More CJ Cherryh: Chanur & The Paladin


The Chanur series is intelligent space opera that combines chases, imaginative alien races, and social commentary. Or, alternately, “FTL with less shooting, more talking, and ten times the backstabbing.” Recommended for space opera fans —  and also my safest recommendation for new Cherryh readers.

There are five books in the series and it is best read in order:

  • Book 1, The Pride of Chanur, is a standalone following an alien merchant crew who encounter a strange being, a “human”, and find themselves chased across the galaxy as a result.
  • Books 2-4, beginning with Chanur’s Venture, are a trilogy of the “one story cut into three” kind.
  • Book 5, Chanur’s Legacy, is another standalone, with a different lead character and a more humorous tone than most of Cherryh’s work. It deserves special mention for a prescient joke about email inboxes — not bad for a novel published in 1992!

The Paladin

I love The Paladin. Like my other favourite Cherryh, the Morgaine saga, it’s a story about the relationship between a man and a woman — in this case, an exiled sword-master and his apprentice, a young woman on a quest for revenge. Thus begins their adventure, which takes them through training, danger, and eventually, a brush with their own legend. Don’t be fooled by the lack of a high concept — this is a fine stand-alone, sometimes humorous, more often exciting, and brought to life by its two leads. Well worth a look.

Further reading

Jo Walton’s write-up of The Paladin

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