Daw, November 2002, 23.95, 480 pp.
The human spaceship Phoenix is on a course that will take them to the Reunion Space Station, which was thought to have been destroyed by unknown aliens. On board the ship are the crew, the Mosphierans and the alien sentient race the atevi, all who have a stake in the outcome of this mission. Upon arrival at their destination, the Phoenix communicates with an alien vessel, whose occupants insists that the Reunion attacked them and demand the return of their crew member and scout ship.
The captain of the Phoenix promises to try but when they dock at the refueling area, the Reunion won't give them any until certain conditions are met and don't seem in any hurry to be rescued. Bren Cameron, a highly trained human diplomat in the atevi court, is the only possible person capable of negotiating with all the races and groups in the hopes of coming to a peaceful resolution that will placate all interested parties.
This is the final installment in the second Foreigner Universe trilogy and it ties up all the loose ends by answering all the questions and resolving all the issues in a believable manner. C.J. Cherryh writes excellent space opera filled with plenty of action and adventure. The sentient aliens add another rich layer to this colorful tapestry and keeps reader interest not only from first page to last, but back to rereading the previous novels as well.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner