I never cared much for Cherryh's morgaine books. or the fortress of this n' that books. I like her sci/fi.. not so much her fantasy efforts. She has a really well conceived vision of the near future in space, specifically her concepts of "getting off the Earth" expansion being driven by business/mining exploitation first and then later, once people are living lifetimes without ever seeing Earth or even this solar system much less returning here - the way cultural entities will develop and interact as Earth becomes less important in the day to day, real for them, lives. Her sci/fi isn't a space opera "somebody turns into evil beings" thing where someone wants to go blow up the Earth at all - it's very believable.
Downbelow Station is one of the early novels in what is Cherryh's "Alliance/Union" series, also called "Company Wars", though there's not much fighting, it's more about maneuvering for influence. All the novels are standalone. Here's a synopsis from wikipedia:
"Space is explored not by short-sighted governments, but by the Earth Company, a private corporation which becomes enormously wealthy and powerful as a result. Nine star systems are found to lack planets suitable for colonization, so space stations are built in orbit instead, stepping-stones for further exploration. Then, Pell's World is found to be not only habitable, but already populated by the gentle, sentient (if technologically backward) Hisa. Pell Station is built. The planet is nicknamed "Downbelow" by the stationers, who also start to call their home "Downbelow Station".
When Earth's out-of-touch policies cause it to begin losing control of its more distant stations and worlds, it builds a fleet of fifty military carriers, the Earth Company Fleet, to enforce its will. This leads to the prolonged Company War with the breakaway Union, based at Cyteen, another hospitable world. Caught in between are the stationers and the merchanters who man the freighters that maintain interstellar trade."
And basically what develops is a 3 sided battle for influence (Earth Company, Union and Merchant Alliance) over a vast timescale (like Vinge's Fire Upon The Deep) through about a dozen books that are set in the same "universe" but not "a series".
Last edited by wayspooled; 12-17-2008 at 01:06 PM.