Cherryh, C. J. Tripoint.

NY: Warner, 1994.

Cherryh has developed a number of fictional universes over the years — and done it exceptionally well — but the favorite of many of her readers, and the one where she has spent the most time, is the Union/Alliance future, where the major players are the scattered space stations built to orbit far stars, first by Earth and then by Earth’s rebellious colonies, plus the mostly independent merchanters, the long-haul freight-carrying ships that hold everything together.

This universe includes both broad-scope epics (like Cyteen) and more narrowly focused “small” stories like this one, which is set a couple of decades after the war that changed everything (but didn’t solve much). Marie Hawkins, now Cargo Chief of the Sprite, had a traumatic sleepover experience at Mariner Station twenty years ago at the hands of Austin Bowe of Corinthian; she calls it rape and she’s been planning her cold revenge ever since. The outcome of that encounter, however, was a son, Tom Bowe-Hawkins, whose life has been warped by his mother’s obsession. He swings between almost hating her and trying desperately to win her approval. But Marie isn’t a maternal sort of woman and it’s a long road to travel. Sprite and Corinthian bump into each other accidentally (but not really) at Mariner and Tom, trying (against his better judgment) to help Marie, goes poking into warehouses where he ought not to be, discovering things he ought not to see. One thing inevitably leads to another and Tom finds himself semi-kidnapped and incarcerated in Corinthian’s brig, outbound and likely to never see his own ship again. And he discovers a slightly younger half-brother he didn’t know he had. But, of course, not everything is as it seems on the surface. Cherryh spend a lot of time on the minutiae of ship-handling, freighter economics, cargo-stowing, and similar topics that add greatly to the verisimilitude but might not be to the taste of her more action-demanding readers. I enjoy that sort of thing, though — it makes her fictional universe a real place — and so I enjoyed this installment in her opus. I don’t think I’d start out with this book, though, if I weren’t already familiar with events in this future; the casual references to earlier people, places, and events will go right over your head.

Published in: on 24 October 2010 at 12:37 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. Have you read The Merchanter’s Luck? I think it’s the best in the series actually — it manages to engage somewhat with the larger picture but is primarily a “small” story. I loved it…..

    I wrote a review if you’re curious.

    Nice review 🙂

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