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The Bloody Sun (Darkover) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
Book 1 of 11 in the Darkover Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marion Zimmer was born in Albany, NY, on June 3, 1930, and married Robert Alden Bradley in 1949. Mrs. Bradley received her B.A. in 1964 from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, then did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1965-67.

She was a science fiction/fantasy fan from her middle teens, and made her first sale as an adjunct to an amateur fiction contest in Fantastic/Amazing Stories in 1949. She had written as long as she could remember, but wrote only for school magazines and fanzines until 1952, when she sold her first professional short story to Vortex Science Fiction. She wrote everything from science fiction to Gothics, but is probably best known for her Darkover novels.

In addition to her novels, Mrs. Bradley edited many magazines, amateur and professional, including Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, which she started in 1988. She also edited an annual anthology called Sword and Sorceress for DAW Books.

Over the years she turned more to fantasy; The House Between the Worlds, although a selection of the Science Fiction Book Club, was "fantasy undiluted". She wrote a novel of the women in the Arthurian legends -- Morgan Le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, and others -- entitled Mists of Avalon, which made the NY Times best seller list both in hardcover and trade paperback, and she also wrote The Firebrand, a novel about the women of the Trojan War. Her historical fantasy novels, The Forest House, Lady of Avalon, Mists of Avalon are prequels to Priestess of Avalon

She died in Berkeley, California on September 25, 1999, four days after suffering a major heart attack. She was survived by her brother, Leslie Zimmer; her sons, David Bradley and Patrick Breen; her daughter, Moira Stern; and her grandchildren.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (February 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0886776031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0886776039
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,572,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marion Eleanor Zimmer was born in Albany, NY, on June 3, 1930, and married Robert Alden Bradley in 1949. Mrs. Bradley received her B.A. in 1964 from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, then did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1965-67.

She was a science fiction/fantasy fan from her middle teens. She had written as long as she could remember, but wrote only for school magazines and fanzines until 1952, when she sold her first professional short story to VORTEX SCIENCE FICTION. She wrote everything from science fiction to Gothics, but is probably best known for her Darkover novels and for her Arthurian novel, THE MISTS OF AVALON.

In addition to her novels, Mrs. Bradley edited magazines, amateur and professional, including Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine, which she started in 1988. She also edited an annual anthology called SWORD AND SORCERESS, which is still published annually under the title MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY'S SWORD AND SORCERESS.

She died in Berkeley, California on September 25, 1999, four days after suffering a major heart attack.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not only is The Bloody Sun a fantastic read on its own merits, it is also a pivotal book in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series, marking the transition of the planet Darkover from its zealous self-isolation from the Terran presence toward the growing spirit of cooperation that marks the Second Age. For generations, Darkover has consisted of seven domains loosely ruled by the Comyn, the aristocratic families of those domains. By this time, however, the influence of the Terran presence in the land has led some Darkovans to express a desire to abandon the old ways and form a close and mutually beneficial relationship with the Terrans. The true power of the Comyn has long been found inside the mysterious Towers of the land, but now only the mighty Tower in Arillin can boast of a full-fledged Keeper, and even this primary Tower's circle is incomplete at the time this novel opens. Some of the people believe that the old ways are out-dated and needlessly burdensome, but few in authority have the desire, let alone the courage, to pursue progress of any sort. Thirty years earlier, Cleindori, former Keeper at Arillin, had courageously sought to change the laws (as was her right as Keeper) and free herself and her successors from a life lived under the most severe, isolated of conditions; her ultimate reward had been death and denial as a declared traitor and renegade.
Raised in the Spacemen's Orphanage on Darkover until he was twelve, Jeff Kerwin spent his next several years on Earth with his Terran father's parents; an outcaste on a world not truly his own, he pined for the time he could return to Darkover and learn the truth of his heritage. All he has is the name his Terran father gave him and a matrix jewel of unknown origin.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Bloody Sun" is the first of the Darkover novels set in "The Second Age" of the Terran/Darkovan contact. The Terran Empire has rediscovered its lost colony and has set up a spaceport on Darkover. But contact between Terra and Darkover is still tenuous at best. The "Comyn" rulers of Darkover are keeping Darkover out of the Empire and are keeping the Terrans restricted to "Terran Zones". In the decades since making contact, nothing has changed. With individuals, there has been communication and interaction between natives of Darkover and Terrans, but this has always been on a person by person basis and not any sort of policy. Some on Darkover, however, are pressing their lords to allow more interaction from the Terrans and to join the Empire so Darkover can move out of the "Dark Ages".

Jeff Kerwin was raised on Darkover in the Spaceport Orphanage. All that he knew was that his father was Jeff Kerwin, Sr, a Terran citizen. Working in the Terran service he finally gets an opportunity to transfer to a world of his choosing and Jeff chooses Darkover. He had been dreaming of Darkover his entire like and he felt as if something was missing from his life. On Darkover, Jeff tries to learn of his heritage and finds that, officially, he has none. The Orphanage which he so deeply remembers has no record of him ever being there. His bright red hair marks him as a member of the Comyn (telepathic ruling class of Darkover), though he believes himself to be Terran, and this sets him apart from any Darkovan citizen he meets. Because of his actions outside of the Terran Zone, the Terran authorities intend on deporting Jeff offworld. Instead Jeff follows a voice inside his head and joins up with the Tower of Arilinn. A Tower is where the major telepathic work on Darkover is done.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am making my way through the Darkover novels in the order in which they were written. The Bloody Sun is an accidental exception. This is the third Darkover novel, but I found out partway through that I'm reading a 1979 rewrite of it, and not the original 1964 version.

That fact lends some credence to my speculation that MZB improved as a writer over time. I thought the first two Darkover books were readable but clunky efforts, and I wasn't quite sure that I saw the appeal. The Bloody Sun, at least in this rewritten incarnation, was much better!

I enjoyed this tale of a man drawn to his ancestral home, whether they want him or not. He, and the other main players in this book, are well-defined characters, and unlike the earlier books, I wasn't left confused by a plethora of characters and cultures and a dearth of context.

That said, MZB is still a frustratingly inconsistent writer. Even in a good book like this one, certain scenes come crashing down with a resounding thud. A glaring example, unfortunately, is the very last few paragraphs of the book, which read like the dénouement of a Scooby Doo script. Ouch!

I can complain -- hey, I can always complain -- but I did enjoy this book and recommend it to anyone looking for a good entry point to Darkover. I look forward to reading the next Darkover novel on my list. Seeing as I just read a 1979 rewrite, I'll be moving "backwards" in MZB's bibliography to a book written 14 years earlier. I hope it will be a good read!
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