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Ranking Author C. J. Cherryh’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

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“What are C. J. Cherryh’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Cherryh’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by C. J. Cherryh and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



The Top Book’s Of C. J. Cherryh



63 ) Legions of Hell

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 57
  • Amazon: 61
  • LibraryThing: 61

Julius Caesar gathers his legions in an alternate universe in order to defeat the devil and conquer hell

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62 ) Faery in Shadow

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 54
  • Amazon: 59
  • LibraryThing: 59

Avoiding other humans because of the curse placed on him, Caithe mac Sliabhan nevertheless aids a strange couple who claim to be husband and wife but look like twins to Caith, and who are under the spell of a witch

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61 ) Port Eternity

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 60
  • Amazon: 51
  • LibraryThing: 56

Their names were Lancelot, Elaine, Percivale, Gawain, Modred, Lynette and Vivien, but they were not characters from legend. They were made people, clone servants designed to suit the fancy of their opulent owner, the Lady Dela Kirn. And they worked aboard the Maid, an anachronistic fantasy of a spaceship, decorated with swords, heraldic banners, old-looking beams masking the structural joints, and lamps that mimicked live flame. They lived in a kind of dream, and had no idea of their origins, their prototypes in those old, old story tapes of romance, chivalry, heroism and betrayal. Until a wandering instability, a knot in time, a ripple in the between sucked them into a spatial no-man’s-land from which there seemed to be no escape. And they were left alone, with the borrowed personas of their ancient namesakes, to face a crisis those venerable spirits were never designed to master.

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59 ) Rusalka

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 61
  • Amazon: 57
  • LibraryThing: 48

Pyetr and Sasha’s flight to Kiev is interrupted when they stumble upon a wizard intent on bringing the spirit of his murdered daughter back to life

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59 ) Hammerfall

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 58
  • Amazon: 55
  • LibraryThing: 53

One of the most renowned figures in science fiction, C.J. Cherryh has been enthralling audiences for nearly thirty years with rich and complex novels. Now at the peak of her career, this three-time Hugo Award winner launches her most ambitious work in decades, Hammerfall, part of a far-ranging series, The Gene Wars, set in an entirely new universe scarred by the most vicious of future weaponry, nanotechnology. In this brilliant novel — possibly Cherryh’s masterwork — the fate of billions has come down to a confrontation between two profoundly alien cultures on a single desert planet.

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58 ) Hestia

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 62
  • Amazon: 41
  • LibraryThing: 62

Brought to Hestia to build a dam for the failing colony, Sam Merrit discovers that intelligent alien beings are responsible for sabotaging the colony

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57 ) The Dreamstone

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 49
  • Amazon: 62
  • LibraryThing: 51

It was that transitional time of the world, when man first brought the clang of iron and the reek of smoke to the lands which before had echoed only with fairy voices. In that dawn of man and death of magic there yet remained one last untouched place — the small forest of Ealdwood — which kept the magic intact, and protected the old ways. And there was one who dwelt there, Arafel the Sidhe, who had more pride and love of the world as it used to be than any of her kind.

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56 ) The Tree of Swords and Jewels

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 50
  • Amazon: 57
  • LibraryThing: 54

Ciaran Cuilean decides he must return to the magic world of Eald to help defend the Lady of Trees from an evil menace

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55 ) Brothers of Earth

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 51
  • Amazon: 59
  • LibraryThing: 48

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54 ) Wave Without a Shore

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 52
  • Amazon: 45
  • LibraryThing: 50

Visitors to the planet Freedom swore they saw enigmatic aliens in blue robes crowding the streets, but humans born on the planet claimed never to have seen such creatures

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53 ) Chernevog

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 53
  • Amazon: 45
  • LibraryThing: 46

In spirit-haunted ancient Russia, Eveshka, a destructive ghost restored to life, seeks her mother, and Kavi Cherevog, freed from a binding stone slab, stretches forth his power and wizardry

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52 ) Kings in Hell

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 46
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 62

As the Second Trojan War begins, history’s greatest champions and villains, including Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, Brutus, and Machiavelli, fight the Battle of the Ages

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51 ) Heavy Time

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 44
  • Amazon: 45
  • LibraryThing: 45

Bird and Ben are free-runners, prowling the asteroid belt for that one major strike that will make them rich. When they come across another free-runner ship, adrift and inhabited by a half-crazy spacer named Dekker, they decide to tow him in and claim his ship for salvage. Then the body of Dekker’s partner is discovered, and Bird and Ben find more than their livelihood is in danger.

