Sharra's Exile (Second Age #4)

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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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Overview

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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780886773090
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1981
  • Series: Darkover Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 4.04 (w) x 6.82 (h) x 0.94 (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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I Liked It!

    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?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This Series Keeps Getting Better!

    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?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2001

    Sharra's Exile

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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