif of rank. As Hilfy chases after the recipient af her cargo, the plot thickens. Someone has killed off the Stsho ambasadors on the ports she comes to and her recipient seems to be running from her. And a new Personage has sent Haisi a really annoying Mahen Raider Captain to “assist” her. Mix in some Kif bodyguards to the Stsho with their own agenda and you got a situation that threatens the Peace.

This is one of the most belivable alien point of view stories so far. The only sad thing about it is that we dont get to see more of the humans. At least my racial ego would like to be seen from outside. But I guess that the humans in the Alliance-Union universe are not so nice. How is it that C.J. Cherryh can make really likable Aliens but most of her humans are not, unless the grow up among aliens?

See also One human all alone … for my view of the 3 first books