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50 ) Hellburner

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 41
  • Amazon: 45
  • LibraryThing: 44

A futuristic tale of governmental coverups, betrayal, and murder follows the belter Pollard as he tries to determine if his partner’s space flight training accident was a mishap or attempted murder(summary from ISBN 0446364517)Lt. Ben Pollard thinks he’s traded the perils of the Belt for security as an Earth-based computer jockey for United Defence Command. Then he’s forced to perform a mission of mercy – and lands on an isolated, intrigue-riddled space station.

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49 ) Well of Shiuan

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 33
  • Amazon: 53
  • LibraryThing: 40

The world of Shiuan was doomed. Rising waters and shattering earthquakes had sealed its fate. The only escape routes were the Gates. And just as this knowledge dawned on the desperate tribes and cities there appeared the woman Morgaine—whose mission was to seal Shiuan’s Gates.

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47 ) Forge of Heaven

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 46
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 47

In the second volume of “The Gene Wars,” C. J. Cherryh further explores the captivating new universe where two interstellar empires, scarred by nanotechnology weaponry, hover in an uneasy detente. Perched at the edge of the galaxy, tiny Concord Station holds the balance of the universe within its carefully regulated worlds. For, created to carefully monitor the crucial desert planet below, it lies in the tenuous intersection between the territories of Earth and the alien Ondat.

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47 ) The Gates of Hell

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 56
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 55

Alexander of Macedon, Julius Caesar, the Pharaohs Hatshepsut and Cleopatra, Niccolo Machiavelli, Judah Macabee, and other damned adventurers brave the River of Fire and the River of Forgetfulness on a daring journey back to the land of the living

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46 ) Downbelow Station

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 37
  • Amazon: 45
  • LibraryThing: 41

A legend among sci-fi readers, C. J. Cherryh’s Union-Alliance novels, while separate and complete in themselves, are part of a much larger tapestry—a future history spanning 5,000 years of human civilization. Here is the 20th anniversary edition of Downbelow Station, the book that won Cherryh a Hugo Award for Best novel in 1982. A blockbuster space opera of the rebellion between Earth and its far-flung colonies, it is a classic science fiction masterwork.

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44 ) Hunter of Worlds

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 44
  • Amazon: 55
  • LibraryThing: 23

The story of how Chimele of The Iduve seeks vengeance on Tejef for violating ancient rituals and codes of their race. The author is a winner of the Hugo award and the John W. Campbell award and previous titles include “Exile’s Gate” and “Serpent’s Reach”.

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44 ) The Goblin Mirror

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 63
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 58

Things weren’t right in the little kingdom of Maggiar, so the princes Bogdan and Tamas set off to seek an answer to the kingdom’s troubles in the world over the mountain, a world they knew only from legends. But that glorious place was great no more. The goblins had declared war, and no one–especially not visitors were safe from the raging battles, the darkest sorcery, and the evil that roamed the land..

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42 ) Rider at the Gate

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 40
  • Amazon: 41
  • LibraryThing: 39

Stranded on a distant planet that abounds with fertile farmland, human colonists appear to be in paradise. But all the native animals communicate by telepathy, projecting images that drive humans mad. Only Nighthorses stand between civilization and madness. When a flare of human emotion spreads to all the horses, chaos erupts.

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42 ) Sunfall

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 54
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 60

The Hugo Award-winning author of “The Chronicles of Morgaine” and “Exile’s Gate” returns with a tale of the future fate of Earth. Humankind has now conquered the stars and left the once-mighty cities of Earth to confront their destinies – and possible extinction – alone.

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41 ) Tripoint

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 37
  • Amazon: 45
  • LibraryThing: 35

Tom is trapped, destination unknown, on a starship speeding away from all he has known, with no hope of rescue or return, held prisoner by a crew fanatically loyal to Tom’s sworn enemy, his father, Austin Bowe.(summary from ISBN 0446602027)A family drama in space whose protagonists are a man, a woman and their son. For raping her 25 years earlier, Marie Hawkins intends to denounce Austin Bowe, captain of a freight vessel, as trading with smugglers. But her revenge is foiled by her son, Tom, who subsequently leaves her for his father’s ship to discover Bowe is not as bad man as his mother made him out. By the author of Hellburner.…

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40 ) Voyager in Night

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 59
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 56

Rafe Murray, his sister Jillian, and Jillian’s husband Paul Gaines, like many other out-of-luck spacers, had come to newly-built Endeavor Station to find their future. Their tiny ship, Lindy, had been salvaged from the junk heap, and fitted to mine ore from the mineral-rich rings which circled Endeavor. But their future proved to be far stranger than any of them imagined, when a “collision” with a huge alien vessel provided them with the oddest first contact experience possible!

