Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Fall of Neskaya (Clingfire Trilogy #1)

The Fall of Neskaya (Clingfire Trilogy #1)

4.6 8
by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Deborah Ross

See All Formats & Editions

Return with Marion Zimmer Bradley in The Fall of Neskaya to the best-selling world of Darkover during the tumultuous era of The Hundred Kingdoms. In a terrible time of strife and war, when this unique fantasy world is divided into a multitude of small belligerent domains vying for power and land, one corrupt, ambitious tyrant will stop at nothing-even


Return with Marion Zimmer Bradley in The Fall of Neskaya to the best-selling world of Darkover during the tumultuous era of The Hundred Kingdoms. In a terrible time of strife and war, when this unique fantasy world is divided into a multitude of small belligerent domains vying for power and land, one corrupt, ambitious tyrant will stop at nothing-even the use of terrifying matrix weapons-to control all of Darkover!

Praise for the novels of Darkover: I don't think any series novels have succeeded for me the way Marion Zimmer Bradley's DARKOVER novels did. (Locus)

Literate and exciting. (New York Times Book Review)

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Following Marion Zimmer Bradley's passing in September 1999, fans of her Darkover series despaired of ever reading a Darkover novel again. Yet, here is exactly that: The Fall of Neskaya, the first volume in The Clingfire Trilogy, is a Darkover novel that was being written by Bradley and Deborah Ross at the time of MZB's death.

What a delight this book was to read. I slipped back into Darkover as easily as putting on a pair of old, faded jeans. For those of you who have read the 20-plus novels, the story begins in the Darkover timeline between the novels Stormqueen! and Hawkmistress! -- very early in the history of Darkover.

Corwyn Leynier is a young Verdantan prince with a secret. He's suffering from threshold sickness, although he doesn't know it yet. Corwyn's bouts with dizziness and nausea are actually a psychic disorder that affects telepaths when they reach puberty and their laran (psychic talent) starts awakening. Corwyn's secret is eventually found out, and he is sent to the Tower of Tramontana to help him deal with his ailment, as well as to hone his powerful skills.

Meanwhile, Rumail, the brother of King Damian of Ambervale, has come to Verdanta with an offer to unite the handsome Prince Belisar and a Leynier daughter in marriage. Rumail checks all royal daughters for laran (makes better offspring), and decides to handfast Belisar to the eight-year-old Kristlin. Corwyn's father blesses the union for the good of both kingdoms, but there is something sinister behind the Ambervale offer of partnership.

Corwyn excels living in the Tower and learns quickly how to use his laran. The years pass, and Corwyn matures into a powerful young man. One of his best friends at the Tower turns out to be Liane Storn, the daughter of his father's enemy, the King of High Kinally. But reality comes crashing down on the friends, when it is learned that Corwyn's country has been plagued with lungrot and most of his family is dead. To make matters worse, King Damian invades Verdanta and several other smaller kingdoms, including Acosta. Damian withdraws the handfast between Belisar and Kristlin (Verdanta is a defeated country now) and picks Queen Tanquiel of Acosta as his future wife. But Damian underestimates the woman's cunning and she escapes to safety with her unborn child -- the true heir to the throne of Acosta. What exactly is Damian planning? And can his evil plan succeed?

As usual with MZB stories, the characters are superbly drawn. I've found myself saying this before about MZB novels, but I loved some of the peripheral characters the best. I particularly liked One-Eyed Rafe, six-fingered Kieran, and Taniquel of Acosta, the exiled queen who vows to get her country back. (Paul Goat Allen)

