The Shadow Matrix

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After spending her youth in the Terran Empire, Margaret Alton returns to Darkover, the planet of her birth. There she discovers she has the Alton Gift—forced rapport and compulsion—one of the strongest and most dangerous of the inherited Laran gifts of the telepathic Comyn—the ruling families of Darkover. And even as she struggles to control her newfound powers, Margaret finds herself falling in love with the Regent to the royal Elhalyn Domain, a man she has been forbidden to marry, for their alliance would ...

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New York, NY 1999 Mass-market paperback Good. Mass market (rack) paperback. Glued binding. 556 p. Darkover. Audience: General/trade. Synopsis After spending her youth in the ... Terran Empire, Margaret Alton returns to Darkover, the planet of her birth. There she discovers she has the Alton Gift--forced rapport and compulsion--one of the strongest and most dangerous of the inherited Laran gifts of the telepathic Comyn--the ruling families of Darkover. And even as she struggles to control her newfound powers, Margaret finds herself falling in love with the Regent to the royal Elhalyn Domain, a man she has been forbidden to marry, for their alliance would irrevocably alter the power balance of their planet! Read more Show Less

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1999 Mass-market paperback Very good. No dust jacket as issued. Creases in spine. Mass market (rack) paperback. Glued binding. 556 p. Darkover. Audience: Young adult.

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The Shadow Matrix

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Overview

After spending her youth in the Terran Empire, Margaret Alton returns to Darkover, the planet of her birth. There she discovers she has the Alton Gift—forced rapport and compulsion—one of the strongest and most dangerous of the inherited Laran gifts of the telepathic Comyn—the ruling families of Darkover. And even as she struggles to control her newfound powers, Margaret finds herself falling in love with the Regent to the royal Elhalyn Domain, a man she has been forbidden to marry, for their alliance would irrevocably alter the power balance of their planet!

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Joyce Davidson
Margaret Alton struggles to come to terms with not only her own telepathy but also the strange shadow matrix etched into her hand. As is traditional in Darkover, she is sent to a Tower to begin her training. While she is in training, her beloved, Mikhail Lanart-Hastur, is sent as Regent to the Elhalyn domain to test the children and judge if any of the boys is fit to be the next king. Margaret fights to learn how to control her powers, and to have her voice and wishes heard in the matter of her marriage. For as heir to the Alton Domain, Margaret alone could shift the balance of power in the Comyn Council. Mikhail has his own battles to fight as he finds the Elhalyn children neglected and their mother caught in the power of a strange spell waiting for an unknown Guardian to carry her and her children away to eternal life. But these are minor problems compared to what awaits them at Hali Tower on Midwinter night, as they journey back in time to meet Varzil the Good and defeat the evil of Ashara Alton. To understand this book readers must have read Exile's Song (DAW, 1996/VOYA December 1996) first. And it would help even more if they were familiar with other Darkover novels. In no way does this sequel stand alone. The novel is very complex as it details much of the society, politics, and culture of Darkover. Recommended for purchase only in libraries with large science fiction collections or Exile's Song on the shelf; there are too many characters and references to events in earlier books to make this an introduction to the rich and exciting world of Darkover. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA reader with a special interest in the subject, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780886778125
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Series: Darkover Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 4.26 (w) x 6.72 (h) x 1.52 (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
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2001

    Outstanding Piece of Literature!

    I thoughly enjoyed reading this book. It was a marvelous telling of a marvelous plot. Bradley has (or rather, she HAD; she's dead now)a gift for making her characters come to life with real, understandably human emotions, even when the world in which the people live is so foreign. A beautiful story full of good and evil, love and hate. Definetly one of Bradley's best.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

    Ever

    Walked in

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    NEXT RES

    K

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2013

    one of my favorite Darkover Novels!

    one of my favorite Darkover Novels!

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    Posted January 23, 2010

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