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The Firebrand

( 33 )

Overview

Blending archaeological fact and legend, the myths of the gods and the feats of heroes, Marion Zimmer Bradley breathes new life into the classic tale of the Trojan War-reinventing larger-than-life figures as living people engaged in a desperate struggle that dooms both the victors and the vanquished, their fate seen through the eyes of Kassandra-priestess, princess, and passionate woman with the spirit of a warrior.

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The Firebrand

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Overview

Blending archaeological fact and legend, the myths of the gods and the feats of heroes, Marion Zimmer Bradley breathes new life into the classic tale of the Trojan War-reinventing larger-than-life figures as living people engaged in a desperate struggle that dooms both the victors and the vanquished, their fate seen through the eyes of Kassandra-priestess, princess, and passionate woman with the spirit of a warrior.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of The Mists of Avalon here "vividly recounts'' the Trojan War. "Although these mythic figures stumble through some petty, rather too modern dialogue,'' PW found that "Bradley animates . . . the conflicts between a culture that reveres the strength of women and one that makes them mere consorts of powerful men.''
Library Journal
Bradley ( The Mists of Avalon ) has combined several legends about the fall of Troy in this novel, told from the point of view of Kassandra, daughter of King Priam. After receiving the gift of prophecy from the god Apollo and then rejecting him, she was cursed when he decreed that her vision would be taken as dreams or the ravings of a madwoman. Some basic knowledge of Greek mythology would be helpful to the reader in keeping the various gods and their relationships straight. She makes a strong statement about the desirability of women having control of their own destinies and about the cruelties men inflict upon them. Literary Guild featured alternate. Andrea Lee Shuey, Dallas P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451459244
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/22/2003
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 336,246
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley

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.

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 4.5
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2007

    AMAZING! Two thumbs ^ !!!

    This was a novel of exceptional quality that brought the myth to a whole new level. Kassandra is seen as the powerful woman she is rather than just a raving pricess prophecying doom to Troy.I couldn't put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2006

    A great read

    I couldn't put this book down! Marion Zimmer Bradley's Troy has really interesting characters and a captivating story. I particularly enjoyed it because, like Bradley's Avalon series, it is told from the perspective of a woman. Anyone who enjoys Greek Mythology or fantasy will definitely love this book.It's a great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2004

    I couldn't put it down!!

    I am never dissapointed with Marion Zimmer Bradley. I love the story of Troy and it is fasinating to read it from the perspective of the women. Her characters are strong, and well developed. Also, her story telling is magnificent and captivating.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2004

    I loved this book!

    Four years ago, my college room mate lent me this book, because I love Greek Mythology. I absolutely loved it. Two years later, I was visiting this same room mate, and we decided to rent the mini-series Mists of Avalon. That Christmas, I saw the book (Mists of Avalon) in a bookstore and thought it would be a perfect gift for my mother. I read it when she was done, and decided I had to read MORE Zimmer Bradly. This past Xmas, I bought all of the Avalon books for my mother, and she's nearly done. She has a birthday coming up, so I'm back online, searching for more from this author, when I stumble on Firebrand... would you believe that I just NOW made the connection between the books?! They're all wonderful, and I'm definitely buying this one for my mother as well! :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2003

    Best version on the story of Troy!!!!

    I love this book! Words alone can not express how wonderful it is! I highly recommend it to any greek mythology lover!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    Great Book

    Really enjoyed book could not put it down. Could have given the book 5 stars except for the last chapter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    A new take on the Trojan war

    A feminist retake on the Trojan myth that's fresh and well written and focuses on Cassandra, the tragic Trojan Princess.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    One of my absolute favorite books ever - Marion Zimmer Bradley b

    One of my absolute favorite books ever - Marion Zimmer Bradley brings the players of the Trojan War to life brilliantly. Most importantly she writes from Kassandra's point of view, creating an entirely new perspective of Kassandra that I had never seen before. I've read this book multiple times, and it never gets old!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Big fan of Zimmer Bradley but disappointed

    I'm a huge fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley but I was sorely disapointed in this book. It seemed to skip around without a common thread. I liked the plot and the setting of ancient Troy , but the I just couldn't get into it; for the first time it was difficult for me to finish one of her books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2005

    I have a question

    Hi there, all you Marion zimmer Bradley fans! I have a question for you. I have read lots of books from the dragonriders of pern series, i love harry potter, and in general like fantasy. Do you think I would like these books? I have never read any of her books.If you could write an answering review, that would be great! thanks in advance!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2004

    An August Triumph

    I loved this book. I couldn't put it down and was so upset when it ended. I love mythology and she really brought the characters to life while at the same time, giving an alterntive aspect to the famous tale. Beautiful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2003

    Sami,15

    i was amazed that marion zimmer bradley gave a character so real and the fighting so real you felt you are on the wall alongside the women of troy. i have always been facinated with the trojan war and now even more so. i am truly awe inspired to write my own book. she made akhilles a truly despisable person and i was so happy when Kassandra shot him with the poisonious arrow. i wont give anymore away and let you decide for yourself.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2001

    One of Bradley's best work!

    This book was all and more of what I expected of it. The characters were so alive and real I felt, at times, that I knew them personally or as if I was there myself. I even would become sad at parts when something bad happens to a character. This book was not at all better then The Mists of Avalon but no other book can be. It still was an excellent book about the prophetess Cassandra and about her curse, to be able to see disasters but to be thought mad by the people around her. If you are thinking about reading this book, you won't regret it, go out and get it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews

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