Marion Zimmer Bradley
The World of Darkover
Newest Release: The Alton Gift: Book One in the Children of Kings Trilogy by Deborah J. Ross, released June 5, 2007.
In the distant Darkovan past, a Terran colony ship crash lands, bearing a unique mix of occupants: scientists and "hippies" desiring to create a non-technological utopia, along with an ethnic mix that is predominantly Scots and Spanish.
But there are already sentient races on Darkover and, one, the ancient and rare chieri, is unusually gifted with psi powers and, amazingly, able to crossbreed (on rare occasions) with humans. Also, a pretty little wildflower blooms on Darkover, and when the wind is just right, it's pollen has a remarkably liberating effect on the human mind and emotions.
Centuries later, Darkover is a feudal kingdom, ruled by seven powerful (in far more than the usual sense) families, with a unique blend of Scottish and Spanish manners and language. The Mask of Zorro combined with Rob Roy. Many of the nobles sport red hair (Scottish mark of the second sight) and some are six-fingered.
But the true mark of nobility on Darkover lies in their selective breeding for particular psi powers. Shall we call a storm? Shall we burn, shall we destoy? During the ages of chaos, the mighty families do just that in their quest for unbridled power and dominion. Each family becomes adept at particular abilities, passed down through generations.
Eventually, sanity returns, but the powers, if more subtly used, are just as great and better controlled, as the Darkovans have learned to teach their children and manage their world through the Leroni of the Towers - great keeps, shielded and warded, where power is trained and used for global communication and maintenance of the balance of power, and where the highly skilled Keepers and technicians roam the Overworld.
Thousands of years go by and, one day, the Terrans return. Viewing Darkover as a backward world, they seek to impose technology on a culture, that through its own particular skills, does not need it. But the Darkovans guard their secrets and the few Terrans who manage to explore Darkover and become friendly with its inhabitants are in for surprise. Especially when the influences of this unique planet spark their own, unknown, abilities.
This is just the tip of the iceberg - Darkover is a complex fantasy world, just waiting for you to explore its secrets. Though Bradley passed away a few years ago, her books continue to delight fans, and other fantasy writers have continued to contribute new stories to the Darkover legacy.
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The Darkover novels are listed in the order written, followed by date of publication and, in parenthesis, a number that indicates where they fall in Darkover's chronological history (for those who want to read them in that order). There is no need to read them in any sort of order at all.
The Planet Savers/the Sword of Aldones 1962 (19)
The Bloody Sun 1964, rewritten 1979 (17)
Star of Danger 1965 (15)
Winds of Darkover 1970 (16)
The World Wreckers 1971 (21)
Darkover Landfall 1972 (1)
The Spell Sword 1974 (13)
The Heritage of Hastur 1975 (18)
The Shattered Chain 1976 (9 and 12)
The Forbidden Tower, 1977 (14)
Stormqueen 1978 (2)
Two to Conquer 1980 (4)
Sharra's Exile 1981 (20)
Hawkmistress 1982 (3)
Thendara House 1983 (10)
City of Sorcery 1984 (11)
The Heirs of Hammerfell 1989 (8)
Rediscovery 1993 (cowritten with Mercedes Lackey) (12)
Exile's Song 1996 (cowritten with Adrienne Martine-Barnes) (22)
The Shadow Matrix 1998 (cowritten with Adrienne Martine-Barnes) (23)
Traitor's Sun 1999 (written by Adrienne Martine-Barnes) (24)
The Fall of Neskaya: Book One of the Clingfire Trilogy 2001 (cowritten by Deborah J. Ross) (5)
Zandru's Forge: Book Two of the Clingfire Trilogy 2003 (Deborah J. Ross) (6)
A Flame in Hali: Book Three of the Clingfire Trilogy 2004 (Deborah J. Ross) (7)
The Alton Gift: Book One in the Children of Kings Trilogy 2007(Deborah J. Ross)(25)
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Short Story Anthologies
These short story collections feature works by Bradley as well as a wide variety of other writers.
The Keeper's Price 1980
Sword of Chaos 1982
Free Amazons of Darkover 1985
The Other Side of the Mirror 1987
Red Sun of Darkover 1987
Four Moons of Darkover 1988
Domains of Darkover 1990
Renunciates of Darkover 1991
Leroni of Darkover 1991
Towers of Darkover 1993
Snows of Darkover 1994