This is the first book in the very long Foreigner series. This book introduces the reader to the world of the atevi and the humans who have settled on the atevi world. The atevi look like us in many ways, but it is a mistake to believe that they think like us. Most of the book is told through the eyes of the translator, Bren. His job is to keep peace between the humans and the atevi.
The intrigue and the alien civilization presented here are simply wonderful. The atevi do not have friends. They do not love. Their emotions are based on associations and man'chi. Assassination is a legal recourse for the atevi, and Bren finds himself attacked early on in the novel, setting the story in motion.
If you enjoy stories about alien civilizations and how humans react and deal with aliens, you'll love the book. It's full of great characters and the atevi, despite not understanding the concept of "liking" someone, are completely likable and lovable in their own, strange way.
Cherryh is great at drawing you into a completely alien world and making it feel very real. Absolutely wonderful.
I've read the next two in the series, too, and they do not disappoint.