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39 ) Fires of Azeroth

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 23
  • Amazon: 53
  • LibraryThing: 38

There was a star Gate in Azeroth marked by alien fires that Morgaine must seal. But Morgaine and Vanye have brought devastation to the peaceful land. For the hordes of Shiuan were on their heels, determined to conquer a new land for themselves and to avenge their lost planet.

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38 ) The Paladin

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 43
  • Amazon: 26
  • LibraryThing: 43

Now betrayed by the Emperor he once protected, master swordsman Saukendar leaves the way of the sword behind him forever–so he thinks. When a headstrong peasant girl burning to avenge her murdered family demands that he train her, Saukendar is faced with a momentous choice. Send Taizu away, never see her again–or join her and destroy the tyrant who has nearly destroyed them both.

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36 ) Angel with the Sword

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 42
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 29

In a fantastic city of canals, seventeen-year-old gondolier Altair Jones finds herself involved in aristocratic plots and mortal danger when she rescues a man thrown into the canal to drown

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36 ) Rimrunners

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 39
  • Amazon: 21
  • LibraryThing: 42

A Union ship headed for the spaceways seems a perfect vehicle for Elizabeth Yeager’s escape, until she learns the ship is the bait in a plot to eliminate a group of space pirates

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35 ) Cloud’s Rider

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 35
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 35

On a distant planet, all the native creatures communicate telepathically, projecting images which drive humans to madness. As a result, the people live in walled cities and owe their lives to the nighthorses, equines who can bond with certain riders and provide a telepathic “buffer”. But one savage winter, young Danny Fisher and his nighthorse Cloud lead the survivors of a deadly telepathic attack to shelter high in the snowbound mountains–only to discover their “sanctuary” threatened by a vicious predator never before known to humans. Sequel to “Rider at the Gate”.

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34 ) Visible Light

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 46
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 52

Six stories deal with a woman cursed with the madness of prophecy, time travel, fairies, interstellar exploration, a cunning thief, and a troubled magician

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33 ) The Faded Sun: Kesrith

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 30
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 34

This is the story of three people: Sten Duncan, a soldier of humanity; Niun, last warrior of the mri, humanity’s enemies; and Melein, priestess-queen of the final fallen mri stronghold. It is the story of two mighty species fighting for a galaxy, humanity driving out from Earth, and the enigmatic regul struggling to hold their stars with mri mercenaries. It is a story of diplomacy and warfare, of conspiracy and betrayal, and of three flesh-and-blood people who found themselves thrown together in a life-and-death alliance.

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32 ) Regenesis

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 31
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 31

In the long-anticipated sequel to the Hugo Award-winning Cyteen, Ariane Emory PR, the genetic clone of scientist Ariane Emory, launches a personal investigation into the murder of her progenitor, searching for a killer against the backdrop of a turbulent interstellar society in which she struggles to avoid the same fate as the original Ariane.

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30 ) Foreigner

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 33
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 24

It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, had encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on this planet so many light-years from home.

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30 ) Finity’s End

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 23
  • Amazon: 41
  • LibraryThing: 24

Finity’s End is the oldest Merchanter ship in the universe. In an era of spies, pirate traders, and uneasy alliances, the Company Wears are now over, the hunt for the fleet is winding down, and the ship is coming home to reclaim her trade routes. Having lost an entire generation, the youngest crew members, bred and trained for war, must face their most critical battle of all–survival in a time of lasting peace.

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29 ) Peacemaker

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 62
  • LibraryThing: 21

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28 ) Exile’s Gate

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 21
  • Amazon: 51
  • LibraryThing: 14

Morgaine must meet her greatest challenge—Gault, who is both human and alien, and also seeks control of the world and its Gate. She will meet the true Gatemaster—a mysterious lord with power as great, or greater, than her own.

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27 ) Merchanter’s Luck

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 27
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 20

The fateful meeting between the owner of a tramp star-freighter that flies the Union planets under false papers and fake names and a proud but junior member of a powerful starship-owning family leads to a record-breaking race to Downbelow Station–and a terrifying showdown at a deadly destination off the cosmic charts.

