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Marion Zimmer Bradley
Romas Kukalis
The Shadow Matrix (A Novel of Darkover)
DAW (reprint, paperback, 556 pages, $6.99/$8.99 Can)
Publication date: January 1, 1999 (First Printing: 1997)

Bradley's Darkover novels encompass one of the most enduring SF series the genre has seen. Set on the periphery of the Terran Empire, on a world where the discipline of telepathy has enabled almost magic-like powers, the Darkover series is one of the few to successfully straddle the border between SF and Fantasy. "Margaret Alton, daughter of Lew Alton, Darkover's Senator to the Terran Federation, has now returned to the planet of her birth. Not only must she learn to control her telepathic Gift, she has also been blessed -- or cursed -- with a mysterious Shadow Matrix, whose power she must harness or be consumed by its magical energy."
Review by Lela Olszewski
Photo: FPG
Heartlight (Ghostlight series, Volume 5)
Tor (hardcover, 416 pages, $25.95 US/$35.95 Can)
Publication date: September 23, 1998

Marion Zimmer Bradley is most famous for her Arthurian novels, which began with The Mists of Avalon, and for her Darkover SF series. She has also gathered enthusiastic fans around her supernatural suspense series, which began with The Inheritor and continued through Ghostlight, Witchlight, and Gravelight. This latest novel features many of the same characters from these earlier installments, in a tale which spans decades. Colin MacLarin -- occult hero, exorcist, and expert psychic -- returns from the horrors of World War II to discover a very changed America... one he vows to keep safe from the dark forces just beyond its borders.
Gravelight (Ghostlight, Book Three)
Tor (reprint, trade paperback, 350 pages, $14.95 US/$21 Can)
Publication date: October 5, 1998 (First Printing: September, 1997)

I'll admit I've had a tough time sorting out Bradley's series of modern occult novels, which began with Ghostlight in 1995 and continued with Witchlight (1996), Gravelight (1997), and ended last month with Heartlight. For one thing, they share some plotlines and characters with her early occult thrillers from Tor, Dark Satanic (1972), The Inheritor (1984), and Witch Hill (1990), but are not overtly connected. Fans of her early dark thrillers -- or contemporary horror in general -- will find a rich storyline to follow. "Wycherly Musgrave is the perfect, drunken, ne'er-do-well youngest brother -- but beneath his lighthearted manner lies a deep, dark secret: he believes he may have murdered a young woman in a drunken blackout. When he flees the family estate and turns to mind-reader Sinah for the answers to what happened on that terrible night, together they discover a vortex of evil power."
Review by Ann Benson
Michael Whelan
Sword and Sorceress XVI
DAW (paperback, 306 pages, $6.99/$8.99 Can)
Publication date: June 1, 1999

S&S volume sixteen. Most SF and fantasy magazines have fewer issues than that. The undying popularity of the subject matter, the quality of the prose, or the sheer tenacity of its editor? Some combo of them all, no doubt. "The sixteenth volume of Sword and Sorceress includes 25 all-original stories of strong, heroic women characters, female warriors and wizards who face down perils and come to the aid of those in need. Includes the fantasy fiction of Diana Paxson, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Deborah Wheeler, and Dorothy J. Heydt, as well as an introduction by Marion Zimmer Bradley."
[Cover] Witchlight
Tor trade paper
Durable reprint of the sequel to Ghostlight, and predecessor to this month's Gravelight. "As seeing objects literally shatter when she walks past them and animal corpses appear on her doorstep, Winter Musgrave, worried about her inability to recall her empty past, seeks the help of Truth Blackburn, only to learn that the truth rests in her old magical circle of friends. She learns that she must reconstruct the magical circle she had in college to end the evil surrounding her and save her life."
[Cover] Lady of Avalon (Avalon, Book 3)
Roc (reprint, trade paperback, 480 pages, $15.95 US)
Publication date: May 1998

