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Exile's Song (Darkover) Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1997

3.8 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
Book 7 of 11 in the Darkover Series

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Pandemic by Sonia Shah
"Beacon 23"
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The eagerly-awaited sequel to The Heritage of Hastur and Sharra's Exile. Margaret Alton, daughter of the Darkovan representative to the Terran Imperial Senate, remembers almost nothing about the planet of her birth or her tumultuous childhood. What fleeting memories she has are fragments of terror -- a strange silver man and a screaming woman with hair that circled her head like a ring of fire. Now her work has taken Margaret back to Darkover, where she must fight against inner voices that are trying to control her as she unravels the secrets of her heritage -- and her destiny. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Musicologist Margaret Alton and her mentor Ivor Davidson travel to Darkover, the planet of her birth, to collect folk songs. When Ivor dies suddenly, Margaret finds family she has never known and suffers a painful illness that awakens latent mental powers. During this journey of self-discovery, she fights for her autonomy but is drawn to remain on Darkover as a member of a powerful family. This intricate, lyrically written novel is essential for sf collections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Darkover
  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0886777348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0886777340
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,172 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
When I was 18 I adored the Darkover series, so I opened this novel hoping to recapture some of that spirit. But I can't ever be 18 again, and I can't ignore all the problems that made this book deeply unsatisfying. The basic plot, for one, was already done (twice!) much better in The Bloody Sun. The characters are all fairly flat, with a couple of identifying quirks substituting for characterization, and none of them have much motivation to speak of -- instead of complexity, we have simplistic stimulus-and-response behavior that just doesn't ring true.
Even in the case of Margaret, our Heroine, there's not much depth, and very little emotion: we're told that she's feeling this way and that, and she thinks about her feelings constantly, but we're never allowed to participate in those feelings.
The transformation of the bitter hard-drinking Lew of her memories (which I found quite a plausible and interesting development of the character) back into Good Old Darkover Lew, everybody's pal and passionate good-guy, as soon as he reappeared was sudden, unmotivated, and made me wonder, if all he needed to make himself a happy, well-balanced man again was to come back to Darkover, and nobody minded his coming back, why didn't he do it years ago and spare everybody more trouble?
Plus, the confrontation with the Big Secret Villain, which should have been the climax of the novel, occurs about halfway through, leaving the rest of it anticlimactic, aimless, and rather pointless. (Lots more whining and histrionics all around, though and some seriously bizarre family dynamics.)
I will only mention in passing the clumsy prose, and the extreme padding that turn a sparsely-plotted book into a heavyweight for no particular reason.
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By A Customer on April 30, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The book wasn't that bad...although a little overdone. The thing that upset me the most was that the whole Regis & Danilo relationship that was so carefully built before was shattered. Regis got married, and Danilo just gets to stand in the background, smiling? That bothered me so much, the rest of the book seemed dry. Although I would still reccomend it to others, especially those that haven't read Darkover before.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wanted to like this book. I really did. I had read most of the older Darkover books while much younger, and this seemed like a promising start to re-exploring the series.

This is part 1 of a "trilogy" of sorts featuring Margaret Alton.

Exiles' Song
The Shadow Matrix
Traitor's Sun

In brief, Margaret Alton was born on Darkover, child of the senator from Darkover, but does not recall much. She grew up estranged from her father who she recalls as distant, drunk, and emotionally abusive. She is sent to Darkover to study music, and hilarity ensues. Or not.

The first part of the book is promising, and is a "stranger in a strange land", "fish out of water" story. Then it segues into a road trip story, mutates into an odd romance of sorts. It starts coming off the rails when she encounters her uncle, a cardboard cutout of a character who rants at her in the best patriarchal style. There is a lot of (yawn) tension as he announces she is to marry his oldest son who I believe was a scarecrow with a tape recorder playing "The Best of Male Chauvinist" stuck in its head.

Now let's see. Our protagonist is an adult woman being pressured into marriage...and is a powerful telepath able to control other people's minds.
She responds by:

a) taking action and declaring her independence
b) using her vast powers to show everyone who is boss
c) blithering about like a moron and waiting until Daddy-ex-machina shows up miraculously reformed from his abusive ways and fixes everything.

Guess which one...

Oh yeah, and the "Alton Gift" which is the power to control other people's minds is used in this story to...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first discovered Darkover more than ten years ago and happily plunged in. After several books, I had to come up for air as internal inconsistencies mounted within the series. Characters' relative ages and degrees of kinship changed, as did distances and directions across the terrain.
Every few years, I try again. IMHO, this book encapsulated MZB's strengths and weaknesses in a single volume. Marguerida Alton is a vivid and likeable character, but the plot (or half-plot; I suspect the original manuscript was split into this book and _Shadow Matrix_, which I've not yet read) was essentially _The Bloody Sun_ starring her instead of Jeff Kerwin. Still, she's trotted out the same concept several times (_The Spell Sword_ et al.) while still managing to keep things reasonably fresh.
Another reviewer wondered about Jeff's reappearance as Damon Ridenow. MZB herself apparently forgot about her rewrite of _The Bloody Sun_, in which he first appears. In the original version, Jeff's dad was Arnad Ridenow, as the infodump in this version sets forth. However, the rewrite switched paternity to Lew Alton's uncle Lewis-Arnad Lanart-Alton, who was at that time the Heir to Alton. Jeff himself is (IIRC) some twenty years older than Lew's *father* in TBS, and yet Jeff and Lew show up here as nearly the same age.
This sort of thing drives me mad, especially when the inconsistent genealogies and chronologies weren't even needed to move along the plot of this book. If anything, the persistent infodumps slowed things down.
Without the inconsistencies and incompletion, I might've given this book an 8 or 9. As matters stand, a 6 is the best I can do.
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