Deceiver (2010) was to make a clear sign for me: is this Cherryh's true attempt to re-write the third trilogy with a real story, or another slip into the mediocrity of said trilogy?
In Deceiver, the events set in motion in Conspirator escalate. Bren's southern estate is anything but a stable, safe place, and the happenings of Deceiver only bang that message home moreso. Action happening relatively fast (at least for a Foreigner novel), Cherryh switches around between the action of attacks on Najida to tense interrogations of Geiji's nephew, making for engaging reading, while Toby and Barb do their best to derail a tight narrative. (Just kill them and be over it; fans love a tragic death or two.) The best new addition to the series might just be... wait for it... Bren's new bus. All I could picture was an African tyrant in an American schoolbus jaunting through the jungle with his crew of bodyguards sipping pineapple juice. Ride on, atevi.
Deceiver is not a stunner of a novel; but, it does confirm Conspirator was a step in a positive direction, the series once again gaining momentum. Which leads to the next, natural question: will Betrayer fulfill all the promises seemingly inherent to Deceiver's conclusion to return the series to the rich exploration of Otherness that it was throughout the first two trilogies?