Exile's Song

Exile's Song

4.4 19
by Marion Zimmer Bradley

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Musicologist Margaret Alton and her mentor Ivor Davidson travel to Darkover, the planet of her birth, to collect folk songs. When Ivor dies suddenly, Margaret finds family she has never known and suffers a painful illness that awakens latent mental powers. During this journey of self-discovery, she fights for her autonomy but is drawn to remain on Darkover as a member of a powerful family. This intricate, lyrically written novel is essential for sf collections.
Roland Green
Some 20 years after she left Darkover with her father, Margaret Alton returns as a Terran Empire scholar, knowing incredibly little of her birth world. She therefore has to endure, besides the death of her academic mentor, a variety of mostly preposterous marriage proposals, a severe case of threshold sickness as her "laran" (telepathy) becomes active, and being hailed as a "comynara" (a member of the hereditary ruling class). Eventually, however, she is reunited with her father and terminally ill stepmother and is ready to take her place in Darkovan society. 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. Its only significant problems arise from too many idiotic plot devices in the scenario of Terran-Darkovan relations.
Kirkus Reviews
Bradley's Darkover yarns have been appearing in various formats since 1962 (Rediscovery, 1993, etc.). Her eponymous planet has a repressive social system ruled by an aristocratic elite possessed of psychic abilities. Now, in an era when the Terran Empire has recontacted the once-lost Darkover and both sides have settled into an uneasy accommodation, musicologist Margaret Alton returns to Darkover after an absence of 20 years. Recovering from a triple shock—the death of her beloved old mentor; the discovery that she can sometimes hear others' thoughts; and the realization that she's the heiress to a powerful Domain—Margaret hires guide and protector Rafaella and heads into the country in search of local music. But soon she falls desperately ill with threshold sickness, a malady that normally strikes adolescents—after which they either die or gain their full psychic Gift. The situation is complicated by an evil mental presence implanted in Margaret when a young girl, and her bewilderment over the fact that her father, Lew, the Senator for Darkover, told her nothing of her past. Finally, a leronis (one skilled in the use of mental powers) is summoned, and Margaret overcomes the evil presence within her. She's still beset, however, by difficulties involving her family and her psychic Gift.

Bradley poses her heroine a fine set of problems and supplies satisfying answers: an engaging if rather slow and not particularly original addition to the series.

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Darkover Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.86(h) x 1.33(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Marion Zimmer was born in Albany, NY, on June 3, 1930, and married Robert Alden Bradley in 1949. Mrs. Bradley received her B.A. in 1964 from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, then did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1965-67.

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.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
June 30, 1930
Date of Death:
September 25, 1999
Place of Birth:
Albany, New York
Place of Death:
Berkeley, California
B.A., Hardin-Simmons College, 1964; additional study at University of California, Berkeley, 1965-1967

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