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About 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, 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 was "fantasy undiluted." She wrote a best-selling novel of the women in the Arthurian legends--Morgan Le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, and others--entitled MISTS OF AVALON, and she also wrote THE FIREBRAND, a novel about the women of the Trojan War. Her historical fantasy novels, THE FOREST HOUSE and LADY OF AVALON are prequels to MISTS 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 Mark Greyland; her daughter, Moira Greyland; and her grandchildren.
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“A monumental reimagining of the Arthurian legends . . . reading it is a deeply moving and at times uncanny experience. . . . An impressive achievement.”—The New York Times Book Review
In Marion Zimmer Bradley's masterpiece, we see the tumult and adventures of Camelot's court through the eyes of the women who bolstered the king's rise and schemed for his fall. From their childhoods through the ultimate fulfillment of their destinies, we follow these women and the diverse cast of characters that surrounds them as the great Arthurian epic unfolds stunningly before us. As Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar struggle for control over the fate of Arthur's kingdom, as the Knights of the Round Table take on their infamous quest, as Merlin and Viviane wield their magics for the future of Old Britain, the Isle of Avalon slips further into the impenetrable mists of memory, until the fissure between old and new worlds' and old and new religions' claims its most famous victim.
In a Britain struggling to survive Roman invasion, Eilan is the daughter of a Druidic warleader, gifted with visions and marked by fate to become a priestess of the Forest House.
But fate also led Eilan to Gaius, a soldier of mixed blood, son of the Romans sent to subdue the native British. For Gaius, Eilan felt forbidden love, and her terrible secret will haunt her even as she is anointed as the new High Priestess. With mighty enemies poised to destroy the magic the Forest House shelters, Eilan must trust in the power of the great Goddess to lead her through the treacherous labyrinth of her destiny.
Caillean, the young priestess fated to become Lady of Avalon, who rescues and raises the orphaned Gawen—heir to a mystic and dangerous royal line...Dierna, who must use all her strength, wisdom, and love to guide Avalon through treacherous political waters and veil the island from a hostile world...Viviane, Lady of the Lake and keeper of the Grail, destined for true greatness as she prepares Avalon for the coming of a legendary king...
Bestselling author Marion Zimmer Bradley brings the mesmerizing world of myth and magic, romance and history, brilliantly to life in this novel of epic grandeur worthy of fantasy’s finest storyteller.
Nominated for a Hugo Award, and described as “Bradley’s best [Darkover] novel” by Lous, THE HERITAGE OF HASTUR is a brilliant epic of the pivotal events in the love-hate relationship between the Terran worlds and the semi-alien off-spring of the forgotten colonists who peopled Darkover. This is the complex and compelling tale of the early life of Regis Hastur, Darkover’s greatest monarch. But HERITAGE also spins the terrifying and heartbreaking story of those who sought to control the deadly Sharra Matrix and tells how Lew Alton met and lost his greatest love, Marjorie Scott. This is the unforgettable showdown between these Darkovan lords who would bargain away their world for the glories of Terran science and those who would preserve the special matrix powers that are at once the prize and burden of Darkover.
The most dangerous magical implement on all of Darkover was the infamous, legendary Sharra Matrix. Embodying the image of a chained woman wreathed in flames, it was the last remaining weapon of the Ages of Chaos—an era of uncontrolled laran warfare which had almost destroyed all life on Darkover. The Sharra Matrix had been exiled offworld to one of the far-flung planets of the Terran Empire, in the protective custody of one who had suffered gravely from its use: Comyn Lord Lew Alton.
But when Lew was called back to Darkover to contend for his rights, he had no choice but to bring this dangerous matrix back with him, and once the Sharra Matrix was black, her flaming image spread far and wide, setting motion events which would change the lands, the seven Domains, and the entire future forever.
Set during the lawless Ages of Chaos, when the ruling families of the Seven Domains of Darkover ruthlessly inbred their psychic offspring to gain powerful and fearsome talents, two young women are born with "wild" psychic gifts. These stories—Stormqueen! and Hawkmistress!, one tragic and one triumphant—combine to give the reader a vivid and poignant picture of a devastating time period in the history of this fantastic world.
During the lawless Ages of Chaos, when the ruling families of Darkover ruthlessly inbred their laran-gifted offspring to gain powerful talents, a baby was born to the lord of Aldaran. This child, born on a dark and thunder-filled night, was possessed of a terrifying and uncontrolled talent: Dorilys, heiress to her father’s domain, could unwittingly call forth lightning, even while still a fretful child. Fearful for his daughter’s life and the safety of his domain, Lord Aldaran sent to a tower for help. But even the powers of a trained monitor and a Hastur lord might not be enough to save this painfully afflicted and deadly young woman.
Romilly was an independent tomboy from a noble family, contrary to the social demands of Darkovan women. That was bad enough, but when Romilly’s father arranged her marriage to a nobleman she found repulsive, she rebelled. Disguising herself as a boy, she fled into the deep forests. Living off the land was not nearly as difficult for Romilly as for most people, for she possessed a rare and highly-treasured gift—telepathic communication with hawk and horse. But Romilly soon discovered her newfound freedom was far from complete. Pulled into the maelstrom of a civil war, could Romilly find her true role in life without sacrificing her ideals?
In the three novels which comprise THE SAGA OF THE RENUNCIATES, Marion Zimmer Bradley tells the masterful tale of two valiant women who face and try to break the invisible chains of custom, convention, habit and expectation with which society binds women, and women bind themselves.
Magdalen Lorne is a Terran woman born and reared on Darkover. She thinks herself the perfect Terran undercover Intelligence agent, and disguises herself as a Free Amazon to enable her to fulfill a mission to free a Terran man from kidnappers. But when she herself is captured by a band of real Renunciates, she discovers they have a harsh punishment for any pretenders: she must swear the Oath of the Free Amazons, relinquish her former life, and become a Renunciate in reality.
Jaelle has been raised in the harsh patriarchal environment of the Dry Towns. Her mother Mellora is a Comyn woman who has been kidnapped in order to breed laran-gifted offspring for her barbarian "husband." But when a desperate, pregnant Mellora dies in childbirth following a daring escape aided by a band of Renunciates, the still young Jaelle is adopted into the Guild, and becomes the Free Amazon Jaelle n'ha Mellora, a woman who has never known kindness from a man.
Together Magda, now known as Margali n'ha Tsabet, and her Guild-sister Jaelle will follow a twisting course neither could have predicted. A course which will lead them to question every aspect of themselves and of their two so-different societies. And one which will eventually set them on a life-threatening journey not only to the frozen ends of the physical world, but to the perilous limits of the spiritual overworld as well.
I took a lot of detours on the way. I discovered s-f in its golden age: the age of Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, Ed Hamilton and Jack Vance. But while I was still collecting rejection slips for my early efforts, the fashion changed. Adventures on faraway worlds and strange dimensions went out of fashion, and the new look in science-fiction—emphasis on the science—came in.
So my first stories were straight science-fiction, and I'm not trying to put down that kind of story. It has its place. By and large, the kind of science-fiction which makes tomorrow's headlines as near as this morning's coffee, has enlarged popular awareness of the modern, miraculous world of science we live in. It has helped generations of young people feel at ease with a rapidly changing world.
But fashions change, old loves return, and now that Sputniks clutter up the sky with new and unfamiliar moons, the readers of science-fiction are willing to wait for tomorrow to read tomorrow's headlines. Once again, I think, there is a place, a wish, a need and hunger for the wonder and color of the world way out. The world beyond the stars. The world we won't live to see. That is why I wrote THE DOOR THROUGH SPACE.
—Marion Zimmer Bradley