The Children of Kings: A Darkover Novel

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Overview

Millennia ago, the planet Darkover, a cold world orbiting a giant red sun, was settled by a lost colony ship from the Terran Federation. Alone on a new world, survivors interbred with the native chieri, psychically Giften alien humanoids. The children of these matings were Gifted with telepathy and other psychic abilities, and their descendants, the aristocratic Comyn, forged a civilization in which the arts of the mind were cultivated and cherished.

When the Terrans ...

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Overview

Millennia ago, the planet Darkover, a cold world orbiting a giant red sun, was settled by a lost colony ship from the Terran Federation. Alone on a new world, survivors interbred with the native chieri, psychically Giften alien humanoids. The children of these matings were Gifted with telepathy and other psychic abilities, and their descendants, the aristocratic Comyn, forged a civilization in which the arts of the mind were cultivated and cherished.

When the Terrans rediscovered Darkover, the seven Domains of Comyn struggeld to maintain their unique culture and independence, often at a terrible price. More than once, assassins and environmental saboteurs from the Terran Empire attempted to bring Darkover to its knees and erode the native culture for the benefit of the Federation — seing Darkover as nothing more than a port of call for Terran military and trade. Eventually, a vicious interstellar war forced Federation forces to withdraw from Darkover, but Darkovans knew that it was only a matter of time before they would return.

Prince Garth Elhalyn has grown up in the shadow of his legendary grandfather, Regis Hastur, one of the greatest leaders Darkover has ever known. But he is also haunted by fear of the insanity that is prevalent in his Elhalyn family line. His world has become an unbearable counterpoint of meaningless aristocratic frivoloty and dangerous political schemes — plots in which powerful lords attmept to use him to further their own ambitions. He tries his best to better himself through the study of languages, swordplay, and training his psychic laran with his grandmother, Linnea Storn-Hastur, Keeper of Comyn Tower. But Gareth cannot stop dreaming about a future without fame or family.

In a desperate attempt to remove himself completely from the restricted life of the Comyn, Gareth confesses his desire to his powerful grandmother, and with her blessing, disguises himself as a simple trader and travels to Carthon, on the border of the barbarous, warklike Dry Towns. The Dry Towns do not live under the rule of the Comyn, and no one in this isolated part of Darkover will recognize a Comyn lord.

In Carthon, protected by his guise of anonymity, Gareth overhears rumors of deadly, illegal Terran blasters being used in the barren lands beyond Shainsa — one of the main Dry Towns. If the Federation has returned and is now arming the bellicose Dry Towners with banned technology, it will mean a disastrous conflict for the Comyn of the Domains, who have long sworn themselves to the Compact, an oath of honor that forbids the use of distance weaponry. Venturing deeper and deeper into the desert lands, Gareth stumbles upon a terrible reality no one could have suspected and he is ill-prepared to deal with.

But in fact, Gareth holds the key to protecting his world, if he can only stay alive in the deadly Dry Towns long enough to discover what it is....

The Children of Kings follows The Alton Gift and Traitor's Sun in the Darkover timeline.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Sun-Times
“For sheer skill in storytelling and world building, 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.”
Center City Weekly Press
“[The Alton Gift] is a must for fans of the series and reads as if Deborah has been channeling Marion’s spirit.”
Locus (for Exile's Song)
“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.”
Booklist (for Exile's Song)
“This new entry in Bradley's venerable series is an almost unalloyed pleasure from beginning to end and one of the few recent Darkover novels that someone unfamiliar with the series can pick up and get into immediately.”
Romantic Times (for The Shadow Matrix)
“Ms Bradley spins a mesmerizing tale with masterful craftsmanship. Filled with rousing adventure, intriguing possibilities and fascinating characters.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756408541
  • Publisher: DAW
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Series: Darkover Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 218,231
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley

Marion Zimmer Bradley is among the most famous, highly respected and best-selling fantasy authors in our genre. The Avalon books and the Darkover novels are considered by many to be her finest achievements. Deborah Ross is a professional writer and a protégé and long-time friend of Bradley.

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 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 22, 2013

    In Children of Kings, Deborah J. Ross weaves together a tale wit

    In Children of Kings, Deborah J. Ross weaves together a tale with threads that bring together memorable characters old and new. When Prince Gareth leaves the city of his birth to find adventure—and hopefully, himself—in the Dry Towns, little does he know that his journey and the choices he makes will affect not only himself but also the entire planet.

    The tale includes a young man’s search for self and adventure, a mother’s yearning for what was lost, the joy of pain and love and difficult moral choices along with other issues, all written with the love and familiarity of an author entrusted to MZB’s legacy.

    Filled with strong women, gender-bending, and moments of touching emotional clarity, Children of Kings is an entertaining, worthy addition to the Darkover canon that will appeal to everyone, from die-hard fans to those new to the world.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    This is being advertised as a new book by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

    This is being advertised as a new book by Marion Zimmer Bradley... who died in 1999. While I know this book is meant to be included in the series she wrote, it's a moral dead zone to use her name to sell novels. This same thing is done with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I consider it to be disrespectful of the publishers toward the readers. The dead author's name being paraded larger than the title of the book is pretty disgusting as well. Certainly give her the credit for the series on the cover, but for readers who might not know she passed away this is a cheap cheat. I'm not going to read it.

    2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2013

    Excellent

    Ross does an excellent job adding to the Darkover tale. I hope there's another book in the works to continue the story. This one was just too short. I want more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2013

    Classic MZB

    Deborah Ross continues the tale of Darkover and it's people with expert care. Journey through the dry towns with the Grandson of the Great Regis Hastur. Find out what happens when the Drytowners get ahold of Compact Banned weapons.

    Totally fun!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    Another GREAT Darkover Novel

    I miss Marion Zimmer Bradley, but Deborah J. Ross has written another great novel. If you like the series, this is a MUST read! Don't miss out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 4, 2014

    highly recommended

    all books in series are the best

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    Posted September 10, 2013

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    Posted August 5, 2013

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    Posted March 16, 2013

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    Posted March 18, 2013

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