Hot Best Seller

The Heritage of Hastur

Availability: Ready to download

Described as "Bradley's best novel" by Locus, THE HERITAGE OF HASTUR, longest and most intricate of the Darkover books, is a brilliant epic of the pivotal event in the strange love-hate relationship between the Terran worlds and the semi-alien offspring of forgotten peoples. This is the novel of the Hastur tradition and of the showdown between those who would bargain away Described as "Bradley's best novel" by Locus, THE HERITAGE OF HASTUR, longest and most intricate of the Darkover books, is a brilliant epic of the pivotal event in the strange love-hate relationship between the Terran worlds and the semi-alien offspring of forgotten peoples. This is the novel of the Hastur tradition and of the showdown between those who would bargain away their world for the glories of star-borne science and those who would preserve the special "matrix" power that was at once the prize and the burden of ruddy-sunned Darkover. A Note From the Author: To the faithful followers of the chronicles of Darkover, whose greatest delight seems to be discovering even the most minute inconsistencies from book to book: This book tells a story which a great many of the friends of Darkover have asked me to tell - the story of the early life of Regis Hastur, and of the Sharra uprising, and of Lew Alton's first encounter with Marjorie Scott and the man who called himself Kadarin. The faithful followers mentioned above will discover a very few minute inconsistencies between the account herein, and the story as Lew Alton told it later. I make no apologies for these. The only explanation I can make is that in the years which elapsed between the events in this book, and the later novel dealing with the final destruction of the Sharra matrix, Lew's memories of these events may have altered his perceptions. Or, as I myself believe, the telepaths of the Arilinn Tower may have mercifully blurred his memories, to save his reason. MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY


Compare

Described as "Bradley's best novel" by Locus, THE HERITAGE OF HASTUR, longest and most intricate of the Darkover books, is a brilliant epic of the pivotal event in the strange love-hate relationship between the Terran worlds and the semi-alien offspring of forgotten peoples. This is the novel of the Hastur tradition and of the showdown between those who would bargain away Described as "Bradley's best novel" by Locus, THE HERITAGE OF HASTUR, longest and most intricate of the Darkover books, is a brilliant epic of the pivotal event in the strange love-hate relationship between the Terran worlds and the semi-alien offspring of forgotten peoples. This is the novel of the Hastur tradition and of the showdown between those who would bargain away their world for the glories of star-borne science and those who would preserve the special "matrix" power that was at once the prize and the burden of ruddy-sunned Darkover. A Note From the Author: To the faithful followers of the chronicles of Darkover, whose greatest delight seems to be discovering even the most minute inconsistencies from book to book: This book tells a story which a great many of the friends of Darkover have asked me to tell - the story of the early life of Regis Hastur, and of the Sharra uprising, and of Lew Alton's first encounter with Marjorie Scott and the man who called himself Kadarin. The faithful followers mentioned above will discover a very few minute inconsistencies between the account herein, and the story as Lew Alton told it later. I make no apologies for these. The only explanation I can make is that in the years which elapsed between the events in this book, and the later novel dealing with the final destruction of the Sharra matrix, Lew's memories of these events may have altered his perceptions. Or, as I myself believe, the telepaths of the Arilinn Tower may have mercifully blurred his memories, to save his reason. MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY

30 review for The Heritage of Hastur

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Before picking up this book, I had read eight Darkover novels, generally in the order of their publication. What, I wondered, drew so many readers to them? Some of them were truly awful, while others were enjoyable, but not great. Then I got to The Heritage of Hastur, and it has given me an "a-ha moment." In previous works, Darkover as a world was much more compelling than any of its inhabitants, whose personalities melted into sameness. Dialogue tended to be stiff, the narrative erratic. Yet, Before picking up this book, I had read eight Darkover novels, generally in the order of their publication. What, I wondered, drew so many readers to them? Some of them were truly awful, while others were enjoyable, but not great. Then I got to The Heritage of Hastur, and it has given me an "a-ha moment." In previous works, Darkover as a world was much more compelling than any of its inhabitants, whose personalities melted into sameness. Dialogue tended to be stiff, the narrative erratic. Yet, this fictional planet, with its Darkovan and Terran populace in constant friction, surrounded by the planet's native inhabitants who are at turns beautiful and deadly -- what rich material to mine! With The Heritage of Hastur, Bradley has produced a tale with believably motivated -- and believable -- characters. The complex plot involves two young men who question the society from which they come and to which they feel indebted. Each considers casting off his destiny among the highest caste of Darkover, and each must struggle with demons within and without before finding his path. Lew and Regis have appeared in other Darkover novels, both as older and younger characters, but here we get to the heart of their transition into adulthood and their profound effect on Darkovan society. This book, and its place in the universe of Darkover novels, is brought to light in an excellent introduction by the late Susan Wood (in the 1977 Gregg Press edition). Her comments about Bradley's earlier Darkover works helped me to understand my own reactions to them, and helped me see that part of the reason I found them so poor is that they were written during a time when science fiction publishers expected quick-reading, quickly-written, happy-ending paperback adventures. The Heritage of Hastur gives the reader so much more; and yes, it can stand alone without one's having read other Darkover books. I recommend it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Dhu

