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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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About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I brings so much insights into human psyche .. books I can't put down, I love to read Marion Zimmer Bradley!
I wonder if there is a follow up for this one...??
Intelligent books of female powers with action. Great writing.Published 2 months ago by Gary W. Feather
5-stars for the story, 3-stars (being generous!) for the "Kindle-ization." Not as bad a some scanned-in Kindle books, but enough words wrong/missing/etc. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Patti Askins
Classic fantasy novel traces Janelle, a Renunciate, from childhood to the end of her lifePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was not my first time reading these beautiful, touching stories of the Renunciates. I enjoyed - even through the tears - every moment while reading them.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book has very well developed characters, a good plot line and a unique perspective on women surviving in a very male dominated society. Read morePublished 5 months ago by anchoredlady
A fun and enjoyable read with women as the heroes. A nice look into a different culture and the way women handle their restrictions,much to the men's consternation.Published 5 months ago by GR