Bradley's Arthurian novel The Mists of Avalon climbed to the top of bestseller charts around the world, and then hunkered down for a reign that lasted longer then Camelot. Tradition demanded a sequel, but it's tough to outdo the tale of King Arthur -- even for Bradley. So she produced The Forest House, which related the tale of Britain at the time of the Roman settlement. And now Lady of Avalon appears to link to two, in which she traces the High Priestess of Avalon and the sacrificial Sacred King through three cycles of reincarnation over almost 400 years. "Before the legend of Arthur and Camelot, there was Avalon, a beautiful island of golden vales and silver mists. In this land, three powerful priestesses shape the destiny of Roman Britain, as they fight to regain the magic and traditions of a glorious past." A 150,000 first printing (and $150,000 ad promo budget) hint that we're well out of the range of traditional SF midlist here.
Darkover Landfall
In honour of the June release of The Shadow Matrix, the latest volume in Bradley's famed Darkover series, this month DAW reprints four earlier titles in the epic fantasy saga. This volume is subtitled "Darkover: The Founding," and was originally published in 1978. If you haven't tried Darkover before, a feast awaits.
The Forbidden Tower
Originally published 1979, this volume is subtitled "Against the Terrans: The First Age."
Two to Conquer
Subtitled "The Hundred Kingdoms". Originally published in 1987.
Last of the Darkover reprints for the month, this volume is subtitled "The Age of Chaos." It originally appeared in 1988.
Lady of Avalon
Viking hard cover
Another big summer book, the kind that rests quite solidly next to the beach towel. This one is the link between Bradley's mammoth bestseller The Mists of Avalon and her more recent The Forest House, and it spans the creation of Avalon and foreshadows the birth of King Arthur.
The Shadow Matrix
Two hardcover releases in one month is more than enough for any writer. This time Bradley has managed to excite readers of both her Arthur series (above) and the fans of her equally epic Darkover novels. Margaret Alton, the daughter of Darkover's Senator to the Terran Federation, has finally returned to the planet of her birth. She's come in an attempt to master her own telepathic abilities, and also to learn as much as she can about the Shadow Matrix, which she must harness before she's consumed by it.
Exile's Song
Darkover novel, and sequel to The Heritage of Hastur. Margaret Alton is the daughter of Darkover's Senator to the Terran Federation, but for most of her life her father has been secretive about the strange planet of her birth. When she is sent her to Darkover she has only fleeting memories of a tumultuous childhood... but under the light of the Red Sun her mysterious heritage starts to propel her towards her destiny.
Thendara House
Another novel in the rich Darkover line.
[Cover] Sword and Sorceress XV
DAW paperback
Latest in the now well-established series which showcases women of might and magic, with stories from the likes of Diana Paxson, Deborah Wheeler and Paul Edwin Zimmer -- including the tale of an apprentice sorceress tasked to pass through the realm of the dead, a young fugitive who must unravel the mystery of a deadly curse, and a mercenary who finds herself in the employ of a dragon.

The Inheritor
Tor hard cover, trade paper
Hardcover reprint of the 1984 novel which Publishers Weekly called "An entertaining tale of contemporary 'magick' and self-discovery, with a strong heroine and a sophisticated treatment of magick."
Sword & Sorceress XIV
The venerable fantasy series returns in its fourteenth installment with a fresh collection of 26 Sword & Sorcery stories featuring heroic women and dangerous venues.
[Cover] The Gratitude of Kings
Roc hard cover
A brand new novella from the author of The Mists of Avalon. Lythande is a centuries-old magician masquerading as a young man. Summoned to the wedding of an old friend, Prince Tashgan, Lythande quickly discovers something is terribly wrong -- and soon she is entangled in the deadly intrigues of court, where shape-shifting creatures and black treachery challenge her own powers. With the future of the kingdom at stake, Lythande finds she must rely on a kind of magic born of friendship and faith, one that will need to be stronger than sorcery.
[Cover] Ghost Light
Tor trade paper
This is a fun book, not something you usually identify with MZB's work. Truth Jourdemayne is the daugther of famous sixties pop icon and magician who disappeared. Thirty years later, she returns to Shadow's Gate in upstate New York to research a biography of her famous father. There she finds the doomed mansion has been purchased by a dark and handsome stranger who plans to rebuild Thorne Blackburn's Work--and open the Way for the gods to walk the earth again. Well- paced, classic characters and a female hero you don't want to throttle for her stupidity--a perfect Halloween treat.
[Cover] Lady of the Trillium
Bantam Spectra paperback
The conclusion of the saga begun in Black Trillium, co- authored by Andre Norton and Julian May. That first novel (written by all three) introduced the story of the three Princesses and was followed by a single book written by an individual author dealing with her own character.
[Cover] Sword and Sorceress XII
DAW paperback
This is the latest installment in this anthology series of female heroes.
[Cover] The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine: Volume II
& Elizabeth Waters, ed.
Warner Aspect paperback
We don't think this needs an explanation--hmmm?


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