    The Heritage of Hastur (pub. 1975) and its immediate sequel, Sharra's Exile (pub. 1981) are in some ways the heart of the Darkovan cycle - they mark the end of the Comyn and the sociopolitical structure of Darkover as it was and, as Regis Hastur comes into his own, the beginnings of a new Darkover (which would be penned, not by Bradley, but by her successors Adrienne Martine-Barnes and Deborah J. Ross from outlines and notes). The Heritage of Hastur details the events surrounding Regis' coming of The Heritage of Hastur (pub. 1975) and its immediate sequel, Sharra's Exile (pub. 1981) are in some ways the heart of the Darkovan cycle - they mark the end of the Comyn and the sociopolitical structure of Darkover as it was and, as Regis Hastur comes into his own, the beginnings of a new Darkover (which would be penned, not by Bradley, but by her successors Adrienne Martine-Barnes and Deborah J. Ross from outlines and notes). The Heritage of Hastur details the events surrounding Regis' coming of age, amid the unleashing of Sharra, the powerful matrix we saw before in The Winds of Darkover. It is also a key part of the ongoing conversation about the position of Darkover within the Terran Empire. In all these strands of the narrative, the one common theme is responsibility for and abuse of power. In a sense, the true heritage of Hastur - and all Comyn are called the children of Hastur - is a heritage of extreme privilege and power, and its potential for abuse, as much as it is a heritage of responsibility. As Danvan Hastur acknowledges, "In the far-back days, we were given power and privilege because we served our people, not because we ruled them. Then we began to believe we had these powers and privileges because of some innate superiority in ourselves, as if having laran made us so much better than other people that we could do exactly as we pleased." As the novel opens, relations between Terrans and Darkovans have once more grown tense, and the key issue is the Compact - an agreement banning all long-distance weapons that holds sway throughout the six lowland Domains. The Empire has technically agreed not to allow such weapons to be taken out of the Terran Zone in Thendara, but Terran officials do not really take the agreement seriously, or enforce it rigorously, and they have allowed the sale of range weapons in Alderan territory - realising that the compact exists to protect all Darkovans from the devastating matrix weapons - like Sharra. Again, this conflict adds to the themes of responsibility, power and abuse that inform all the narrative strands of the novel. This narrative focuses on two young men - Regis Hastur and Lewis Alton - whose circumstances and experiences are in some ways counterpointed, but in other ways parallel. Regis is the grandson of Danvan Hastur (and great-grandson of Lorill Hastur), heir to the most powerful family on Darkover, the hereditary Regents of the Crown - a vital role, as many of the Elhalyn, hereditary Kings of Darkover, have been incompetent or even mad in recent generations. But Regis doesn't want to be the de-facto ruler of Darkover, he longs for the stars. Unlike the Comyn he is destined to lead, he appears to be almost completely lacking in laran - testing indicates he has the potential, but that it has been blocked from normal development. Lew Alton is also the heir to a powerful Domain, but unlike Regis, he has had to fight to be recognised. He is the son of Kennard Alton (last seen as a boy in Star of Danger) and Elaine Montray, who is half Terran, half Darkovan, but of the outcast Aldaran Domain, who Kennard met and fell in love with on Earth. Although Kennard married Elaine di catenas - the most formal style of marriage - the Comyn refused to acknowledge his marriage and Lew has always been treated by most as a bastard, carrying both the barbarian blood of the Terrans and the traitor's blood of the Aldarans. In order to have his son declared as his heir, Kennard was forced to prove before witnesses that Lew carried the Alton Gift of forced rapport by forcing rapport on him - an act that might have killed Lew if he did not in fact have the gift. Only in the Towers, where Lew proved to be a powerful and skilled matrix technician, has he felt truly welcome, although he has won some degree of acceptance among the Guards, where he serves as an officer and his father's second - the Altons being the hereditary commanders of the Guard. The events of the novel do in fact begin in the Guard, where Regis is beginning his duties as a cadet, where Kennard is Commander and both Lew and Kennard's cousin and childhood friend Dyan Ardais - the Lord of that Domain - are officers, as is Regis' brother-in-law (and Lew's cousin) Gabriel Lanart-Hastur. Also in his first year as a cadet is Danilo Syrtis, son of a minor Comyn house whose older brother was paxman and sword brother to Regis' father - both of whom were killed by bandits carrying Terran weapons. As new cadets, Regis and Danilo initially become friends, but are driven apart by the actions of Dyan. As cadet master, he has the power to make any cadet's life a living hell, and when Danilo refuses his sexual advances, Dyan uses not only his official power but also his laran to torment the young man. At the same time, Dyan attempts a gentle seduction of Regis - the difference in his approach to the two being that he sees Regis as a social equal and Danilo as a social inferior. Before too long, Danilo has rejected Regis' friendship and, driven to desperation by Dyan's action, draws a knife on Dyan and is sent home in disgrace. Meanwhile, Kennard has asked Lew to travel to Aldaran to investigate the situation with respect to Terran weapons there, under the pretext of visiting his Lord Kermiac and his other Alderan kinfolk. When Lew, who has seen Dyan in action before, witnesses the public disgrace of Danilo and senses what was behind Danilo's reaction, goes to Kennard in protest, his father will not listen to him. Lew leaves for Aldaran, but with a heart filled with anger and disgust at the abuses of power he has witnessed. Arriving at Castle Alderan he is welcomed into the family as the grandson of Kermiac's sister Meriel. Here he meets his cousin, Kermiac's son Beltran, Kermiac's wards, Thyra, Marjorie and Rafe Scott, and the mysterious Raymon Kadarin, and is drawn into their plan to recreate the old pre-Compact matrix sciences, using the Sharra matrix. As he works with Kadarin and the others, training them to be a working circle, he and Marjorie begin to fall in love, despite the fact that Lew has determined that Marjorie is the one best suited to serve as the circle's Keeper. Regis, having completed his first year of training, travels to visit his sister; en route, he stops at Danilo's home, where the two renew their friendship, and Regis, learning what really happened to him, swears to make it right. On his return to Thendara, despite being ill with threshold sickness, a malady that often strikes telepaths whose laran has awakened, he confronts first his grandfather and then Kennard with the knowledge of Dyan's abuse. Kennard, reading his mind and the images he carries from Danilo's mind, is shocked, but accepts Dyan's guilt. He also realises that Danilo is a catalyst telepath, a rare gift thought to be extinct, and contact with him can stimulate latent laran - and that contact with Danilo is what has woken Regis' powers. With the promise that justice will be done, Regis returns to Syrtis with Gabriel who is to take Regis to Neskaya for laran training and then bring Danilo back to Thendara, but they discover that Danilo has been kidnapped by the Aldarans. Gabriel returns to Thendara to report the crime. Regis promises to wait for Gabriel at his seat in Edelweiss, but instead, he pauses long enough to name Gabriel and Javanne's youngest son his heir, and sets out to find Danilo. In Alderan, Lew is horrified when he learns that Beltran has kidnapped Danilo, particularly since he himself, having guessed Danilo's gift, had speculated about asking Danilo to join their circle and use his gift to help more latent telepaths find their powers. Kermiac chastises Beltran, and when Regis arrives, assures him that both he and Danilo are guests under his roof and will come to no harm, and will be allowed to leave when the weather is better. Lew comes to the realisation that working with Sharra is corrupting all of them, awakening lust for power and dulling their consciences, he decides that they must return Sharra to the forge folk and find another way to bring about their goals. But when Kermiac dies suddenly, Beltran imprisons Regis and Danilo, and tries to force Lew to continue working with the Sharra circle. Marjorie rescues the three captives, and they flee Aldaran Castle. Lew and Marjorie set out to bring word of the Sharra circle to Arilinn, while Regis and Danilo head toward Thendara. Lew and Marjorie are recaptured, and Lew is drugged and, now controlled by Kadarin, returns to the Sharra circle. As Sharra rages, destroying the city of Caer Donn and the Terran Spaceport there, telepaths across Darkover feel the impact, and a force is sent from Thendara to stop the fires, no matter what. Regis and Danilo meet the party, led by Kennard and Dyan, on the road, and head back with them toward Alderan. Marjorie convinces Kadarin to let Lew recover from the drugs, and together they decide that Sharra must be stopped, even if it takes their deaths - and the deaths of everyone in the Sharra circle - to close the dimensional gateway that fuels it. As they enter the circle and prepare to attempt it, Kennard finally reaches Lew and adds his power to theirs. The gateway is sealed, but Lew is gravely wounded and Marjorie close to death; with the strength of desperation, Lew manages to teleport himself and Marjorie to Arilinn, but it is too late for Marjorie. Despite the closing of the gateway, the Sharra matrix remains too powerful to be left on Darkover where its power could be raised again; Kennard decides to leave Darkover, taking the matrix and Lew with him, hoping that Terran medicine can heal wounds that Darkovan psi power cannot. The Terrans, now aware of just what kind of long-range weapons the Compact was made to control, promise to do their part in keeping it. Dyan accepts responsibility for his abuse of Danilo, and names him heir to Ardais as recompense. And Regis relinquishes his dream of the stars and takes his place as the Hastur heir on the Council. Hard lessons have been learned - at least for a time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    I didn't start this until after I'd read quite a few other Darkover books, so I wasn't quite at sea (not really possible, on Darkover, from what I can tell). I already had an idea of who Danvan Hastur was, for example, and why he was fighting a rearguard action, trying to slow Darkover's absorption into the Terran Empire, and temper it so it wasn't quite so much a patron/client matter. Regis Hastur is a character to throw shadows, even at this young age. He's still diffident and fumbling, but is I didn't start this until after I'd read quite a few other Darkover books, so I wasn't quite at sea (not really possible, on Darkover, from what I can tell). I already had an idea of who Danvan Hastur was, for example, and why he was fighting a rearguard action, trying to slow Darkover's absorption into the Terran Empire, and temper it so it wasn't quite so much a patron/client matter. Regis Hastur is a character to throw shadows, even at this young age. He's still diffident and fumbling, but is beginning to develop into the figure who must eventually become so legendary that the human truth is lost. His love story with Danilo Syrtis makes me realize that that's one of the main cavils I have with Bradley's love stories. Too often, people are presented as not in love, then as in love, with no real explanation of how they got from one state to another. Lew Alton's story (told, confusingly, in the first person, where Regis' is told in third person) is more complicated in one way, and in another it's just incoherent. Part of this is inevitable: since he spends part of the story drugged out of his mind, his version of things would necessarily be fragmentary. A third-person omniscient narration would actually contribute to the story in this case--though it would, perhaps, reveal too much. Dyan Ardais, who is not a viewpoint character in any book, is an even more complex character. Some things are obvious. Anybody who's seen Kyril Ardais (Dyan's father) in earlier (as pertains to Darkovan chronology) books will recognize that he probably wouldn't have made a very good stab at fatherhood even BEFORE he went mad. Sending his son to Nevarsin was probably a good plan. Sending his daughters to Arilinn didn't work out quite as well. But that raises the question--where does Rohana Ardais (Dyan's grandmother) fit into this? Kyril insisted on taking over as Lord Ardais on his father's death, without a regency. But Rohana almost certainly didn't die right away after her husband's death. Where DID she go? What part did she play in the lives of her kin? Why does she just seem to disappear? Maybe she went off and became a Free Amazon after all? But this seems improbable. She had too much of a sense of responsibility to the Comyn. Something of a mystery there. I should point out that Regis' experience with threshold sickness would have been less grueling (it became so severe as to be potentially fatal, which was apparently much less common by this time) has mainly to do with his strange rejection of his homosexuality. It's not clear why he was so panic-stricken when he first realized these tendencies. Darkovan society seems to have no major prejudices against homosexuals, besides considering such relationships 'immature'. This is tied more to the realization of an extremely limited genetic pool than anything else--but as Regis himself discovers, homosexuality doesn't necessarily preclude reproductive affairs. So why was he so afraid that he blocked off his nascent laran? This book, I should add, is one of the ones in which chronology becomes very knotty. There are mutterings in other works about the inconsistencies resulting from the fact that Terrans seem to have arrived on Darkover at least a thousand years before the first spaceships left Earth. The implication is that the early matter/antimatter drives may have had some sort of time travel effect--but this would have complicated reciprocal travel significantly--and at least one of the passengers on the colonizing ship had already been to several colonies, and expected to return to Earth at least once more. Perhaps there was some other element causing temporal anomalies, which didn't occur on all journeys? By the period when Regis Hastur reached pubescence, the relatively imprecise (imprecisely relative?) chronologies start becoming really troublesome. It's established in short stories that the Terrans made (re)contact with the long-isolated Darkover at the time when the twins Leonie and Lorill Hastur were still youngsters (probably not older than 20, but it's necessary to make allowances for the different length of Darkovan and Terran years). Both Lorill and Leonie lived long lives (Hasturs often do), and both of them probably died at over the age of 90. Leonie was aging even when Callista Lanart-Alton was a little girl. But 'aging' is not a very precise descriptor. By the time of The Forbidden Tower, Leonie is almost certainly over 70, but it's not clear how MUCH older. So assuming she was 20 when the first Terrans landed near Caer Dunn, it would have been about 50 years between the arrival of the 1st representatives of the Terran 'Empire' on Darkover, and the time Andrew Carr landed at the spaceport near Thendara. Lorill Hastur was still Regent of the Domains at this time, but his son (? grandson? Given his age, Danvan was probably either a lateborn son or a grandson, since he was a very young man at the time) was already taking on some of the duties of Regent at the time. Lorill apparently predeceased his sister, and by the time of the preface to later editions of The Bloody Sun, Leonie is stated to have died late in Damon Ridenow's life. Cleindori, who was Damon's daughter, was a full-grown woman by that time--but the definition of 'full-grown' is somewhat tricky: children are considered adult by Darkovan standards at 15--which is probably nearly 18 in Earth years. So assuming that Leonie died at over 90 (for ease in figuring, say she was 100), this means that Danvan took over as full-time regent probably around the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Terran Spaceforce on Darkover to set up a spaceport to facilitate travel through the Empire. Regis is Danvan's grandson. Danvan's son Rafael was killed at a very young age: but he already had a nearly adult daughter (Javanne) by the time Regis was born. Regis is a posthumous child, born a few months after his father's death. So assuming that Rafael was born when Danvan was a relatively young man (not over 25, say), and that Regis was born when his sister was at least 12, and further assuming that Javanne was born when her father was not over 20, we have to allow more than 70 years between the time of the founding of the Forbidden Tower and the time of the Sharra Rebellion. In fact, it's established fairly early in this book that Danvan is over 90 by the time of this book. Regis is just 15, and newly returned from Nevarsin at the beginning of the book. He was fostered at Armida (almost certainly after Cleindori died, because Cleindori died when Lew Alton's father, Kennard, was still a young man--and Kennard and Cleindori were foster-siblings). Regis would probably have been fostered out at about the age of 6 or 7, since he remembers Javanne trying to mother him in his early years. In this book, the newly-adult Regis (probably about 16 at the time) names his nephew Mikhail as his heir. Mikhail's age is given as 3 at the time. This establishes the bare skeleton of a chronology, and relative times for other stories can be established based on this substrate.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chuck

