Serpents's Reach Author:C. J. Cherryh From the Hugo-winning author of the THE FADED SUN trilogy and THE BOOK OF MORGAINE comes a bold new adventure that pits humans against an alien race -- and their own kind. — Majat memory stretched back across the ages, to a time long before the Hives became know as Blue, Green, Red, and Gold, to accommodate human beings' limited perceptions. ... more »The Majat had killed the first men to visit their world, but they learned a great deal from that initial contact -- knowledge that has passed down as needed through each succeeding generation of Workers, Drones, Warriors and Queens.
In time a pact was made... a trade agreement that put the sector of space known as Serpent's Reach off limits to all but a few men, and gave one Family sole control of commerce. That Family was Kontrin, a clan whose genes had been altered to give its members centuries-long lives, and memories.
The Meth-marens were Hive Friends to the Blue Majat, and so enjoyed a special place within the Family. Yet other Houses coveted the Meth-marens' holdings, never quite understanding their relationship with the Majat, but willing to exploit it.
Raen a Sul Meth-maren was very young when the machinations of her distant kin erupted into a bloodbath. It was only chance that spared Raen's life that day, and the pain of her wounds was nothing compared to the fury in her soul. Heartsick, close to death, she sought out the only possible allies she had left on that world, not even sure that they would help her. But the Blue Hive accepted her, healed her -- and in return, she introduced an entirely new concept into the Hive mind. Revenge.
Years passed and Raen bided her time. She traveled among the inner worlds of the Reach, exercising her Kontrin privileges and powers as her whims dictated. There were Betas for her to talk to -- a secondary human race, originally bred and subtly programmed by the early Kontrin settlers. And there were Azi -- clones created by the Betas to perform specific duties until their bodies automatically malfunctioned at age 40. Neither group was fit company for the last of the Meth-marens, yet Raen endured them, looking ahead to the future.
Then, on a voyage to the outermost planet of the Reach, Raen encountered Betas with an intriguing tale to tell, an Azi unlike any other, and a Blue Warrior who remembered her contribution to the Hive mind. And she knew her time had come....« less