Short works

Books : reviews

Darkover (series)

Tales of life under the 'bloody sun' of Darkover, a lost human colony, reverted to feudalism, where some humans have interbred with the natives to produce the Comyn, a psi-caste of rulers. The series ranges right from the original Landfall, through the Ages of Chaos where the new psi powers lead to devastating wars, through to the crisis of recontact with mainstream, relatively alien, Terrans.

The early books in the series are okay romps (and are probably half a point lower than the overall series rating), but in 1975 with Heritage of Hastur something changed, and they improved, and deepened, dramatically (and most of these are probably half a point higher than the overall series rating). The focus of plots varies widely throughout the series, but they are known for dealing sensitively with the intense intimacy between husband and wife brought by psi-contact, with homosexual relations, both male and female, with the place of women in a feudal society, with the use and abuse of power, with culture shock.

Marion Zimmer Bradley, Deborah J. Ross.
The Fall of Neskaya.
DAW. 2001

Marion Zimmer Bradley, Deborah J. Ross.
Zandru's Forge.
DAW. 2003

Marion Zimmer Bradley, Deborah J. Ross.
A Flame in Hali.
Daw. 2004

Marion Zimmer Bradley, Deborah J. Ross.
The Alton Gift.
Daw. 2007

Marion Zimmer Bradley, Deborah J. Ross.
Hastur Lord.
Daw. 2010

Marion Zimmer Bradley, Deborah J. Ross.
The Children of Kings.
Daw. 2013

Court life for Prince Gareth Ethalyn, grandson of the legendary Regis Hastur, has become unbearable. In a desperate attempt to escape, Gareth appeals to his powerful grandmother, Linnea, and with her blessing, disguises himself and travels to the barbarous, warlike Dry Towns where no one will recognize a prince. In the Dry Towns, Gareth overhears rumors of deadly, illegal Terran blasters and stumbles upon a terrible reality no one could have suspected.

Meanwhile, Linnea has never ceased to search for her lost daughter, Kierestelli, whom she and Regis were forced to send into hiding with the native chieri. Almost by chance, Linnea reconnects along the telepathic relays with Kierestelli, now called Silvana of Nevarsin Tower. Silvana, convinced that her parents abandoned her, rejects her mother’s overture and returns to her hidden home among the chieri. But the chieri once roamed the stars themselves, and they have not forgotten the terror of warfare in space—lessons that they pass on to Silvana.

Unknown to the ruling Comyn, danger now fills the skies above Darkover, and Silvana holds half the key to protecting their world. Gareth holds the other half, if he can only stay alive long enough to discover what that key is…