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26 ) The Pride of Chanur

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 36
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 27

“The first volume of the Chanur saga, set in the Alliance-Union universe, featuring the alien crew of spaceship The Pride of Chanur and the human Tully.

No one at Meetpoint Station had ever seen a creature like the Outsider. Naked-hided, blunt toothed and blunt-fingered, Tully was the sole surviving member of his company of humans―a communicative, spacefaring species hitherto unknown―and he was a prisoner of his discoverers and captors―the sadistic, treacherous kif―until his escape onto the hani ship, The Pride of Chanur.

Little did he know when he threw himself upon the mercy of The Pride and her crew that he put the entire hani species in jeopardy and imperiled the peace of the Compact itself…for the information this fugitive held could be the ruin or glory of any of the species at Meetpoint Station.”

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24 ) Cuckoo’s Egg

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 32
  • Amazon: 21
  • LibraryThing: 21

“Cuckoo’s Egg” is a novel by science fiction and fantasy author C. J. Cherryh, set in her Alliance-Union universe. It was nominated for the Hugo Award and longlisted the Locus Award for Best Novel. It was later included, along with Cherryh’s novel “Serpent’s Reach, ” in the 2005 omnibus volume “The Deep Beyond.” The audiobook introduces the alien Shonunin race, and the plot of the novel concerns a male Shonun raising a human boy. They named him Thorn. They told him he was of their people, although he was so different. He was ugly in their eyes, strange, sleek-skinned instead of furred, clawless, different. Yet he was of their power class: judge-warriors, the elite, the fighters, the defenders. Thorn knew that his difference was somehow very important but not important enough to prevent murderous conspiracies against him, against his protector, against his caste, and perhaps against the peace of the world.…

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24 ) Convergence

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 26
  • LibraryThing: 35

Convergence is the eighteenth book in C.J. Cherryh’s beloved Foreigner space opera series.

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23 ) Cyteen

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 29
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 13

Genetic manipulation, murder, intrigue and politics are just part of the story of a young scientist in this substantial book. C. J. Cherryh, who won the 1989 Hugo Award for this novel, following on her Hugo Award-winning Downbelow Station, offers another ambitious work. A geneticist is murdered by an adviser, but the scientist is replicated in the lab, leaving a prodigy who attempts to chart a different fate. The book is intense and complex yet always presented with the flow of true storytelling.

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22 ) Chanur’s Venture

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 26
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 31

“In this sequel to The Pride of Chanur, Pyanfar Chanur and her human companion, Tully, must sensitive complex interstellar politics without getting caught in an all-out war.

Two years after the events of the previous book, Pyanfar returns to Meetpoint Station with the hani spaceship The Pride of Chanur to find her comrades Goldtooth and Tully. Goldtooth advises Pyanfar to take Tully, whom the enemy kif are hunting, and head for mahen space. The mahendo’sat, on the other hand, retrieved Tully from human space and are paving the way for a fleet of human ships to open up trade with the central Compact.

But the kif and the stsho oppose the humans’ presence, for fear of losing their place and influence in the Compact. The kif are themselves involved in a power struggle: two kif leaders, Akkhtimakt and Sikkukkut, are vying for the lofty position of mekt-hakkikt. Sikkukkut draws a reluctant Pyanfar into the feud, and her association with the kif puts her at odds with the han. Then, when the kif conflict spills over into hani space, all she and Tully can do is stay alive until Goldtooth and the human ships arrive.”

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20 ) The Faded Sun Trilogy (The Faded Sun #1-3)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 19
  • Amazon: 26
  • LibraryThing: 19

They were the mri—tall, secretive, bound by honor and the rigid dictates of their society. For aeons this golden-skinned, golden-eyed race had provided the universe mercenary soldiers of almost unimaginable ability.

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20 ) The Faded Sun: Shon’Jir

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 23
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 28

For the first time in one volume–the complete trilogy comprised of the novels “Kesrith, Shon’jir, ” and “Kutath.” A race of golden-skinned, golden eyed creatures is nearly annihilated in a war with “human” fighters.

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19 ) The Collected Short Fiction of C. J. Cherryh

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 28
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 29

Featuring the short stories, novellas, and novelettes of multiple award-winning author C.J. Cherryh, this volume is a must-have for fans and newcomers alike. It includes stories that originally appeared in her earlier collections, in magazines, and in other collections from DAW and other publishers. This special volume will include an introduction by Cherryh, written exclusively for this book.

