Sharra's Exile (Second Age #4)by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The sequel to Heritage of Hastur, perhaps the single most popular of Bradley's spectacular Darkover novels, Sharra's Exile is the story of Lew Alton's return to Darkover and his battle to destroy the deadly Sharra matrix. See more details below
The sequel to Heritage of Hastur, perhaps the single most popular of Bradley's spectacular Darkover novels, Sharra's Exile is the story of Lew Alton's return to Darkover and his battle to destroy the deadly Sharra matrix.
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The end of 'The Heritage of Hastur' resulted in the Sharra matrix safely exiled from the planet Darkover, and with Kennard and Lew Alton escaping the planet along with it. Sharra's matrix is similar to Lew's own matrix that he wears around his neck. Because of the high cost to Lew and Marjorie for defeating the Sharra matrix at the Aldaran domain, he can not be separated from either his own matrix or Sharra's matrix. He is keyed into both matrixes. Separation from either matrix would mean his painful and agonizing death. So, he is forced to carry the sword with him always, for he is still constantly under the nightmarish influence of Sharra. With hopes that Terran medical science can help Lew regain his destroyed hand, Kennard tries to aid his son and Alton's heir. Lew finds some small comfort and starts to live once again when he and Dio meet on the pleasure planet Vainwal. At first Dio is completely turned off by Lew and his over the top meanness towards everyone and everything. But as Lew slowly allows Dio past his barriers, Sharra's hold on him diminishes when he confesses to her what happened to him in the Sharra matrix circle, the Lady Ridenow grows to love him. Sharra's influence on Lew goes deeper than what he previously imagined it ever could. It goes all the way to the cellular level. Dio falls so hard for Lew that she secretly plans to get pregnant so that she will not be able to travel through space back to Darkover, giving the couple more time together. To her demise, Sharra touches their unborn child and Dio gives birth in a Terran hospital to a horrific monster, instead of a son, Lew's Alton heir. The Hasturs intend to inherit the Alton Domain, adding to the already immense Hastur power, because both Lew and Kennard are off world at the same time. The two have left the domain vacant for more six years. Will Lew return to Darkover to claim his right to rule the Alton domain, or will his brother Marius finally work his way into the Comyn with Dyan's help? Will Regis support his grandfather, when he plans to put Gabriel Lanart-Hastur on the Alton domain throne? How will the manipulated and dull-witted Prince Derik's big mouth bring an end to not only his reign as king, but bring an end to the Comyn's rule also? Ultimately, will Lew continue to battle and defeat Sharra, or will he choose to give up and die because the pain Sharra inflicts on him is unbearable?
The rewritten version of Sword of Aldones, Exile is another excellent fiction work by popular author Bradley. Taking place in the middle of the Darkover series, so named because they chronicle the ages of a planet named Darkover, herein the Terran Empire rules the entire known universe. Darkovans were born with the ability of telepathy, and to do so, drew power from gemstones named matrices. This was their only trade, as the Planet of the Bloody Sun was metal-poor, cold, and barren. The Planet of the Bloody Sun, in the Age of Chaos, had produced powerful matrices with binding power. The most powerful was the Sharra matrix, who bore the image of a chained woman in flames. She pushed away those she deemed unfit to wield her power, until an Heir to a Domain, Lew, sacrificed himself as the seal of Sharra. Her power poisoned his matrix until he could control the visions she sent him, and he journeyed off world an outcast in his home world. He returned years later, orphaned, poor, a broken man, just in time to claim his heritage. Still possessed with Sharra and unable to escape from her power, a force began crumbling teh foundation of the most powerful domains, eliminating the influential few in Darkover. With the help of otherworldly twins, Lew and his friends manage to save Darkover. As with all Darkover novels, Exile is another wonderful read by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Yet it is excellent nonetheless, telling a tale through somber words and deep thoughts. The anguish the characters suffer throughout probably won¿t make you cry, but they may make you think about things you never had to justify before.