Young Coryn Legnier must leave Verdanta Castle for Tower training when the powerful mental laran he does not know he possesses rages out of control. Dom Rumail, brother to King Deslucido, tests him for laran, an ability that can be used for good or misused for evil purposes, recognizes his gift, and primes him with a mindtrap for later use on behalf of the king. His training at Tramontana Tower gives Coryn the incentive to stop a family feud. Nevertheless it does not prepare him for a king's treachery or the love of a beautiful young queen. This novel is fast paced, with action-filled fun. After the death of author Bradley, this reviewer never expected to see another new Darkover novel, but happily, this first book of the new Clingfire trilogy fills the void. Ross captures Bradley's love for her creation and her smooth-flowing style perfectly. Because the two had been friends since Bradley began editing the Darkover and Sword and Sorceress anthologies, Ross was a natural choice to work with Bradley as her health began to decline. They decided to return to the Ages of Chaos in the early days of Darkover. The plan was to create a trilogy beginning with the Hastur Rebellion and the fall of Neskaya, go on to the enduring friendship between Varzil the Good and Caroline Hastur, and finish with the fire bombing of Hali and the signing of the Compact. Ross scribbled notes as fast as she could while Bradley described what she had in mind. Courtesy of the Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, here is that novel. Fans—and others—will rejoice! VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult andYoung Adult). 2001, DAW, 464p,
— Bonnie Kunzel

Product Details

DAW Hardcover
Publication date:
Darkover Series
Product dimensions:
6.64(w) x 9.22(h) x 1.47(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Fall of Neskaya, Chapter One

Coryn Leynier woke from a dream of fire sweeping down from the heights. The dream had begun peacefully enough, but with an unusual vividness, as were so many of his dreams since his body had begun chang-ing with adolescence. At first, his glider hovered beneath Darkover's great Bloody Sun, its silken sails spread wide over fragile wooden struts. Last summer, his eldest brother, Eddard, who was heir to the mountainous Verdanta lands, had shown him how to ride the air currents for short distances. In his dream, Coryn soared freely. He felt no fear of the height, only pleasure in the limitless heavens.

Summer lightning flashed in the distance, across the Hellers. The air crackled with energy. Smoke curled skyward from a grove of resin-trees. Coryn tensed. Since he could remember, he and his brothers had kept watch for forest fires, sometimes competing to be the first to sound the alarm.

In his dream, Coryn struggled to turn the glider, to head back to Verdanta Castle with the news. But the wood and leather apparatus would not respond. It fought him like a living thing, twisting and turning in his grasp.

Coryn noticed the starstone, a chip of brilliance, lashed to the cross-beams. It looked just like any other starstone, bestowed on each child according to family tradition on the Midwinter Festival following their twelfth birthdays, but this one he knew was his own. As he gazed at it, blue light flared within, as if in recognition. He'd heard that with such a stone, a trained laranzu could send a glider wherever he wished, not just where the uncertain winds took it. The idea stirred something in him, a wordless longing.

To go where he chose, not where chance carried him. . . .

Coryn gazed into the starstone and pictured the glider turning back toward home at his command. Blue fire flickered in its depths. His nerves prickled and his stomach clenched, as rebellious as the glider. Still, he kept his eyes fixed on the starstone, trying to go deeper, ever deeper.

The fire shifted, pouring down the hillsides, leaping over the fire-breaks which were strangely overgrown with neglect. In a matter of mo-ments, it enveloped brush and copse, sweeping over everything in its path. Grass went up in puffs of smoke. Resin-trees blazed. As the pockets of flammable sap ignited, the trees exploded, one by one, showering live cinders in every direction. Smoke, dense and acrid, billowed from the forest.

Far in the distance, alarm bells sounded, over and over again as every holding in the Hellers, from Aldaran to the Kadarin River, was roused. In the next heartbeat, he was sitting up in his own bed in Verdanta Castle, shivering as if it were deep snow season and not the height of summer, with alarm bells ringing in his ears.

Coryn scrambled into his boots and bolted headlong down the stairway. Tessa, his oldest sister, hurried along the corridor with a tray of cold meat buns. She wore an old gray dress, several inches too short and patched with scraps of even older garments. She'd tied a white kerchief over her hair, so that she looked more like a scullery maid than her usual demure self, the lord's eldest daughter. Coryn grabbed a bun and stuffed it in his mouth while he pulled on his shirt. For once, she did not object.

In the courtyard outside, dawn cast muted shadows across the bare-raked earth. A fitful breeze carried the hint of the day's heat to come.