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18 ) Deliverer

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 41
  • LibraryThing: 9

“The ninth novel in Cherryh’s Foreigner space opera series, a groundbreaking tale of first contact and its consequences…

In the aftermath of civil war, the world of the atevi is still perilously unstable. Tabini-aiji, powerful ruler of the Western Association, along with his son and heir Cajeiri, and his human paidhi, Bren Cameron, have returned to the seat of power. The usurper, Murini, has escaped to the lands of his supporters, but the danger these rebels pose is far from over. Ilisidi, Tabini’s grandmother, the aiji-dowager, has returned to her ancient castle in the East, for she has powerful ties in the lands of the rebels, and she seeks to muster whatever support for her grandson that she can from among those enemy strongholds.

In his father’s tightly guarded headquarters, eight-year-old Cajeiri is horribly bored. Two years on an interstellar starship surrounded by human children have left him craving excitement. But unbeknownst to this dissatisfied youngster, he has become a target for forces bent on destroying his father’s rule and everything it stands for.

Though still a child, Cajeiri embodies a unique threat to the venerable, tradition-defined lifestyle of his people. For this young boy is the first ateva youth to have lived in a human environment. And after hundreds of years of tenuous atevi-human coexistence, Cajeiri may very well be the first ateva to ever truly understand the so similar yet so dangerously different aliens who share his home planet and threaten the hidebound customs of his race.”

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16 ) Defender

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 16
  • Amazon: 31
  • LibraryThing: 9

“The fifth novel in Cherryh’s Foreigner space opera series, a groundbreaking tale of first contact and its consequences…

Nearly ten years after the unexpected return of the starship Phoenix, the alien atevi have three functioning space shuttles, and teams of atevi engineers labor in orbit to renovate the space station. But these monumental advances not only add a dangerously powerful third party to an already precarious diplomatic situation, but rouse pro- and anti=s[ace factions in atevi society to incendiary levels. To help negotiate these treacherous diplomatic waters, Tabini-aiji, the powerful head of the atevi’s Western Association, has sent the only human he fully trusts into space: his own paidhi, Bren Cameron.

However, the threat of possible invasion by hostile aliens who attacked Phoenix’s station in a far-off sector of space hangs over them all. And when one of the senior captains of the Phoenix confesses that this station was not completely destroyed, as had been previously thought, the crew mutinies. How can Bren hope to mediate on a station overcome by a rebellious crew intent on taking the Phoenix on a rescue mission back into hostile alien territory?”

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16 ) The Kif Strike Back

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 21
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 26

“The third volume of the Chanur saga, set in the Alliance-Union universe, featuring the alien spaceship captain Pyanfar Chanur and her human crewmate Tully.

When the kif seized Hilfy and Tully, hani and human crewmembers of The Pride of Chanur, they issued a challenge Pyanfar, the captain of the Pride, couldn’t ignore, a challenge that would take Pyanfar and her shipmates to Mkks station and into a deadly confrontation between kif, hani, mahendo’sat, and human. And what began as a simple rescue attempt soon blossomed into a dangerous game of interstellar politics, where today’s ally could become tomorrow’s executioner, and where methane breathers became volatile wild cards playing for stakes no oxy breather could even begin to understand….”

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15 ) Destroyer

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 14
  • Amazon: 26
  • LibraryThing: 9

“The seventh novel in Cherryh’s Foreigner space opera series, a groundbreaking tale of first contact and its consequences…

It has been two years since the starship Phoenix left Alpha Station on a rescue mission where over four thousand human spacers were under attack by a hostile alien race. Now, exhausted from their journey, the crew of the Phoenix yearns for home. But when the ship makes the jump into atevi space and contacts Alpha, they learn the worst: that supplies to the station have been cut off; that civil war has broken out on the atevi mainland; that the powerful Western Association has been overthrown; and that Tabini-aiji, Bren Cameron’s primary supporter and Ilisidi’s grandson and ally, is missing and may be dead.

With no one left to lead the Western Association, Ilisidi and Bren know that the survival of their allies lies in their hands. And with the atevi world at war, the only safe landing strip lies on the human colony at Mospheira. Although there are many dangers inherent in bringing a powerful atevi leader such as Ilisidi onto human lands, Bren realizes they have no other choice. But even if they safely survive their landing, will Bren and Ilisidi together prove strong enough to muster the remaining shards of the Western Association and regain control of their planet?