    For those who want to read the Darkover series, I would have to say that this is the novel to start with. It's engaging and exciting enough to interest you in the series, and these characters, and this timeline, are central to the Darkover canon. As someone who's read approximately 20 Bradley titles this year, this book is the missing link, the one that explains so much of what I've read before. Set in the last timeline of the Darkover series, what is essentially the 'present day' at Bradley For those who want to read the Darkover series, I would have to say that this is the novel to start with. It's engaging and exciting enough to interest you in the series, and these characters, and this timeline, are central to the Darkover canon. As someone who's read approximately 20 Bradley titles this year, this book is the missing link, the one that explains so much of what I've read before. Set in the last timeline of the Darkover series, what is essentially the 'present day' at Bradley conceives it, the novel tells the tale of young Regis Hastur (who becomes one of the two or three most important characters in the whole series), who has come to Thendara at the request his grandfather, the Regent and ruler of Darkover. Regis does not have laran, the telepathic ability that is much prized and is expected of the Comyn, the ruling class of Darkover. He wishes to escape, to go off planet, to go to the stars amongst the Terrans. He has no wish to become Regent, to assume the duties expected of him as a member of the Hastur clan. He strikes a deal with his grandfather--to serve three years in the City Guards, the Darkover equivalent of the military. If, at the end of this time, Regis does not show any trace of laran and still wishes to leave, he may. Regis' story is interspersed with that of Lew Alton, a part Terran whose status as Comyn is dubious; although he is the legitimate son of Kennard Alton, the Lord of a Domain, his Terran blood makes him highly suspect. Regis is a young adult at is one of the officers in the Guard. In the past, he has been friends with Regis, but the gap between them--Lew is a commanding officer, Regis a cadet, and at the same time, Regis is a potential monarch, and, in theory, all would be "under" him in society's pecking order. While in the Guards, Regis befriends Danilo Syrtis, a character who will be very recognizable to Darkover fans and who actually appears in more novels than does Regis. Danilo is also young, and is from an honorable but poor family. He is very attractive, and is preyed on my an abusive older noble named Dyan Ardis; ultimately, Danilo is forced from the officer corps and sent home in disgrace on Ardis' word. Regis is furious; despite the fact that the two young me part on poor terms, Regis is determined to defend Danilo and see Ardis' industice undone. Lew ,in the meantime, is sent to the remote province of Alderaan, which is accused of dealing "on the side" with Terrans, purchasing illegal weapons. He is sent off by his father to deal with this issue. The writing is tight, engaging, fast. Lot of good action, lots of interesting explorations and of gender and sexuality, a characteristic of Bradley's best fiction. Interestingly, all the protagonists are male, unusual in a feminist author. Al the characters are well done; interestingly, this the only Darkover book that has any first person narration. A la Dickens Bleak House, the novel shifts back and forth between omniscient narration and first person "I" narration; Lew is the first person narrator. Really good; many reviews say this is Bradley's best, or was at the time. I can't say it's not excellent, but I think this book signals the beginning of Bradley's truly great phrase, when she will write Thendara House and the rest of the Renunciates seriews, which she will sustain to the end of her life with Traitor's Sun. I'd put this near the top-rank, with Thendara House and Traitor's Sun being her her absolute best. The only thing that mars the book is some clumsy foreshadowing in the Lew Alton sections; perhaps, unfamiliar with this point of view technique, she's not as fully in control of it as she is with her other narrative methods.

