Tuesday, July 02, 2013

This omnibus features two classic, long-unavailable Darkover novels-Darkover Landfall and Two to Conquer-in one volume for the first time.

When a Terran ship crashed on Darkover, many of the colonists and crew wished to stay and build an Earth-like society on the alien planet. They might be the most intelligent species on that world and could make themselves its lords and masters. 

They didn't realize the dangers that lurked until the Ghost Wind began to blow and the powers of Darkover worked to claim them completely...

Around them the scent from the flowers on the lower slopes was sweet and intoxicating, as quick-blooming shrubs, vivified by two days of of heat and dryness, burst and opened all around. The unfamiliar scent were a little dizzying. Over the mountains floated a great gleaming moon, with a pale iridescent glow; then following it by only a few moments, another, this one with pale violet lustre.

"Look at the moon," she whispered.

"Which moon?" Rafe smiled in the darkness. “Earthmen get used to saying, themoon; I suppose some day people will give them names…"

They sat on the soft dry grass, watching the moons swing free of the mountains and rise. Rafe quoted softly, “If the stars shone only one night in a thousand years, how men woud look and wonder and adore."

She nodded. “Even after ten days, I find I miss them."

Rationally Rafe knew that it was madness to sit here in the dark. If nothing else, birds or beast of prey—perhaps the banshee screamer from the heights they had heard last night—might be abroad in the dark. He said so, finally, and Camilla, like the breaking of a spell, started, and said, “You’re right. I must wake well before dawn."

Rafe was somehow reluctant to go into the stuffy darkness of the tent. He said, “In the old days it used to be believed that it was dangerous to sleep in the moonlight—that’s where the word lunatic came from. Would it be four times as dangerous to sleep under four moons, I wonder?"

"No, but it would be—lunatic," Camilla said, laughing gently.

Many men had the dream of uniting the fractured lands in the time of the Hundred Kingdoms. One was Bard di Asturien, called the Kilghard Wolf. Another was Varzil Ridenow, later called the Good. Each seeks this goal through highly unusual means.

Author and editor Marion Zimmer Bradley is remembered both for the helping hand she extended to so many young writers and for her own impressive body of work in the genres of science fiction and fantasy – especially her female-centered Arthurian novel The Mists of Avalon and her Darkover novels. The editor of the long-running Sword and Sorceress anthology series, which encouraged submissions of fantasy stories featuring original and non-traditional heroines from young and upcoming authors, Bradley is considered by some to be the mother of feminist science fiction and to have been a significant force for the redress of what had long been an under-representation of female voices and perspectives in science fiction.

Born in 1930 in Albany, New York, Bradley grew up in upstate New York, in the midst of the Great Depression. Although she had hopes of becoming an opera singer, she was thwarted by lack of money and health problems. Her writing career was sparked by an amateur fiction contest in Fantastic/Amazing Stories in 1949, and in 1952 she sold her first professional short story to Vortex Science Fiction.

Marion Zimmer Bradley's career as a novelist was launched in 1961 with her first novel, The Door Through Space. In 1962 she published the first in what would prove to be a long and well-loved series of Darkover novels. The novel, Sword of Aldones, was soon nominated for a Hugo Award. Her novel The Forbidden Tower would also be nominated for a Hugo, and her The Heritage of Hastur received the Nebula Award nomination.

Bradley broke major ground with her 1983 The Mists of Avalon. The single most successful novel of her career, it won the 1984 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and has continued to rank among the top five trade paperback books on Locus's bestseller list. Meanwhile Bradley's Darkover novels attained such popularity that other authors began generating their own Darkover stories, which Bradley allowed to be collected together in anthologies and published for public consumption. Its women characters provided inspiring heroines for young female (and male) readers at a time when the women's movement had yet to find mass acceptance.

Marion Zimmer Bradley is credited with co-founding the Society for Creative Anachronism (a name she herself selected) in 1966. The Society is a hobbiest organization devoted to studying and recreating the Renaissance and Middle Ages -- primarily from Western Europe, but also from such regions as the Middle East and Japan.

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