The yard seethed with movement. Everyone old enough to walk was here, all hurrying in different directions, carrying shovels and pitchforks, rakes and sacks and buckets, folded blankets and threadbare linens for bandages. Yardfowl squawked and fluttered, raising more dust. One of the castle dogs scampered by, barking. Men struggled to lash shovels and rakes to the saddles of pack chervines. Padraic, the castle coridom, stood on the rim of the largest watering trough, shouting orders.

Coryn paused on the threshold, heart pounding. For an awful moment, the yard seemed to slip sideways. He gulped, tasting bile, and swayed on his feet.

Not again! he stormed inwardly. He could not, would not be sick. Not now, when every able-bodied male over the age of ten, be he family or servant or guest, was needed on the fire-lines.

''You're with me on the firebreaks, lad.'' Eddard stepped into the yard, gesturing for Coryn to follow. ''Get the horses ready!'' Eddard was dressed for riding in supple leather pants and boots, and he carried two message rolls wrapped in oiled silk. ''Petro!''

Coryn's next older brother, Petro, had already mounted the sleek Armida-bred black which was the fastest horse in the stables. His face was flushed and his black hair, so unlike Coryn's bright copper, jutted in all directions, giving him the aspect of both fear and excitement.

Eddard thrust one of the message rolls into Petro's outstretched hand. ''This one is for Lord Lanil Storn, a direct request for his help.''

''Help?'' Petro asked, incredulous. ''From Storn? Are we that desperate?''

''We've asked under fire-truce. This one looks to be the worst within memory,'' Eddard said, clearly uneasy. ''Only a fool would let his neigh-bor's house burn and think his own safe.''

Fire-truce, Coryn repeated silently. But would it hold? Verdanta and Kinnally had been raiding each other's lands for so many years that few recalled the original squabble. He believed it had had something to do with the ownership of a nut-tree grove which had long since died of root blight dusted accidentally over the hills by aircars from Isoldir.

''Father also asks for your passage to the Tower at Tramontana. If Lord Storn grants you leave,'' Eddard said with a twist of the mouth that indicated how unlikely he thought it, ''you are to give this second roll to the Keeper, Kieran. Also give him a kinsman's greeting, for he is Aillard, related to Grandmama's family.''

Petro tucked the rolls into his belt, his eyes stormy. ''If Dom Lanil believes he can gain some advantage over us by waiting while we spend our strength on this fire or by blocking Tramontana's aid, then no mere scroll of parchment will change his mind.''

''Mind you bide your tongue,'' Eddard said with a trace of sharpness, ''and repeat only what you have been given and not one of your everlast-ing speeches. Your mission is to ask the man for help, not to lecture him on the evils of modern society.''

Petro subsided. ''I will do my best. After all, Father says that if you treat a man as honorable, he is more likely to behave that way.''

''Good speed, then, lad, and may Aldones bless your tongue as well as your horse's heels.''

Petro nodded and spurred his horse through the gates at breakneck speed, scattering yardfowl.

Eddard gestured to a man halfway across the yard, struggling with the harness on a chervine. ''No! Not like that!''

Lord Leynier's bay stallion, massive enough to carry even a legendary giant, whinnied and danced sideways, ramming one shoulder into the scullery lad clinging to its bridle. The boy sprawled in the dust as the horse reared, pawing the air.

Coryn grabbed the reins before the beast could trample the boy. White ringed the horse's eye and its body reeked with the smell of fright. He put one hand over its nose, pulling its head down. ''Easy, easy,'' he murmured. The horse snorted, eyes less wild.

''Here, now.'' Lord Beltran Leynier, tall and grizzled, yet still power-ful across the shoulders, took the reins from Coryn and swung up into the saddle. ''First party, with me!'' He galloped for the road, mounted men and pack animals close behind.

Stepping back, Coryn stumbled into the kitchen boy. The boy's cap went flying, to reveal pale red hair, twisted into clumsy braids and wound into a crown. Aldones! It was his baby sister, Kristlin, dressed in some servant's castoffs. She was only eight, too young to be assigned to any-thing more interesting than rolling bandages or chopping onions. From the look she gave him, he'd find spiders in his bed if he said a word to anyone.

''Coryn! Where are those horses?'' Eddard yelled from across the yard.

