The Forbidden Circle (The Spell Sword/The Forbidden Tower)

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Overview

These two classic Darkover novels tell the epic tale of four people who challenged the ancient laws of the matrix towers.

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The Forbidden Circle (The Spell Sword/The Forbidden Tower)

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Overview

These two classic Darkover novels tell the epic tale of four people who challenged the ancient laws of the matrix towers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756400941
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Series: Darkover Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: 2 Books in 1
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 1,042,614
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.50 (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
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Forbidden Circle (The Spell Sword & The Forbidden Tower)omnibus

    Against the Terrans - The First Age (Recontact)
    30 years before "Star of Danger"
    The Spell Sword:
    Andrew Carr is a Terran who has traveled the stars and planets, at the will of the administrators and computers. Like a sailor, he has been around. He is experienced bisexually, but he still wanders the galaxy lonely.
    After a chance visit to a fortuneteller he is shown who his soul mate is. He becomes a member of Mapping and Exploration, so he can then take a team out to the Hellers to find the woman that he is drawn to. Being inexperienced and unprepared to handle the violent environment of the Hellers, their aircraft crashes on the rim of a cliff.
    Andrew is saved from his death by the shade of Callista, (proving that he possesses psi talents of his own). At first, Andrew has a hard time believing that Callista is real, until the ghost-girl guides him to safety to Armida. Once arriving at the castle, the Darkovans show their hospitality to the Terran, where he tells his side of the story to the Alton family.
    His tale tells Damon and Ellemir of Callista's imprisonment and her suffering of fear, cold, hunger, and abuse. With Ellemir's insistent encouragement, Damon Ridenow tries to help Callista's twin sister rescue her from her kidnappers. Ellemir does not have the Gift that Callista possesses. As told to by Leonie of Arilinn, if Damon were born a woman, he would be a Keeper of a Tower, because of his amazing ability of laran.
    Once finding Callista's hidden starstone and with Damon's trip into the overland, they find that she is being kept by the cat-men. What purpose could the cat-men have with Callista and not take her starstone too?
    The cat-men are too dangerous to take on without the aid of Lord Alton's, Dom Esteban, swordsmanship. The cat-men are able to hide, and can only be seen through the use of a starstone. Unfortunately, he has been paralyzed from their recent encounter. Therefore, he uses the Alton Gift to aid Damon to battle the cat-men, and uses Andrew's telepathic abilities to find Callista in the confusing maze of the caves of Corresanti.
    Marion Zimmer Bradley's fight scenes are a bit difficult to follow. There are so many elements happening at the same time with trying to keep straight and figure out who is fighting in who's body, and who is in who's mind. In addition, there is Andrew and Callista's confusing out of their body experiences. It's hard to tell when they are there or are not there. They are intimate but yet they are not. (And was there a four-way? I agree with Andrew on this one. I'm not sure. I found myself just reading through it because I was getting a headache and dizzy.) At some point, you just have to start enjoying the story.
    Damon needs to be able to find Callista, and save her from the threat of the Great Cat. For Damon, returning to Armida with Callista will prove to Dom Esteban that he is worthy of marrying Ellemir, and into the Alton family. Or will Andrew's interference be more of a harm and hindrance to her rescue? Because of his intense connection to Callista, Andrew has gone native. Ultimately, how willing will Lord Alton and Callista be to give away her virginity, resulting in her lose of being a Keeper.
    The Forbidden Tower:
    A marriage between a Terran and Darkovan will be strange and hazardous for both. Some of the challenges that the couple must face are Callista must gain permission from the Keeper of Arilinn, Leonie Hastur, to leave the Tower...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2013

    One of the Best of the Darkover Series

    This book covers two of my favorite Darkover stories, Spell Sword and Forbidden Tower. I have long had both in hard copy, and having them in Nook format makes it so much easier to pick them back up. If I have any beef at all, it is not with this book, but rather that the entire Darkover series is not available in Nook format. I would especially like to see Star of Danger in Nook, but I would definitely be willing to get them all if they were available.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2003

    must read

    really good book a non stop thrill each page with something more exciting than the last

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2003

    Suspensful

    One of the best books I've read scince the Mists of Avalon. She's a great author

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    Posted September 16, 2010

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