  5. 5 out of 5

    else fine

    I recently finished yet another re-read of the Darkover books. There are mixed feelings about Bradley in the sf community: most people agree that "Mists of Avalon" is a good book, but opinions are pretty divided about the rest of her work. Literary fantasy fans in particular tend to turn their noses up at Darkover, with its clumsy moralizing, soap-opera style plots, and occasionally sloppy writing ("Two to Conquer", for instance, is actually unreadable). These criticisms are accurate, but I recently finished yet another re-read of the Darkover books. There are mixed feelings about Bradley in the sf community: most people agree that "Mists of Avalon" is a good book, but opinions are pretty divided about the rest of her work. Literary fantasy fans in particular tend to turn their noses up at Darkover, with its clumsy moralizing, soap-opera style plots, and occasionally sloppy writing ("Two to Conquer", for instance, is actually unreadable). These criticisms are accurate, but detractors are, I think, missing a more important point. Darkover maintains a devoted fan base. The books are constantly being brought back into print, and continue to find new generations of fans. I believe the enduring appeal lies in the completeness of the vision of Darkover. It's one of the best-developed fantasy worlds in the history of fantasy worlds - I know that's a tall claim, especially from a Dune fan, but bear with me. Reading any Darkover book gives you the feeling of looking in on a real world, with a concrete sense of history, geography, climate, and culture. Language, social mores, slang, crafts, industries, dress - these vary from place to place and from time to time throughout the novels, giving you the sense of a complex society in slow but constant motion, adding to the sense of realism. As an example of world-building, Darkover is hard to top. I think that Darkover achieved this level of complexity and detail because it is, in a sense, a collectively built world. Fan fic, hated by writers though it may be, is and always has been an intrinsic part of sf nerd culture. Bradley took the unlikely step of embracing her fan fic and declaring it canonical. She accepted stories and published them in anthologies with her seal of approval, cartographically inclined fans drew her maps, musical fans composed songs, linguist fans mapped out the evolution of the languages spoken by her characters, and fans into handcrafts contributed their expertise. In a way, Darkover was the first open-source fantasy project, and the diversity of talents and perspectives that converged on the narrative gave it a richness and depth of detail that a single author would find hard to match.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jackie "the Librarian"

    Set on the planet Darkover, a lost colony of Terra. The humans who landed there have developed a feudal system of government, and have interbred with the reclusive indigenous people. Their new environment led to some families developing specific psychic abilities, and becoming leaders of the government. The Heritage of Hastur relates the intertwined histories of Regis Hastur, the future ruler of Darkover, in his days as a youth training in the guards, and Lew Alton, son of a powerful ruling Set on the planet Darkover, a lost colony of Terra. The humans who landed there have developed a feudal system of government, and have interbred with the reclusive indigenous people. Their new environment led to some families developing specific psychic abilities, and becoming leaders of the government. The Heritage of Hastur relates the intertwined histories of Regis Hastur, the future ruler of Darkover, in his days as a youth training in the guards, and Lew Alton, son of a powerful ruling family, who is bitter about having a Terran mother. Both young men get caught up in political and personal struggles that effect how they view their sexual identities and psychic abilities. They come into contact with a faction that holds a wild matrix from the Ages of Chaos, a faceted gemstone that enhances psychic ability, and in this case, houses a dangerous power of its own. This is not a book for people who have issues with same-sex relationships. But it is an excellent story of power vs. responsibility, love vs. duty, and the lure of powerful forces to lead people into horrible decisions. This was, and is, top-notch SF that was progressive in its day.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    I inherited a whole stack of Darkover books and have found the right order to read them in. No wonder I didn't get The Bloody Sun... Enjoyed this one very much, although the male-female relationships still give me the creeps. The amount of slender women fainting is just ridiculous in this day and age. But the Darkover universe is growing on me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maddalenah

    It was a very strange feeling, slipping into a book that I've read so many times in the past, especially since I don't really re-read books these days. It's been seven years since the last time I "set foot" on Darkover, and even longer (I guess... almost twenty years?) since the time this books were my absolute everything, the other universe in which I spent so much time and that shaped my way of thinking about so many things (I was barely a teenager, everything I chose to read at the time ended It was a very strange feeling, slipping into a book that I've read so many times in the past, especially since I don't really re-read books these days. It's been seven years since the last time I "set foot" on Darkover, and even longer (I guess... almost twenty years?) since the time this books were my absolute everything, the other universe in which I spent so much time and that shaped my way of thinking about so many things (I was barely a teenager, everything I chose to read at the time ended up being quite formative, one way or another). Really, this is a perfect YA book even though it's really not meant to be a YA book: both Regis and Lew are teenagers (or at least very teenager-y in their way of thinking and acting), every emotion is OH SO INTENSE and OH SO RAPIDLY MUTABLE, the struggles they face are very much relating to identity and one's position in the world. Really, I don't blame my teenage self for liking them so much (though I had to wonder if they really were the right books for me at the time - if the fact that I liked them so much meant that I found a mirror in the pages, or if it's what I read at the time that informed my view of the world). This is not a bad book. It is also not a great book. The writing is repetitive and verbose, the characters are shallow beneath a facade of highly introspective depth, EVERYTHING HAPPENS IN SUCH LITTLE TIME THAT IS CLEARLY UNBELIEVABLE. And yet, I was in a certain mood this day, a teenager-y mood maybe, and coming back to this felt like being back with your old friends, and sated a certain need for angst that had been weeling inside me. The adult I am now wish there was a little more subtlety there, but I guess you can't have everything. (also, IS MASTURBATION NOT A THING ON DARKOVER? I mean, when they were working on Sharra and Lew ended up having RAPE DREAMS because of all the pentup sexual energy that he COULDN'T POSSIBLY EASE because Thyra wasn't tower trained... what about a little self love man? Come on!)

