The Forbidden Tower (First Age #4)

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Overview

This is the novel of four who defied the powers of the matrix guardians - fanatics who protected those powers so that the planet of the ruddy sun might never fall beneath the influence of materialistic Terrans.

The four who found themselves fused into a terrifying unity in that defiance were two men and two women.

The men were Damon Ridenow, a Gomyn of the ruling caste, and Andrew Garr, the Earthman who had ...

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Overview

This is the novel of four who defied the powers of the matrix guardians - fanatics who protected those powers so that the planet of the ruddy sun might never fall beneath the influence of materialistic Terrans.

The four who found themselves fused into a terrifying unity in that defiance were two men and two women.

The men were Damon Ridenow, a Gomyn of the ruling caste, and Andrew Garr, the Earthman who had won for himself the right of clan-entry.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This installation of Bradley's popular "Darkover" series was first published in 1977. Though not out of print, the Severn House version is the only hardcover edition currently available. For all sf/fantasy collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780886773731
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1977
  • Series: Darkover Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley

Marion Zimmer Bradley was born in Albany, NY and lived for many years in Berkeley, CA. Best known as a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romantic occult fiction, Bradley was also the editor of "Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine" and many anthologies. Her most famous works include the "Darkover" series of science fiction novels and the "New York Times" bestselling "The Mists of Avalon," Bradley's romantic, magical, contemporary novels for Tor include "The Inheritor, Heartlight, Ghostlight, "and" Witch Hill," Marion Zimmer Bradley died in 1999.

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

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Forbidden Tower (First Age #4)

    Against the Terrans - The First Age (Recontact)
    30 years before "Star of Danger"
    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, take back her oath to be Keeper, and given her blessing to marry Andrew. Faced with the unconditioning of a Keeper, and Andrew's sexual frustration, will Callista return to Arilinn Tower, as the next Keeper, despite her feelings for Andrew? Second, even though Andrew says he will be patient while Callista unlearns her Keeper chastity conditioning, will he be able to remain patient for seasons, or longer, or realistically, not at all?
    Fortunately, for Andrew, being a horse trainer and breaking horses is a respected occupation on Darkover. Andrew grew up on a ranch in Arizona, where he learned to work with horses. Andrew went into space as an Empire civil servant, moving from planet to planet at the will of the administrators and computers. Since coming here to Cottman IV, he has nothing to his claim besides this skill.
    The two couples marry at the same time, (making their telepathic link stronger still.) For Ellemir, Damon's years in the Tower, those years of which he never spoke, she learned that it made him unhappy if she asked him about it, and would always be a barricade between them, but not between Damon and Callista. They have experience of a life in the Tower, where Ellemir stayed home to care for her father.
    To Ellemir and Damon's delight, she gets pregnant from their wedding night. Their close kinsmanship can prove to be disastrous for the expecting parents. This is one of the cultural differences between a Terran and Darkovan. Because Ellemir and Damon can telepathically sense the awareness in the fetus, it is therefore considered a life, their child, regardless of how early in the pregnancy it is. Children are treasured very highly on Darkover.
    Soon to be a blessing to the couple Ellemir and Damon, Callista gives Andrew permission to lay with her sister Ellemir, not because of her miscarriage, but because she is not able to lay with her own husband, Andrew. This is another huge cultural difference between Andrew and the other three. Andrew finds himself insulting and hurting feelings, when he believes he is being true to his vows and their honor. The situation is further complicated for Damon Ridenow is an empath, feeling everything Andrew feels. (I find that Andrew's resistance to lay with Ellemir, even with her and Callista's permission, unrealistic and difficult to believe. However, for what Marion Zimmer Bradley is trying to convey to the reader, in a wordy novel, is the depth of the telepathic link with the four, it is repetitive and detailed description and explanation is highly necessary.)
    By living together, the telepathic link between all four is stronger than ever. Even Ellemir's laran is greatly awakened and improved. Their challenge is keeping what secrets they can from Dom Esteban, because with his Alton gift, he knows all.
    Turmoil and deceit strike with the introduction of Dezi, (Deziderio), as Dom Esteban's servant. They learn that Dezi is a Comyn bastard. Dom Esteban will not acknowledge him as his son though. However, they learn that Dezi has the Alton gift, has been sent to Arilinn Tower, and dismissed, as Damon was. Dezi holds a hard and mortal grudge against not being...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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