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14 ) Intruder

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 26
  • LibraryThing: 14

“The thirteenth novel in Cherryh’s Foreigner space opera series, a groundbreaking tale of first contact and its consequences…

Civil war on the world of the atevi is over but diplomatic disputes and political infighting continue unabated. Bren Cameron, brilliant human diplomat allied with the dominant Western Association, has just returned to the capital from his country home. But his sojourn was anything but restful, for Bren and his associates have had a small war of their own to contend with, ending with rebel leader, Machigi, joining the atevi congress representing the rebels as a member state.

Machigi, to Bren’s utter shock, has invoked an ancient law, changing Bren’s role as negotiator for Tabini-aiji, Ilisidi, and other leaders of the Western Association to that of a specialized, entirely neutral negotiator between atevi adversaries. Tabini-aiji is enraged to have lost his personal negotiator, and Bren is becoming embroiled in a development that could result in his assassination.

But there are even more dangerous things afoot, as a crisis brews inside the immensely dangerous Assassins’ Guild. The recent dustup with the Shadow Guild may be only the beginning.”

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12 ) Invader

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 17
  • Amazon: 21
  • LibraryThing: 7

“The second novel in Cherryh’s Foreigner space opera series, a groundbreaking tale of first contact and its consequences…

Nearly two centuries after the starship Phoenix disappeared into the heavens, leaving an isolated colony of humans on the world of the atevi, it unexpectedly returns to orbit ovenhead, threatening the stability of both atevi and human governments.

With the situation fast becoming critical, Bren Cameron, the brilliant, youngpaidhi to the court of the atevi is recalled from Mospheira where he has just undergone surgery. But his sudden and premature return to the mainland is cause for more than mere physical discomfort. For during his brief absence, his government has sent his paidhi-successor, Deana Hanks—representative of a dangerous archconservative faction on Mospheira who hate the atevi. And though she should depart when Bren is once again able to fill his post, no recall order comes.

Cut off from his government and haunted by the continuing threat of assassination, Bren realizes his only hompe may be to communicate directly with the Phoenix as the spokesman of the atevi—an actuan which may cut him off for good from his own species. Yet if he doesn’t take this desperate and illegal action, he may be forced to helplessly bear witness to the final destruction of the already precarious balance of world power.”

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12 ) Tracker

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 33

“Tracker is the sixteenth installment of CJ Cherryh’s acclaimed Foreigner series.

It’s been a year of upheaval, since Bren Cameron’s return from space—a year when he and the aiji-dowager, one of his most powerful atevi allies, returned home from their two-year interstellar mission to find the government over­thrown and their world in chaos.

Now, at last, things are calming down; the Assassins’ Guild is functioning again, working out its internal difficulties, and Bren is settling back into his routine: not as Lord of the Heavens; not—to his regret—as Lord of Najida peninsula, where his leisure estate is located; but as paidhi-aiji, an official in the atevi court.

His current ambition is to keep himself and his bodyguard out of harm’s way, and to shepherd the aiji-dowager’s daring new trade agreement through the appropriate legislative committees. Combined with Tabini-aiji’s recent appointment of his young son Cajeiri as his official heir, Bren’s workload is challenging, but at least things on the atevi world seem to be on the right track.

Something is coming, however, quietly, stealthily, just the first ominous twinkle of a new star in the heavens…”

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11 ) Chanur’s Legacy

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 20
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 16

Hiffy Chanur, once a member of her aunt’s crew on The Pride of Chanur, is now captain of her own vessel, Chanur’s Legacy. It should have been the ideal existence for Hiffy, her fondest dream fulfilled, but instead the young captain’s increasingly hard-pressed to take care of her ship’s business.

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10 ) Conspirator

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 10
  • Amazon: 21
  • LibraryThing: 6

Cajeiri is the young son of the powerful leader of the Western Association-and he has become a target for forces bent on destroying his father’s rule. For Cajeiri is the first ateva youth to have lived in a human environment. And after hundreds of years of fragile atevi-human coexistence, he may very well be the first of his people to ever truly understand the so similar-yet so dangerously different-aliens who share his home planet and threaten the hidebound customs of his race.