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Loyd

    A Darkover novel. In this novel the comyn council is worried about Terran weapons being brought and sold outside the Terran zone. This is not happening at Thendara, but rather at the spaceport at Caer Donn in the Aldaran domain. We alternately follow youngsters Regis Hastur and Lew Alton. Regis is has been studying at Nevarsin. After three year studying at the monastery and not developing laran he wants to go off world. His grandfather says if he feels the same after three years in the guard he A Darkover novel. In this novel the comyn council is worried about Terran weapons being brought and sold outside the Terran zone. This is not happening at Thendara, but rather at the spaceport at Caer Donn in the Aldaran domain. We alternately follow youngsters Regis Hastur and Lew Alton. Regis is has been studying at Nevarsin. After three year studying at the monastery and not developing laran he wants to go off world. His grandfather says if he feels the same after three years in the guard he will let him. Regis strikes up a friendship with fellow cadet Danilo. Unbeknownst to Regis, head instructor Dyan Ardais is giving Danilo a hard time. Lew Alton is being pushed by his aging father Kennard to have more responsibility. When Kennard is injured in a fall, he puts Lew in charge of the Guard. Including his friend Regis who is a brand new cadet. Kennard also needs to send someone to Aldaran to talk them about the illegal weapons. Lew just happens to be part Aldaran, on his mother's side, so he's an ideal candidate. By this time there has been fighting between Lew and Kennard, so when he gets to Aldaran he is kind of amenable to their plans. There is an ebb and flow of emotions and relationships. Like Regis wanting nothing more than to have laran, and once he has it, maybe it's not what he wanted. I don't want to turn any one off by saying that it's like the plot of a soap opera with a few added in scifi elements and the Darkover aura, because it was fun to read and had a great flow. The Darkover books are all self-contained with slight differences. There's always tension between the Terrans and Darkovans, sometimes less, sometimes almost a complete segregation is necessary. This book is the first one I've read that mentioned a spaceport anywhere other than Thendara.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Poltz

    This is my first MZB novel, and I was reassured by a lot of the reviews I read that although this is book nine in the Darkover series, this was the one to start with. It did stand on its own, with a fairly self-contained story, and characters introduced as if it were a stand-alone novel. The world building is also quite exceptional and the plot complex and interesting. Yet I didn’t feel that the sum of its parts added up to a satisfying whole. I chose this book because it is considered important This is my first MZB novel, and I was reassured by a lot of the reviews I read that although this is book nine in the Darkover series, this was the one to start with. It did stand on its own, with a fairly self-contained story, and characters introduced as if it were a stand-alone novel. The world building is also quite exceptional and the plot complex and interesting. Yet I didn’t feel that the sum of its parts added up to a satisfying whole. I chose this book because it is considered important in LGBTQ speculative fiction history in its portrayal of a gay main character in mainstream speculative literature. (I use “speculative” here because it’s something of a cross between science fiction and fantasy). The book is good, but not as great as I was expecting, or hoping, it would be. Come visit my blog for the full review… https://itstartedwiththehugos.blogspo...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    This was the first Darkover book I read, back when I was spending part of summer vacation at my grandmother's house. Their library had a lot of 70s and 80s sci-fi and fantasy, and there was a whole shelf of Darkover books. I picked this one first--I no longer remember the reasons why--and it was good enough then that I went back and read almost all of the other Darkover books I could find, even the ones like The World Wreckers that I found almost completely incoherent. I went back to The This was the first Darkover book I read, back when I was spending part of summer vacation at my grandmother's house. Their library had a lot of 70s and 80s sci-fi and fantasy, and there was a whole shelf of Darkover books. I picked this one first--I no longer remember the reasons why--and it was good enough then that I went back and read almost all of the other Darkover books I could find, even the ones like The World Wreckers that I found almost completely incoherent. I went back to The Heritage of Hastur to see if it holds up, and I'm glad to say that it does. At its base, the book is about power and duty. Noblesse oblige, in other words, which makes a lot more sense as a concept in a world where the nobility has psychic powers to the extent that having psychic powers is a requirement for wielding power as Comyn. Both Regis and Lew are born to privilege, and they follow opposite paths. Regis starts out believing that he'll never be able to inherit because (he thinks) he doesn't have laran, and so he is determined to leave Darkover behind and take a Terran starship out to the rest of the Empire until his grandfather extracts a promise from him to spend three seasons in the Thendara guards. From there, he gets tied tighter and tighter into the web of Comyn society that he originally expected to abandon until he willingly takes the oath of service to the Comyn Council. Lew's path, the other narrative voice in the book, is perpendicular to Regis's. The son of a Terran mother, his father spent a ton of political capital to have him acknowledged as the legitimate heir, and he spends much of the book working in the service of the Comyn, first in the guard and then as an emissary to the breakaway Aldaran domain. But once in Aldaran, he gets caught up in a plan to go over the Comyn Council's heads and prove to the Terrans that Darkover laran is just as valuable as scientific progress. When it all ends in fire and death, his father defies the council and takes Lew off world, away from Darkovan society. I liked the way the perspective of each narrative reinforced the themes. Regis's sections are in third person, which ties in to the way that he's buffeted by society and eventually, bound by ties of fealty, bows to the whims of his elders. Lew's sections are in first person, showing how he increasingly relies on his own judgement over what is best for his world and how to serve Darkover. That was well done. It did make the Dyan Ardais abuse plotline in the first third of the book almost painful to read, though. It would be one thing if Bradley had been subtle about what was going on, but she wasn't, and the main takeaway I had was that Regis was an idiot who was incapable of recognizing the obvious. Sure, you could say it runs parallel to his initial belief that he lacks laran, rendering him at a huge disadvantage in a telepathic society, and that his understanding of Dyan's crimes parallels his awakening to mental world of the Comyn nobility...but it just seemed heavy-handed to me. Also, knowing what we now know about Bradley and her husband, it was really uncomfortable to read. Once that was done and the plot was devoted to the Sharra matrix, though, these complaints vanished and I had a lot of fun following the plotline to its end, although the foreshadowing was so heavy that it would have been obvious what was going to happen even if I hadn't read the book before. It did leave me with a lot of questions about exactly how laran works and the limits of its powers, since Lew comments that a single laranzu with a matrix can lift a helicopter by themselves and a circle using the Sharra matrix could pull a moon out of orbit. I know laran's power has always been determined by the limits of plot, and there's the time where it was indistinguishable from sorcery as an excuse for how its powers are shadowy and mysterious, but my major problem with the Darkover books is that it feels like laran has no rules at all. It just does what it needs to when the author needs it to, and that makes it hard to buy in to the worldbuilding. That's not a major problem in The Heritage of Hastur, where the major takeaway is just that laran is incredibly and indefinably powerful and the specifics don't matter, but it does make it difficult to determine whether the "some things are too dangerous to be used" message is actually true or not when we don't know how powerful or useful laran is normally. I did like the contrast drawn between Terran society, which relies on the law to protect people, and Darkover, where every man of age carries a sword and is expected to answer a challenge. I especially liked it when the book pointed out that this was mostly a empty custom and that Comyn lords almost never had to actually fight duels because it's a wasteful practice that just gets good people killed. All in all, pretty satisfying. This may be labeled as #18 here, but it's a great intro to Darkover and I would have been fine even if I hadn't read any of the other books beforehand. I look forward to reading more Darkover books and seeing if they're also as good as I remember them. Next Review: Sharra's Exile.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Janina

    This was a re-read for the Popsugar Challenge (book you loved as a child) and while I wouldn't necessarily say that I fell as deeply in love with the novel as before (I used to dream of moving to Darkover), it still is among my favorite books of all times (and certainly among the Darkover novels). Maybe next year, I'll get around to re-reading more of them ...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elaine H. Menard

