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The Saga of the Renunciates (The Shattered Chain, Thendara House, City of Sorcery) (Darkover) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2002


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The Saga of the Renunciates (The Shattered Chain, Thendara House, City of Sorcery) (Darkover) + The Forbidden Circle: The Spell Sword / The Forbidden Tower + Darkover: First Contact (Darkover Omnibus: Darkover Landfall & Two to Conquer)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 1120 pages
  • Publisher: DAW; 1ST edition (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756400929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756400927
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


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

The two main characters of the books are propelled on a quest that seems utterly pointless and ridiculous from the setup until the very end.
C. Howard
Her conflict is due to the Darkovan rigid societal expectations of feminine behavior which is to serve their husbands without any real voice in decision making at all.
K. N. Nelson
I am an avid MZB fan and have read most of her novels, but the Darkover series is the closest to my heart and The Saga of the Renunciates stands above all.
Rato de Biblioteca

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Cobcroft on September 2, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The saga of the renunciates is an omnibus of MZB's three "Darkover" novels that deal with the Renunciate's Guild - a group within Darkovan society that allows women to free themselves from the oppressive rules of their world. At this point of Darkovan history, the planet (a lost colony of Earth) has been rediscovered by the Terran Empire. It works well as a single volume, as it's the three-part story of a "Terran" woman (Margali) who becomes involved in the guild by accident, and her personal growth as a result.
Personally, I find the third story rather tedious - it is a quest story in which a group of women go searching for a mythical or secret Women's City, involving a lot of walking through frozen mountains and (I thought) a fairly anticlimactic ending.
Some of the Terran gender relations in the book seem somewhat dated, reading like a reflection of the late 70s-early 80s period when the stories were written, although the alien Darkovan version seems much less so.
In general, a rewarding book, which should appeal to anyone who enjoys speculative fiction with strong feminist characters.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "naturegirl22" on June 7, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I disagree with the last review. I have been collecting all the Darkover novels, which has been difficult considering how most of them are out of print since the 70s. The Age of Chaos omnibus and the Saga of the Renunciates are some of my favorite Darkover books. I like the fact the MZB is not afraid to portray her female characters as strong, intelligent women. The stories in this omnibus are not "women against men" at all. There are strong male characters in all three books, and wonderful relationships between both male and female characters. The world of Darkover is one of women taking a submissive and passive role of keeping hearth and home and bearing children. The Renunciates are a totally different aspect of that world, one that is often disapproved of and shunned by the other part. While other novels have touched on the Renunciates in passing, none have given any of those women a chance to tell their stories of how and why they came to the Guild. These books are the stories of women, their lives, their relationships with men, and their friendships with one another. I would not call these books feminist at all. Unless you call well developed, realistic female characters in a story a feminist movement. I call it good writing.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By dandysmom on December 31, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read these 3 novels in the late 70's-early 80's and loved them...recently found the 3 novel compendium and enjoyed it more the second time around. What a wonderfully imagined world!! How I wish we had something like the Guild here on Earth! As an old feminist in my 70's, I cannot recommend them more highly...READ!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Karrigan Ambrian on August 6, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book - I loved Mists of Avalon, but wasn't fond of the other Avalon books. I wanted to like Darkover, but the two other Darkover novels I read (Stormqueen and Hawkmistress) didn't appeal to me much.

And then I began The Shattered Chain.

It started off exactly as I'd feared it would - a band of Amazons (just...read the other reviews for technical details) walk into a town and are laughed and jeered at by the men and treated with greater hostility by the women. I thought at this point that the book would be full of "Woman Power" and show how strong these Independent Women had to be to exist on a world like Darkover.

But the novel quickly became something more than that. I felt that it greatly picked up when we were introduced to Magda, the Terran - because for the Terrans, men and women are pretty much equal. And this viewpoint GREATLY helped balance out the supressing Darkover views, and made them not just bearable, but interesting. The resulting main plotline between the Terrans and Darkover people, with the Amazons building the bridge between the two worlds...it was pretty awesome. And of course there's all the subplots, and the huge personal developments taking place within the two main characters: the Terran woman and the Amazon one.

This book has some good action scenes, but the major focus is definitely on the characters themselves, and their relationships to one another and the world. Normally I would stay away from something like that, but the Terran/Darkover worlds created here are so interesting that it's pretty much impossible to not be caught up in it.

It had great, memorable characters, a great plot, and scenes you'll remember for a long, long time. I'd say it's definitely worth a read for anybody who likes fantasy/sci-fi...and books in general.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. N. Nelson VINE VOICE on March 20, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a Psychologist I found this trilogy about women claiming their own power and moving away from societal mores and predictive expectations an excellent study in self empowerment. The story is written in the context of a futuristic science fiction world and addresses the many issues that contemporary society presents as we know them today. Although I am not a gay female, I am sensitive to the issues that present to women who are, and the countless challenges they face on every level of their being. Intellectual, emotional, societal, spiritual and beyond, and not the least is the physical strength that they must also develop and hone to defend themselves when bullied by men or while dealing with work that demands strength akin to the male whose strength is clearly superior due to body mass and musculature.

These stories progress from the starting point of Jaelle who is a child being rescued by Renunciates from the horror of being forced to live in chains, literally, a cultural expectation on that part of Darkover, as she approaches womanhood in Dry Town. This desert area represents a male dominated society lead by her father a cruel, punishing tyrant, and her mother, a highly educated and talented psychic, which is called "laran" in these stories. Jaelle's mother was captured and abducted by a bandit and forced to live in absolute captivity with this sadistic, depraved, misogynistic, bestial man. Jaelle's mother dies in childbirth during the escape orchestrated by her cousin who had hired the Renunciates, and she is left as a 12 year old orphan full of fear, distrust and grave conflicts.

Thendara House is part two which introduces Magda Lorne, a Terran whose parents were off-worlders who settled on the planet Cottman 4 called Darkover by it's inhabitants.
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