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7 ) Pretender

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 21
  • LibraryThing: 3

“The eighth novel in Cherryh’s Foreigner space opera series, a groundbreaking tale of first contact and its consequences…

Exhausted from a two-year rescue mission in space, the crew of the starship Phoenix return home to find disaster: civil war has broken out, the powerful Western Association has been overthrown, and Tabini-aiji, its forceful leader, is missing. In a desperate move, paidhi Bren Cameron and Tabini’s grandmother Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, along with with Cajeiri, Tabini’s eight-year-old heir, make planetfall and succeed in reaching the mainland. The brilliant and forceful Ilisidi seeks refuge at the estate of an old ally, and Tabini-aiji arrives at the door.

As word of Tabini’s whereabouts circulates, clans allied with Tabini descend upon the estate, providing a huge civilian presence that everyone involved hopes will deter impending attacks by the usurpers. But as more and more supporting clans arrive, Bren finds himself increasingly isolated, and it becomes clear that both his extremely important report of alien contact in space, and even his life, rest on the shoulders of only two allies: Ilisidi and Cajeiri.

Can one elderly ateva and and eight-year-old boy—himself a prime target for assassination—protect Bren, a lone human involved in a civil war that most atevi believe he caused?”

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7 ) Inheritor

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 15
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 7

“The first book in C.J.Cherryh’s eponymous series, Foreigner, begins an epic tale of the survivors of a lost spacecraft who crash-land on a planet inhabited by a hostile, sentient alien race. From its beginnings as a human-alien story of first contact, the Foreigner series has become a true science fiction odyssey, following a civilization from the age of steam through early space flight to confrontations with other alien species in distant sectors of space. It is the masterwork of a truly remarkable author.

Six months have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix—the same ship which brought a colony of humans to the hostile environment of alien atevi nearly two hundred years ago. During these six months, the atevi have reconfigured their fledgling space program in a bid to take their place in the heavens alongside humans. But the return of the Phoenix has added a frighteningly powerful third party to an already volatile situation, polarizing both human and atevi political factions, and making the possibility of all-out planetary war an even more likely threat.

On the atevi mainland, human ambassador Bren Cameron, in a desperate attempt to maintain the peace, has arranged for one human representative from the Phoenix to take up residence with him in his apartments, and for another to be stationed on Mosphiera, humanity’s island enclave. Bren himself is unable to return home for fear of being arrested or assassinated by the powerful arch conservative element who wish to bar the atevi from space. Desperately trying to keep abreast of the atevi associations, how can Bren possibly find a way to save two species from a three-sided conflict that no one can win?”

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7 ) Protector

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 17

“The fourteenth novel in Cherryh’s Foreigner space opera series, a groundbreaking tale of first contact and its consequences…

Civil war on the world of the atevi is finally over. Bren Cameron, brilliant human diplomat allied with the dominant Western Association, has finally returned to the capital from the southern coast, where he negotiated a daring redistribution of the atevi legislature. Now, Bren is settling back into the capital, in the home he knew prior to the war—but life at the atevi court is never easy.

Tabini-aiji, head of the Western Association and Bren’s ally, has promised his son, Cajeiri, that he can have the young human children he knew from his voyage on the world’s space station sent down to the planet for a birthday celebration.

But there’s far a darker business going on in the background—a major split compromising the Assassins’ Guild, which furnishes security and law enforcement to the whole continent. Tabini’s consort’s own father has been barred from court, and may be involved in a new conspiracy against him. Tabini wants Bren to take charge of Cajeiri, and see him and his young guests to safety, all while keeping the security problem a state secret.

Can Bren protect Cajeiri and the unsuspecting human children who are to be guests in an atevi household that is on the brink of political explosion?”

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5 ) Betrayer

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 9

In the wake of civil war, Bren Cameron, the brilliant human diplomat of the alien atevi civilization, has left the capital and sought refuge at his country estate, Najida. But now he is trapped inside Najida-which has been surrounded by enemies- with the powerful grandmother of his ally, Tabiniaiji, atevi leader of the Western Association. Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, is not inclined to be passive and sends Bren into enemy territory, to the palace of the leader of the rebels.

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5 ) Emergence

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 18

Bren Cameron, acting as the representative of the atevi’s political leader, Tabini-aiji, as well as translator between humans and atevi, has undertaken a mission to the human enclave of Mospheira. Both his presence on the island and his absence from the continent have stirred old enemies to realize new opportunities.

