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The Children of Kings (Darkover) Mass Market Paperback – March 4, 2014
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Praise for Darkover:
"Richly textured, well thought out, involving." ―Publishers Weekly
"Fans of Bradley will certainly want to read this flashback into Darkover history.... It is quite suspenseful, powerfully written, and deeply moving." —Library Journal
"This is the best Darkover novel in a long time.... It's a tale of culture clash, in classic Darkover style, a delightful return to a fascinating world, and a great read." —Locus
“For sheer skill in storytelling and worldbuilding, for wit, for strikingly intelligent development of the concept of telepathy, above all, for continuous concern for people, Bradley has put some more famous sagas in the shade." —Chicago Sun-Times
"[The Alton Gift] is a must for fans of the series, and reads as if Deborah has been channeling Marion's spirit.” —Center City Weekly Press
About the Author
Marion Zimmer Bradley is among the most famous, highly respected, and bestselling fantasy authors in our genre. The Avalon books and the Darkover novels are considered by many to be her finest achievements. Deborah J. Ross is the author of the Seven-Petaled Shield series, and a protégé and long-time friend of Bradley.
Top customer reviews
Darkover, as created by Marion Zimmer Bradley, was colonized by humans who, after generations of living on this strange alien world, and a few incidents of mating with the indigenous alien chieri, now possess psychic talents and abilities. While their own society has become somewhat medieval in feel--with feudal loyalties given to the now noble Comyn families and using swords and daggers- the Darkovan humans have been drawn back into galactic contact with the rest of the human Federation. The Federation, with its starships, technology of metal and blasters, sees Darkover as a precious possession and wants to own it.
Deborah J Ross has united all the magnificent elements that have made Darkover so wondrous. Characters like Gareth, the protagonist of this novel who could be King himself, or like his aunt Silvana/Stelli, the firstborn child of Regis Hastur and his Linnea fostered by chieri, rise from feeling unworthy, unwanted, out of place, to realizing they have and can make choices that affect and shape their entire world. Characters like Merach, a man of high honor and dignity-- to some is little more than a dusty desert savage--yet he sees his way to helping his lord form new alliances that will change Darkover for generations.
Some must choose how, or if, to choose weapons--whether these are blasters that could level an entire city, or are psychic abilities that could bring down a starship. Some must choose to see past the strange other, whether that is a Dry-Town savage lord or a scion of an often mentally incompetent noble line.
Gareth begins this story as the un-confident prince who is certain everyone thinks he will never amount to anything, or, want to use him as a weakling puppet. So he leaves his home secretly, half-hoping only for adventure, but eventually finds that he holds the key to saving not only his home city, but can bring about an alliance never before attempted, a bond between two cultures. Along the way, Gareth also finds that love can also be his, not just mere simpering romantic love, but a love of strength, acceptance, and fervent devotion.
Darkover stories have always at their heart been about transcendant acceptance-not only one's own acceptance of who and what one is, and not only the acceptance, of one, by others. Darkover's tale of acceptance is the story of how, in the very act of accepting oneself and of the other--which too often is perceived as an act of weakness or simple naivete--instead, brings about a unity of soul and spirit that carries with it immense power and purpose.
The Children of Kings definitely does not disappoint, in this regard. It opens another brilliant chapter into a world of future possiblities, where not only do humans travel between the stars, not only find destiny and heart's home in the strangest of places, but also, find that they can do anything wondrous, build anything marvelous, if they find the way to do it together.
Well done, Children of Kings. Be warned, once you begin this book you will want to continue through to the end.
The main reasons I gave this book 4 instead of 5 stars are the slow pace of the book initially and the sudden appearance of Gareth's aunt partway into the book and her pat, very brief, saving of Thendara. Her attitude of "I was abandoned by my parents and now I hate them" is too stereotypical; her character should have been developed more, especially her relationship with the Chieri.
I really liked Ross tying in previous events and characters from other books; however, one or 2 sentences for some (such as David) would have given me more of a reference as to where the characters came in. I don't want to read through all short stories or novels to find out where (if any) David comes into the Darkover plots. His character seems interesting, but not worth plowing my way through all Darkover books (some of which, namely short stories, written by authors other than MZB and Ross are not necessarily positive additions to the Darkover series).
Actually I have read some Darkover stories by other authors (too many to list) and found either the style of writing or the lack of research into MZB's plots show me that many of these other authors are not very good. This is my own opinion and others may actually like them as authors. I actually have then gone to some authors' own books that are not Darkover, to see if their writing styles are inherent for all of their books or just bad concerning Darkover. More often than not, I find the authors not particularly good whether writing about Darkover or not.
Anyway, I do like Ross, her Clingfire trilogy was better than most of the books by other MZB "coauthors" (I did think that the trilogy had nothing new in them, comparable to other Darkover plots, focused on the towers, rivalry, breeding, etc). The Children of Kings does offer something different to the Darkover series and I hope Ross can continue to branch out into other directions with additional Darkover books.
I would love Ross or other authors to more go into the Chieris' history, such as space travel. I would also like a few books on the period of time between Darkover Landfall and the books of the Age of Chaos. Too much time (1000 years?) between these events, leaves a blank area that could be very interesting. Specifically, development of laran, the Chieri influence, pitfalls about the initial pioneering efforts, etc.