    This is one of my most favorite books ever. Not all of the much-later stories read as well, but this one packs an emotional punch. I found Bradley in college 30+years ago and still find some of her writing to be relevant.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    When an over-confident group of psi-talented young people gets hold of a powerful matrix, they think they can control it and remake the cultures of Darkover to suit themselves. They don’t realize to whom they are tools, and to what extent. Read 3 times

  15. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne Day

    My first Darkover book. It's currently available as an audio book through Brilliance Audio, and it is very well done!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    Regis Hastur is the male Hastur heir, but he has no laran. He has unknowingly put up barriers of his own to block his laran. It will take a rare catalyst telepath to unlock his laran and break down those barriers. In addition to all of this, Regis his hiding more than just his laran from himself. He will be forced to face and acknowledge this in order to take his place as Hastur heir. Regis truly dreams of taking off in the powerful and impressive spacecrafts and traveling off world, across the Regis Hastur is the male Hastur heir, but he has no laran. He has unknowingly put up barriers of his own to block his laran. It will take a rare catalyst telepath to unlock his laran and break down those barriers. In addition to all of this, Regis his hiding more than just his laran from himself. He will be forced to face and acknowledge this in order to take his place as Hastur heir. Regis truly dreams of taking off in the powerful and impressive spacecrafts and traveling off world, across the galaxy. (view spoiler)[ When Regis asks his grandfather permission to enter the Terran Empire Space Service, he is infuriated. Regis compromises with his grandfather, and promises that he will serve three years in the City Guard, before making his decision to leave Darkover for unknown and glorious Terran adventure. Now being hazed by other cadets for being Comyn and under the command of his boyhood friend, his laran shows itself. And because his laran is open to him, he faces the reality that his dream will not be realized to come to fruition. He will have to live up to his Hastur heritage and become the next ruling Hastur. (hide spoiler)] Empire citizens are selling blasters in the market place of Caer Donn, (a renegade Domain exiled from Comyn generations ago). This black market selling is in direct violation of the Terrans agreement to Darkovan’s Compact. With political power struggles, no one takes responsibility to right the problem. Lew, (Kennard’s half-Terran son and the only one of his two sons recognized by Comyn), will travel to Castle Aldaran to confront Lord Kermiac about this violation. (view spoiler)[Regis becomes alienated by his new best friend, the cadet Danilo, who is also a catalyst telepath who opened Regis’ laran. This type of laran is extremely rare and thought to be bred out. When Regis learns of Danilo’s painful demise from the weapons master Dyan, he confronts his grandfather and Kennard. While at Castle Aldaran, Lew learns of Lord Kermiac’s family’s plan. The powerful Sharra matrix is used to show how the Terrans and Darkovans technologies can co-exist. But even with the warnings and caution, and with Lew’s help to train them into a working circle, can the matrix truly be controlled, or will it control them and burn them alive when it’s done with them? (hide spoiler)] This fantastic book tells the great growing up adventure of the young Regis Hastur. I’m looking forward to reading about the rest of his rule, and to find out how he will continue to interact with Lew and Danilo, considering his acceptance and barriers are broken and he is at peace with that.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Scott

    I got a used copy on this from Amazon for only one penny. I believe the entire series is pretty much out of print, so I'm not sure how much luck I'll have tracking down the others if I ever feel the urge. This is the first of the Darkover novels that I picked up. I chose this one because I read several reviews stating this was the best place to start...but I'm not sure I agree with that. I was pretty confused for the majority of the book, between trying to understand the setting, the differences I got a used copy on this from Amazon for only one penny. I believe the entire series is pretty much out of print, so I'm not sure how much luck I'll have tracking down the others if I ever feel the urge. This is the first of the Darkover novels that I picked up. I chose this one because I read several reviews stating this was the best place to start...but I'm not sure I agree with that. I was pretty confused for the majority of the book, between trying to understand the setting, the differences between the Terrans (clearly of Earth origin) and the Darkovans, and who was related to who, along with all the made-up words and customs. I don't think I would have told anyone to start here. Even so, something about the book kept me reading. It's narrated by two characters - in first person by Lew Alton, and in third by Regis Hastur. Their stories run parallel to each other. I thought the split narrative was interesting and definitely worked in the book's favor. Both characters were likeable enough, though I found myself more drawn to Regis' narrative just because I related to him more. Which is funny, I guess, because I'm actually the same age as Lew, but I related more to a young teenager. Oh well. I think I read this more for the characters than the plot. The plot was interesting enough, I guess, but I think it would have resonated more if I'd read some of the other novels first. I honestly didn't care much about all the stuff that was happening with the Sharra matrix because...I just kept feeling like I was missing important information, something that would make me care about what was happening. I just didn't care. I was happy when Dani and Regis finally confronted their feelings for each other. I like romance, I'll admit it. Usually I read fantasy books more for the plot, but in this case I was more invested in the emotional journey. Another thing that hugely bothered me was the poor writing quality. It was okay enough that I didn't drop the book altogether, but there are parts where it's just...bad. Like this section: "He lay there dying, his body torn with the last dying convulsions, unable to cross that dark threshold, failed, dying, burning..." Okay, I get it, HE THINKS HE'S DYING. There were multiple sections in which description was either repeated or just poorly done, and there were so many instances where multiple characters spoke within the same paragraph that sometimes it got confusing. I'm not sure if this is a first novel, but if it is then I hope the writing got better. I liked the characters enough that I may continue the series, but it's not very high on my priority list.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael Spence

    This was the first Darkover book I read, back in '97 or so, and it provided the impetus for the first story I wrote and finished since college. (No, you'll probably never read it. A suitable title might be—with apologies to Elisabeth Waters and Deborah J. Ross—"Destined for the Trunk." Still, to have actually finished something is a matter of note.) Clearly, then, it made an impression; and having read a fair amount of other Darkover material since then I thought it high time to revisit the This was the first Darkover book I read, back in '97 or so, and it provided the impetus for the first story I wrote and finished since college. (No, you'll probably never read it. A suitable title might be—with apologies to Elisabeth Waters and Deborah J. Ross—"Destined for the Trunk." Still, to have actually finished something is a matter of note.) Clearly, then, it made an impression; and having read a fair amount of other Darkover material since then I thought it high time to revisit the novel and remember why it made an impression. Two reasons: One, it relates a milestone event in the post-Chaos history of Darkover, the Sharra Rebellion. If you've read The Sword of Aldones (or, ahem, listened to the audiobook available from Audible.com [advert.]) you know that despite their good intentions, those who used the Sharra Matrix in the Domain of Aldaran brought on a psychokinetic-pyrotic disaster of invasion-of-Poland proportions, wrecking a city, diplomatic relations, and many lives. (Why, when Star Wars decided to blow up a planet, did they pick one called Alderaan? You heard it here first...) You also know that Regis Hastur has become a pivotal character in this era of the Darkover tales. In Heritage you see how both these threads get set up. When you don't know what's going to happen, in the case of Regis, it's intriguing to watch; when you do know, in the case of Sharra, it takes on the fascination of the proverbial trainwreck. In either case it's fun to watch MZB assemble the pieces so that they fall together just so, and sometimes in ways you might not see coming. In her preface to the sequel, Sharra's Exile, she notes that her initial ideas often came as climactic moments in the history of her characters or her setting—which is altogether appropriate; why would you want to start a tale at any other point?—but they were then followed by ideas about what might lead up to such climaxes. As a result, by the time she wrote The Heritage of Hastur she had quite a bit of experience with the Art of the Prequel, and it shows.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Milewski