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4 ) Chanur’s Homecoming

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 18
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 4

When those strange entities called “humans” sent their first exploration ship into Compact space, the delicate power balances of the seven races of the Compact were catastrophically disrupted. And by giving shelter to Tully, the only human survivor of his mission, Pyanfar Chanur, captain of the merchant vessel THE PRIDE OF CHANUR, jeopardized the safety of her ship and her crew, placing them at the center of a political maelstom–inadvertent key players in a power game which could cause an interspecies war or, conversely, enfold humanity, previously unknown sentient species, into the protective arms of the Compact.

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3 ) Explorer

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 1

“The sixth novel in Cherryh’s Foreigner space opera series, a groundbreaking tale of first contact and its consequences…

It has been nearly ten years since the starship Phoenix returned to Alpha, the station orbiting the world of the atevi, which had been abandoned following a rift between a faction of the station’s inhabitants and the spacers’ Pilot’s Guild. The unexpected return of the Phoenix has forever changed the lives of both atevi and Mospheirans, for over the ensuing decade, the captains of the Phoenix have brought both species into space. Their motivation seemed simple: Reunion Station, a human station in another sector of space, had been destroyed by aliens.

But on his deathbed, the senior captain of the Phoenix admits that he lied to the crew—that Reunion was merely damaged, not destroyed, and many people may have survived. At this disclosure, the crew rebels and forces the Phoenix to undertake a rescue mission to Reunion. Onboard the rescue mission are Bren Cameron, brilliant human paidhi representing the atevi ruler Tabini-aiji, and Tabini’s grandmother Ilisidi, a fearsome and ambitious atevi leader with an agenda of her own. Trapped in a distant star system with little fuel left, facing a bellicose alien ship, how can Bren help to avoid interspecies war when the notoriously secretive Pilot’s Guild aboard Reunion Station refuse to cooperate, and may have kept the inhabitants of their own station ignorant of their true situation?”

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2 ) Deceiver

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 2

The civil war among the alien Atevi has ended. Tabini-aiji, powerful ruler of the Western Association, along with Cajeiri, his son and heir, has returned to the Bujavid, his seat of power. But factions that remain loyal to the opposition are still present, and the danger these rebels pose is far from over.

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1 ) Visitor

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 4

Working with the aiji-dowager a year after returning from an interstellar mission to discover that their government had been overthrown, Bren Cameron finds his efforts to reinstate peace throughout the atevi world challenged by an unexpected new threat.… (more)(summary from ISBN 0756409101)

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C. J. Cherryh’s Best Books



C. J. Cherryh Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOveral Rank
Visitor 164 1
Deceiver 992 2
Explorer 7131 3
Chanur’s Homecoming 1844 4
Betrayer 7139 5
Emergence 2918 5
Pretender 11213 7
Inheritor 15137 7
Protector 51317 7
Conspirator 10216 10
Chanur’s Legacy 20416 11
Invader 17217 12
Tracker 3933 12
Intruder 62614 14
Destroyer 14269 15
Defender 16319 16
The Kif Strike Back 21926 16
Deliverer 11419 18
The Collected Short Fiction of C. J. Cherryh 28629 19
The Faded Sun Trilogy (The Faded Sun #1-3) 192619 20
The Faded Sun: Shon’Jir 231328 20
Chanur’s Venture 261331 22
Cyteen 293113 23
Cuckoo’s Egg 322121 24
Convergence 132635 24
The Pride of Chanur 361327 26
Merchanter’s Luck 273120 27
Exile’s Gate 215114 28
Peacemaker 46221 29
Foreigner 333124 30
Finity’s End 234124 30
Regenesis 313131 32
The Faded Sun: Kesrith 303134 33
Visible Light 46152 34
Cloud’s Rider 353135 35
Angel with the Sword 423129 36
Rimrunners 392142 36
The Paladin 432643 38
Fires of Azeroth 235338 39
Voyager in Night 59156 40
Tripoint 374535 41
Rider at the Gate 404139 42
Sunfall 54660 42
Hunter of Worlds 445523 44
The Goblin Mirror 63158 44
Downbelow Station 374541 46
Forge of Heaven 463147 47
The Gates of Hell 561355 47
Well of Shiuan 335340 49
Hellburner 414544 50
Heavy Time 444545 51
Kings in Hell 463162 52
Chernevog 534546 53
Wave Without a Shore 524550 54
Brothers of Earth 515948 55
The Tree of Swords and Jewels 505754 56
The Dreamstone 496251 57
Hestia 624162 58
Rusalka 615748 59
Hammerfall 585553 59
Port Eternity 605156 61
Faery in Shadow 545959 62
Legions of Hell 576161 63