cover image Chanur's Legacy

Chanur's Legacy

C. J. Cherryh. Daw Books, $15 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-88677-519-3

This is the fifth entry in Cherryh's ( Heavy Time ) chronicles of the Chanur clan, space-faring members of a cat-like alien race called the hani.not capitalized It picks up 10 years after the action of Chanur's Homecoming , and introduces an almost entirely new cast of characters. The fast-moving story centers on Hilfy Chanur's efforts to fulfill a contract involving the delivery of a religious artifact. This seemingly straightforward assignment quickly escalates in typical Cherryh fashion into a tangle of financial and political intrigue involving five different alien species, half a dozen planets, and more paperwork than either the reader or the characters can keep track of. Despite the apparent confusion, it is a great deal of fun. There is more humor here than in previous Chanur books, stemming primarily from the foibles of various well-developed alien cultures. Cherryh demonstrates a remarkable grasp of alien psychologies--she has mastered the near-impossible trick of creating aliens who think differently from, but just as well as, humans. Very few SF writers could carry off a 400-page novel with no major human characters; Cherryh does so effortlessly. (Aug.)