Black Trillium (Trillium Series #1)

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Overview

Ruwenda is a pleasant, peaceful land-but the magic of its guardian, the Archimage Binah, is waning.  Binah must pass along her protectorship to the triplet princess of Ruwenda.  She bestows upon the infant girls the power of the rare and mystical Black Trillium-badge of the royal house, symbol of an ancient magic.  While the sisters blossom into beautiful young women, neighboring Labornok use a dark magician to sunder Binah's protection. As invaders pour into Ruwenda, the Archimage ...

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Overview

Ruwenda is a pleasant, peaceful land-but the magic of its guardian, the Archimage Binah, is waning.  Binah must pass along her protectorship to the triplet princess of Ruwenda.  She bestows upon the infant girls the power of the rare and mystical Black Trillium-badge of the royal house, symbol of an ancient magic.  While the sisters blossom into beautiful young women, neighboring Labornok use a dark magician to sunder Binah's protection. As invaders pour into Ruwenda, the Archimage orders the princesses to flee-and changes them to search for three magical talismans which when brought together will be their only chance to regain their kingdom and free its people.   Each must accomplish her task separately-and to succeed, each must also confront and conquer the limits of her own soul.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Three masters of science fiction and fantasy collaborated on this mildly diverting quest novel, their failure to produce a more compelling tale demonstrating the pitfalls of writing by committee. The kingdom of Ruwenda is attacked by neighboring Labornok, whose king has long been jealous of its wealth and prosperity. Ruwenda's rulers are brutally slain, but their daughters--the three Petals of the Living Trillium, prophesied to save their country in a time of peril--flee to the Archimage Binah, who directs them to their magic talismans. Each accompanied by a childhood companion, Oddlings of the area's aboriginal races, the girls must conquer their weaknesses: the eldest, her intellectual arrogance; the middle sister, her tendency to act before thinking; the youngest, her great timidity. Their enemies pursue them, led by a sorcerer seeking ancient secrets hidden in the abandoned cities. Throughout appear intimations that some of the magic is a relic of an old technology, possibly ours. The three princesses are little more than a collection of attributes, the love story is a bore and the many races of Oddlings are barely distinguishable. (Aug.)
Library Journal
The birth of triplets--three princesses--to the King and Queen of Ruwanda heralds a great and fearful destiny for the kingdom of the Mazy Mire. Bradley, Andre Norton, and Julian May--three stellar sf authors--combine their talents in a classic fantasy quest involving mysterious wizards, rites of passage, and the salvation of a kingdom. Although not entirely bereft of male protagonists, this novel projects a gentle brand of feminism along with a healthy dose of standard sword and sorcery. Purchase where the authors are popular. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/90.
School Library Journal
YA-- When three such distinguished ladies collaborate, we ignore them at our peril. Nevertheless, this is a slight work, only hinting at the depths of which these authors are capable. It is, however, a fairy tale that will be highly enjoyable to young women, with the princesses providing a surrogate for almost any temperment, and a busy plot.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553290790
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/3/1991
  • Series: Trillium Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.81 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley
Marion Zimmer Bradley
A prolific storyteller from the time she was old enough to talk, Marion Zimmer Bradley had an enormous impact on the science fiction and fantasy genres, imagining centuries of technological and culture clashes in the colonization of a distant planet in her Darkover series and recasting the Arthurian legends from the perspective of the women in his life in her 1983 masterpiece, The Mists of Avalon.

Biography

Marion Zimmer Bradley was writing before she could write. As a young girl, before she learned to take pen in hand, she was dictating stories to her mother. She started her own magazine -- devoted to science fiction and fantasy, of course -- as a teenager, and she wrote her first novel when she was in high school.

Given this history of productivity, it is perhaps no surprise that Bradley was working right up until her death in 1999. Though declining health interfered with her output, she was working on manuscripts and editing magazines, including another sci-fi/fantasy publication of her own making.

Her longest-running contribution to the genre was her Darkover series, which began in 1958 with the publication of The Planet Savers. The series, which is not chronological, covers several centuries and is set on a distant planet that has been colonized by humans, who have interbred with a native species on the planet. Critics lauded her efforts to address culture clashes -- including references to gays and lesbians -- in the series.

"It is not just an exercise in planet-building," wrote Susan Shwartz in the St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers. "A Darkover book is commonly understood to deal with issues of cultural clash, between Darkover and its parent Terran culture, between warring groups on Darkover, or in familial terms."

Diana Pharoah Francis, writing in Contemporary Popular Writers, noted the series' attention on its female characters, and the consequences of the painful choices they must make: "Struggles are not decided easily, but through pain and suffering. Her point seems to be that what is important costs, and the price is to be paid out of the soul rather than out of the pocketbook. Her characters are never black and white but are all shades of gray, making them more compelling and humanized."

Bradley's most notable single work would have to be The Mists of Avalon. Released in 1983, its 800-plus pages address the King Arthur story from the point of view of the women in his life -- including his wife, his mother and his half sister. Again, Bradley received attention and critics for her female focus, though many insist that she cannot be categorized strictly as a "feminist" writer, because her real focus is always character rather than politics.

"In drawing on all of the female experiences that make of the tapestry of the legend, Bradley is able to delve into the complexity of their intertwined lives against the tapestry of the undeclared war being waged between the Christians and the Druids," Francis wrote in her Contemporary Popular Writers essay. "Typical of Bradley is her focus on this battle, which is also a battle between masculine (Christian) and feminine (Druid) values."

And Maureen Quilligan, in her New York Times review in 1983, said: "What she has done here is reinvent the underlying mythology of the Arthurian legends. It is an impressive achievement. Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Celtic and Orphic stories are all swirled into a massive narrative that is rich in events placed in landscapes no less real for often being magical."

Avalon flummoxed Hollywood for nearly 20 years before finally making it to cable television as a TNT movie in 2001, starring Joan Allen, Anjelica Huston, and Julianna Margulies.

Two years before she died, Bradley's photograph was included in The Faces of Science Fiction, a collection of prominent science fiction writers, such names as Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. Under it, she gave her own take on the importance of the genre:

"Science fiction encourages us to explore... all the futures, good and bad, that the human mind can envision."

Good To Know

Aside from her science fiction and fantasy writing, Bradley also contributed to the gay and lesbian genre, publishing lesbian fiction under pseudonyms, bibliographies of gay and lesbian literature, and a gay mainstream novel.

Bradley rewrote some editions of her Darkover series to accommodate real advances in technology.

Her first stories were published in pulp science fiction magazines in the 1950s.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Lee Chapman, Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 30, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      Albany, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      September 25, 1999
    2. Place of Death:
      Berkeley, California

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2001

    Exciting!

    This was an exciting book! I was so caught up in the many travels and adventures the princesses and others went through. I felt every one got what they deserved in the end, good or bad. The end was slightly surprising, because I thought it would conclude with the wizard in a somewhat different position. But I won't destroy the mystery of the ending for anyone interested in reading the book. ;-) (P.S. I hope my French is correct up there in my personal information.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2009

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    Posted March 29, 2010

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