Within the dusty closeness of the stables, the few remaining horses stamped and nickered. The groom had just finished cinching the saddle on Eddard's raw-boned gray mare. Coryn checked girth, breastplate and crupper strap on his own dun-colored Dancer, for they would be scram-bling over rough terrain and a slip of the saddle could be fatal.

''You be careful out there, you young rascal,'' the groom said. ''I've not seen a fire this bad since Durraman's donkey was foaled.''

In the yard, Coryn scrambled on to Dancer's back and caught the lead line for the pack chervines from Padraic. He and Eddard clattered down the strip of road in the brightening day.

A plume of smoke rose from the forested hills, still many miles off. Coryn sensed the acrid lightning tang, the greasy feel of smoke from half-burned soapbush, ash across his face.

The world reeled, sky and green-gold hills blurred . . . melted. . . . Acid stung his throat. He swayed in the saddle, retching.

With a fistful of sandy mane in one hand and the other clenched on the pommel of his saddle, Coryn struggled to keep his seat. Eddard, riding ahead of him, had not noticed. The spasm of dizziness passed, leaving a sour film in Coryn's mouth.

Coryn's hand went to his neck, where his starstone lay insulated in the pouch of thick silk which he'd stitched himself. He felt its inner light as a wave of heat through his fingers.

He thought miserably that if only he knew how to use starstone and glider, as he'd dreamed, there would be no need to send Petro racing to Tramontana, or be at the mercy of High Kinnally. He, Coryn, could go aloft and drop the precious laran-made fire-fighting chemicals directly on the blaze.

With that thought, he pressed his lips together, dug his heels into Dancer's sides, and galloped on.

—From The Fall of Neskaya: Book 1 of the Clingfire Trilogy by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross. (c) July 2001, Raw Books, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc. Used by permission.

Meet the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley began publishing professionally in 1953. Her first novel, expanded from a 1957 magazine story, was The Door through Space (1961). In 1962 came the first of Bradley's enormously popular "Darkover" series of novels, Sword of Aldones, a Hugo nominee in 1963. Among the many Darkover novels, collections, and anthologies that followed were Nebula nominee The Heritage of Hastur (1975) and Hugo nominee The Forbidden Tower (1977). The latest, Traitor's Sun, was published in 1999 by DAW.

The Mists of Avalon (1983), a retelling of the Arthurian legends, was Bradley's single most popular work, achieving bestseller status. It won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 1984. The book's trade paperback edition has ranked among the top 5 trade paperbacks on Locus's monthly bestseller lists for almost 4 years. She wrote two sequels, The Forest House (1994) and The Lady of Avalon (1997).

Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, founded in 1988, and anthologies such as the Sword and Sorceress series and various collections of Darkover fiction, helped launch or nurture the careers of numerous younger authors.

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

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Fall of Neskaya (Clingfire Trilogy #1) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
The Terran colony of Darkover sunk into a feudal state because of a lack of communication between the planet and earth. It is a world where several kingdoms vie for prominence and war is a way of life. The most destructive weapons are created from laran, a form of psychic energy, which can be used at great distances to harm an enemy.

One of the greatest tyrants of the time is Damian Deslucido, who is absorbing small kingdoms in his goal to rule the world. However, his success in absorbing Acorta may prove to be the seeds of his own destruction because the despot planned for his son to marry Acorta¿s Queen Taniel Hastur-Acorta, but she escapes. On the road she meets Coryn, a near master Laranzu, who helps her regain her health and spirit. They quickly learn the meaning of love, but fate separates them to fight Damian on different fronts with littler hope of victory or getting back together.

Fans of Darkover will know that this novel occurs during the Hundred Kingdom era before the compact by Varzil the Good was instituted. The beloved Marian Zimmer Bradley and her cohort Deborah J. Ross make it clear how they feel about a civilized society containing weapons of mass destruction. THE FALL OF NEKAYA is the opening installment of a new trilogy that lives up to the greatness label of the entire series. The interesting and complex characters will either receive reader empathy or the audience¿s antipathy depending on who they are. This exciting novel will light up the fantasy universe.

Harriet Klausner

brjunkie More than 1 year ago
Coming soon.