This one stops in mid-story; be sure to have The Kif Strike Back handy or you’ll be dissatisfied by the abrupt ending. (And you’ll want to continue with Chanur’s Homecoming after completing Kif.) It looks for all the world like Cherryh wrote a longer novel and arbitrarily chopped it in thirds.
Tully’s in this book, on an explicitly diplomatic mission, but really he’s just a pale character here. This is a disappointment after she’d made him visibly human through alien eyes so successfully in The Pride of Chanur. Presumably she fleshes him out again in the return bout.
Beyond that annoyance, the book again displays Cherryh’s remarkable ability to create aliens, and alien cultures. She gives each of several races enough ink to show us vividly how the cultures function, at least in public (that’s a real issue here, as each race has cultural issues in the background that the others seem unable to comprehend, or make allowances for).
The last few pages are explicitly about those cultures, by the way, as Cherryh includes an appendix of little essays about the various races in this book’s universe. You really might want to read that first, especially if you’ve already read Pride.
This review was originally published on LibraryThing.