    Much to my surprise, Heritage of Hastur (1975) by Marion Zimmer Bradley proved a far more solid, far more compelling novel than I ever expected. As a teenager, I'm sure that this novel would have bored me to tears, but as an adult, I find that MZB has provided us a character-centric story with deep gravitas. The story follows two characters: Regis (in third person), and Lew (in first person). Having known each other growing up, and both nobles, each is pulled in a different direction on the Much to my surprise, Heritage of Hastur (1975) by Marion Zimmer Bradley proved a far more solid, far more compelling novel than I ever expected. As a teenager, I'm sure that this novel would have bored me to tears, but as an adult, I find that MZB has provided us a character-centric story with deep gravitas. The story follows two characters: Regis (in third person), and Lew (in first person). Having known each other growing up, and both nobles, each is pulled in a different direction on the planet of Darkover. Regis wants to go offworld, while Lew isn't sure that he wants to assume more power. By all rights, this story shouldn't work nearly as well as it does. It's steeped in the cheezy schlock that is 60's sci-fi, complete with psychic powers and power dramas. That Marion takes her own world and subverts it into a coming of age character drama, and makes it work at that level, at an almost purely literary level, deserves respect. I find that truly great novels leave me at a loss for words. They exceed themselves. They exceed me. Talking about the plot somehow misses what really goes on inside the novel, forcing you to speak of themes and notions. The novel becomes a nation unto itself, where all the explaining in the world can't communicate any useful thing to you. No, you need to visit, to experience the world given. The author spent 120,000 words telling the story, and she needed every one of those words. It's not a perfect novel, being just a little too early for its time. The ending, in particular, wrapped up a little too quick and a little too neatly, the new characters there each being under-used, under-realized, and little more than plot devices. Later in the novel, I often wonder why the characters are making their decisions, especially Lew. These decisions often seem out of character, especially for him. Thematically, I found that the first half of the book didn't lead well enough to the second half, robbing the ending of any deep satisfaction. The ending felt like an ending, but it wasn't really the ending that the story asked for. Yet even with these quibbles, forty years later, this novel still stands solid.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    Marion Zimmer Bradley is best known for The Mists of Avalon, which spawned a number of sequels, mostly (if not entirely) by other hands. I don't care for them. Then comes The Fall of Atlantis, two enjoyable if fairly forgettable books posthumously marked as backdrop for the Avalon books. Inexplicably, if I go by Goodreads, her next most popular book is The Firebrand, about the Trojan War, which I found absolutely unreadable. Yet I do consider myself a fan of MZB's but that rests almost entire on Marion Zimmer Bradley is best known for The Mists of Avalon, which spawned a number of sequels, mostly (if not entirely) by other hands. I don't care for them. Then comes The Fall of Atlantis, two enjoyable if fairly forgettable books posthumously marked as backdrop for the Avalon books. Inexplicably, if I go by Goodreads, her next most popular book is The Firebrand, about the Trojan War, which I found absolutely unreadable. Yet I do consider myself a fan of MZB's but that rests almost entire on her Darkover books, of which she wrote 18 in her lifetime, although there were some further (some posthumous) collaborations. Darkover is a "lost colony" of Earth that falls into a medieval society ruled by a psychic aristocracy and is later rediscovered by a star-spanning advanced human federation after centuries, giving the series a feel of both science fiction and fantasy. The series as a whole features strong female characters, but it has enough swashbuckling adventure to draw the male of the species, and indeed this series was recommended to me by a guy (when we were in high school!) Although some books are loosely connected, having characters in common, they were written to be read independently. They were written out of sequence too, and I don't actually recommend you read them chronologically. The first chronologically, for instance, Darkover Landfall, is more fun if you read other in the series first, then this origins novel to see oh, so that's where that came from! Also, some books early chronologically were early in Bradley's career, when she was still learning her craft, and it shows. This particular book is a good entry into MZB's beguiling world. The science fiction magazine Locus called it her best novel, and the consensus among fans is that this was her best book in the series, and certainly Lew Alton, Regis Hastur and Danilo Syrtis are among her most compelling characters.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Contrarius

    I just reread this book for the first time in 20 or 30 years. It's one of the books that I still remember from my high school and college days, and I wanted to see how the passage of time would change my perception of it. This time around, I was at first struck by the...simplicity? crudeness? juvenile nature?...of the writing. It certainly seemed to have more of a Young Adult tone to it than the last time I read it...but, then again, I was more of a YA myself back then. Nonetheless, the I just reread this book for the first time in 20 or 30 years. It's one of the books that I still remember from my high school and college days, and I wanted to see how the passage of time would change my perception of it. This time around, I was at first struck by the...simplicity? crudeness? juvenile nature?...of the writing. It certainly seemed to have more of a Young Adult tone to it than the last time I read it...but, then again, I was more of a YA myself back then. Nonetheless, the characters and their struggles soon carried me away again just as they had the first time around. Bradley may not have had the most sophisticated of prose styling or the most innovative of plotting, but she really knew how to get bald emotion across efficiently. I'm a sucker for emotional drama -- some might even call it melodrama, but that word is too derisive for me -- and this book certainly supplies emotion in a big way. The conflicts here range from intensely personal relationships to literally altering the fate of the entire world of Darkover. This book takes place at a pivotal moment in Darkovan history, when even the most intimate choices can have planet-wide repercussions. If you get wrapped up in the emotional lives of fictional characters, if you thrill to experience agonizing decisions and their sometimes disastrous consequences, then you won't go wrong by picking up this book. And then, of course, you'll have to read Sharra's Exile to find out what happens next. ;)

  22. 4 out of 5

    John

    Grade C-. Book D11. Year 2145. ======================================== This book is too long and unpleasant to read! Notes on The Heritage of Hastur. May contain spoilers. These notes were taken during reading long before the internet existed. I attempted to place each novel in a fictional chronological order based on content. It does have errors. Dates were later adjusted to make more sense. Estimated date 2082. The Comyn appear morally decadent causing Lew and Regis to reject them. The Aldaran Grade C-. Book D11. Year 2145. ======================================== This book is too long and unpleasant to read! Notes on The Heritage of Hastur. May contain spoilers. These notes were taken during reading long before the internet existed. I attempted to place each novel in a fictional chronological order based on content. It does have errors. Dates were later adjusted to make more sense. Estimated date 2082. The Comyn appear morally decadent causing Lew and Regis to reject them. The Aldaran people are trading with Terrans, including weapons. Lew goes to stop the trading but becomes involved with trying to use the Shara matrix. The matrix is uncontrollable and Care Down is destroyed. Lew and Regis "rejoin" the Comyn. The Terrans are so afraid of the compact they agree to enforce the weapons ban. ---- characters Kennard (88-90?) (old, stooped with age.) Desidra Allaird (very old 84?) Lew Alton (20-25) son of Kennard Regis Hastur (16-17! too young) Mikhail (Danilo) Hastur (3-4!) Danilo Syrtis (15+!) The next book would be World Wreckers. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Takeda

    I'd actually give this a 3.5-3.75. I know I loved this series when I was in high school and college. Now, I'm not as entranced. Oddly, the novel is very long, but feels rushed. I've read six Darkover novels in the last half-year, and noticed a tendency for the characters having to do everything NOW or " the world ends." I always found the Compact that Darkover followed about using weapons to be an intriguing concept, and there is abundant dialogue regarding that issue. This novel provides the I'd actually give this a 3.5-3.75. I know I loved this series when I was in high school and college. Now, I'm not as entranced. Oddly, the novel is very long, but feels rushed. I've read six Darkover novels in the last half-year, and noticed a tendency for the characters having to do everything NOW or " the world ends." I always found the Compact that Darkover followed about using weapons to be an intriguing concept, and there is abundant dialogue regarding that issue. This novel provides the backgrounds of Regis Hastur and Lew Alton. It covers quite a bit of political conflict between the Terran culture and Darkover culture, not to mention arguments between the Comyn and Arilinn, and challenges in dealing with the power of Sharra's matrix. The psychological violence level is kicked up a bit. MZB comments in the introduction that she wrote this due to frequent requests from fans and fellow writers. Reading this during the current religious battles is rather eerie.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Sutch

