I sum up Foreigner for jai_dit, whose previous experience with Cherryh is Cyteen:
Humans got lost in space (on the other side of Earth from Cyteen, presumably) and wound up on an alien planet, with really weird and scary alien politics. Some centuries later, they've settled into an uneasy truce, with one poor sap appointed as single ambassador. Cue assassins, alien politics, the formidable grandmother of their ruler, centuries-old plumbing, illegal weapons, and general mayhem. If Ari were less human and more sane, she might grow up into 'Sidi-ji (the grandmother of the ruler). Rooming with the assassin's guild is like rooming with Security-trained azi whose loyalties you aren't quite sure of.
I am missing Destroyer just now. Destroyer and Pretender.
There are books that fill in gaps in the dictionary of my head. These are among them. On the list of words that didn't exist in English is "man'chi". I'm what you might call a natural subordinate, although I have leadership qualities, and and am driven to take care of "my people", both up and down the power structure. But there are certain people who trigger a near-instant subordinate loyalty-response in me. It's not quite love, it's not quite submission; it's not quite a whole lot of things. The phrase that was holding its place previously was "lawful commander", but that implies rather too much formality in the process, too much military mindset. This isn't something that's assigned or ordered. It's something that is.
Probably more on the topic later, as more comes out of my head. But. There's a word for it.