Exile's Song

Exile's Song

4.4 19
by Marion Zimmer Bradley
     
 

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She was Margaret Alton, the daughter of Lew Alton, the Darkovan representative to the Terran Imperial Senate, but she remembered almost nothing about the planet of her birth, or her early and tumultuous childhood. What fleeting memories disturbed her sleep were fragments of terror - a strange silver man and a screaming woman with hair that circled her head like a ring… See more details below

Overview

She was Margaret Alton, the daughter of Lew Alton, the Darkovan representative to the Terran Imperial Senate, but she remembered almost nothing about the planet of her birth, or her early and tumultuous childhood. What fleeting memories disturbed her sleep were fragments of terror - a strange silver man and a screaming woman with hair that circled her head like a ring of fire. Since leaving Darkover as a child, Margaret had lived her life on Thetis. Lew and her stepmother, Diotima, were gone much of the year, working in the Senate, struggling to keep Darkover safe from the all-consuming imperialism of the Terran Federation. She hardly knew her father, a brooding man who, when he returned to Thetis, was prone to long bouts of drinking. At these times, his normally morose and uncommunicative demeanor would take on an even darker hue ... times when he seemed to look at Margaret and see someone else - someone he did not want to remember. As soon as Margaret was of age, she fled her stormy home and took refuge on University. Here Margaret, strangely uncomfortable around her peers, found solace in the isolation of study. She excelled in music and was granted the position of assistant to her mentor, renowned musicologist Dr. Ivor Davidson. This prestigious job took her to many worlds, and when she and Professor Davidson were assigned to collect folk songs on Darkover, Margaret was curious and pleased. But once on Darkover, Margaret's innocent excitement quickly waned. The world of her birth evoked long-buried memories, painful and terrifying, and she soon found herself falling deeper and deeper into a waking dream that threatened to become a nightmare. Margaret began to hear voices in her head - one voice in particular which seemed to confront her at every turn - and she wondered if she were losing her mind.

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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

ISBN-13:
9780886777340
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
04/28/1997
Series:
Darkover Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.86(h) x 1.33(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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