    This novel strikes me as the first novel in which I recognize both the maturity of Bradley as an author and the full character of the series through which I first came to know her, the Darkover books. While the style is still a little stilted and amateurish in places (I'm sure she was working from an old manuscript, perhaps written shortly after _The Sword of Aldones_, for which this book serves as prequel), much of the work is fully realized and capable of moving the reader with wonder, This novel strikes me as the first novel in which I recognize both the maturity of Bradley as an author and the full character of the series through which I first came to know her, the Darkover books. While the style is still a little stilted and amateurish in places (I'm sure she was working from an old manuscript, perhaps written shortly after _The Sword of Aldones_, for which this book serves as prequel), much of the work is fully realized and capable of moving the reader with wonder, sympathy, and a deep desire to know the characters and this place in the universe. It is also one of the first science fiction novels to attempt to seriously portray a protagonist who is gay (though, given that this was the 1970s and Bradley was still relatively uncomfortable with identity politics of this sort, the implications of many of the characters' sexualities are troubling). I hadn't read this book in perhaps thirty years, but I still found it engaging, touching and exciting.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fiona Ellwood

    The best of the Darkover series, which really vary in quality. This is set late in the chronology of Darkover, and concerns the youth of Regis Hastur, the reluctant heir to Darkover. He's a very attractive character, not only physically - in fact he's described as possessing extreme personal beauty - but in personality. There is some reference to Regis' sexuality and his relationship with his bodyguard Danilo (the Darkovan term is paxman). The second strand of the novel is told in the first The best of the Darkover series, which really vary in quality. This is set late in the chronology of Darkover, and concerns the youth of Regis Hastur, the reluctant heir to Darkover. He's a very attractive character, not only physically - in fact he's described as possessing extreme personal beauty - but in personality. There is some reference to Regis' sexuality and his relationship with his bodyguard Danilo (the Darkovan term is paxman). The second strand of the novel is told in the first person by Lew Alton, a half Terran half Darkovan aristocrat. Regis and Lew play a vital part in banishing Sharra, an extremely powerful weapon which could bring the Terran Empire to its knees. Later novels in the series have paid more attention to issues of sexuality, to the detriment of the plot,but in "Heritage of Hastur" the balance is just right.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Surreysmum

    [These notes were made in 1985:]. A double-plotted Darkover novel, dealing with the pre-Sword of Aldones Lew in the first-person narrative, and the young Regis in the alternating third-person chapters. Not quite as disjointed as it sounds, for altho' Lew's troubles with the sword and his first love, Marjorie, have little to do with Regis, Regis' problems (coming to terms with his love for Danilo, and simultaneously with his laran gift) have their root in an early encounter with Lew. I found the [These notes were made in 1985:]. A double-plotted Darkover novel, dealing with the pre-Sword of Aldones Lew in the first-person narrative, and the young Regis in the alternating third-person chapters. Not quite as disjointed as it sounds, for altho' Lew's troubles with the sword and his first love, Marjorie, have little to do with Regis, Regis' problems (coming to terms with his love for Danilo, and simultaneously with his laran gift) have their root in an early encounter with Lew. I found the Regis chapters infinitely more compelling, partly, I think, because they are less cluttered with the physics and metaphysics of "matrix technology" and deal instead with recognizable emotion - loyalty, love, guilt, shame, reconciliation. One of the best in the series, I think.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gardavson

    I wavered in the extreme on this book. There were moments when I considered putting it down and not picking it back up again. And yet each time I put it down, it called to me, and I had to return to it. The character's were unbelievably compelling. I absolutely bought them, hook, line, and sinker. I liked the world, and I liked the plot. So what was the problem? Well, I know it's been advised to start with this book. The problem was, I had no concept of the psi talents. I didn't know or thus I wavered in the extreme on this book. There were moments when I considered putting it down and not picking it back up again. And yet each time I put it down, it called to me, and I had to return to it. The character's were unbelievably compelling. I absolutely bought them, hook, line, and sinker. I liked the world, and I liked the plot. So what was the problem? Well, I know it's been advised to start with this book. The problem was, I had no concept of the psi talents. I didn't know or thus fully appreciate luran, tower training, matrix, or any of that. It made it hard to understand why things were important to the characters. I didn't understand the matrices at all. I liked the writing. I liked the lessons and growth in the characters.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jess Candela

    4.75 stars I don't know if it's because I read other Darkover books as a kid and thus had conditioning that pulled me in more deeply, but it seems like it's been a very, very long time since I have been so utterly engrossed in a new book. It took a little while for me to get into it, but once I did, it felt almost more real than the world I was physically interacting with. Even when I had to set it down, no matter what I was doing I'd find my thoughts drifting to it, wondering what Regis and Lew 4.75 stars I don't know if it's because I read other Darkover books as a kid and thus had conditioning that pulled me in more deeply, but it seems like it's been a very, very long time since I have been so utterly engrossed in a new book. It took a little while for me to get into it, but once I did, it felt almost more real than the world I was physically interacting with. Even when I had to set it down, no matter what I was doing I'd find my thoughts drifting to it, wondering what Regis and Lew and Dani were doing. I ached for each of them in different ways, and was desperate to find out how things would end for them even as I wanted the book to never end.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Data

    I waffled about this one - it should be a 3.5 stars, I think. I read this book all in one sitting, so to speak, in one day between the end of 'Darkover Landfall' and 'The Ssattered Chain.' With two strong male characters, there is a lot to think over when you read this book, especially if you are still in the process of discovery about sexuality, love and loyalty. I seldom have comments about specific editions, but this one deserves comment as one of the most poorly cut books I have come across. I waffled about this one - it should be a 3.5 stars, I think. I read this book all in one sitting, so to speak, in one day between the end of 'Darkover Landfall' and 'The Ssattered Chain.' With two strong male characters, there is a lot to think over when you read this book, especially if you are still in the process of discovery about sexuality, love and loyalty. I seldom have comments about specific editions, but this one deserves comment as one of the most poorly cut books I have come across. Printed in the late 70's, there's no real excuse for selling something where you have to guess at some of the words because they are cut off at the edge of the page.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Johnston

    This was a bit of a heartbreaker, parallel stories of caste, duty, the damned Terrans, the Compact, and sacrifice. I wasn't keen on the way it jumped back and forth in perspective, but as everything converged, I noticed it less. Most important takeaway is that the Terrans now know Darkovans are not just barbarians, stubbornly clinging to quaint ways, but possessing powers unbelieved--and now respected, especially now they know why they've foresworn their use as a weapon. Varzil the Good would be This was a bit of a heartbreaker, parallel stories of caste, duty, the damned Terrans, the Compact, and sacrifice. I wasn't keen on the way it jumped back and forth in perspective, but as everything converged, I noticed it less. Most important takeaway is that the Terrans now know Darkovans are not just barbarians, stubbornly clinging to quaint ways, but possessing powers unbelieved--and now respected, especially now they know why they've foresworn their use as a weapon. Varzil the Good would be proud.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.