The Shadow (Darkover)

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Book Five of The Demon Cycle. Stranger in a Strange Land. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. The Sea of Sorrows. Atomic Robo and the Spectre of Tomorrow. Gork, the Teenage Dragon. Looking for More Great Reads? Despite the above doubts, the resolution of the story is very compelling, and I wouldn't have skipped it. I would, however, have liked to hear a better investigation of what ailed Diotima Ridenow. One of the main problems I have with the concept of non-medical 'healers' is that their treatments are non-exportable.

If there could be enough healers to treat everybody, it might not matter.

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Morgan said: The Shadow Matrix begins shortly after the conclusion of Exile's in the Terran Empire, Margaret Alton returns to Darkover, the planet of her birth. The Shadow Matrix is a science fiction novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Adrienne Martine-Barnes in the Darkover series. It was first published by in.

But if the skills needed to heal are not teachable, there's no way of increasing the number of such healers. Maybe that's one of the things programmed into Varzil's ring-matrix. Let's hope so, anyhow. Having read the prequel Exile's Song , I'm reading this again.

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Though I read it less than a fortnight ago, I'm still encountering things I overlooked in the first readthrough. I expected to understand more once I got the first book read, but I'm also noting things that don't depend on knowing what happened in the earlier book, but which I now have time to note because I'm not trying to reconstruct the earlier book using allusions in this volume. I'll finish the book again, and see if my conclusions change much--and in future, I'll be more careful about not reading the second book in a trilogy first.

Bradley used to say that she tried to write her books so that you didn't have to read them in order. I don't think she always succeeded, but in this trilogy, it's definitely a good idea to read them in order There are still parts that I find inconsistent with the earlier Darkover books. I do NOT approve of trying to revamp Darkovan society into strict serial monogamy. I also don't like the elements of homophobia. It might be that just the individual characters are personally homophobic--but I still don't like it. It's not just true polygamy that has legal and social advantages for marriage partners including, but not limited to, equitable distribution of resources --the same applies to polyandrous and the much more common polygynous households.

Because the social, legal, and other protections provided to secondary wives and, less commonly, husbands , concubines called 'barragana' on Darkover , and other formal or informal non-monogamous relationships are lost when a society begins to de-legitimize these relationships, without any real gain in freedom for either the monogamous partners or those not in relationships. This is amply documented in studies of societies being forced into monogamy, where both legal wives and husbands lose ground.

The Shadow (Darkover Short Stories) by Marion Zimmer Bradley

In 'formerly' polygynous societies, for example, the men don't change their behavior--they still take lovers, particularly if they go into cities to get jobs that pay in cash rather than in kind. But since they're legally forbidden to regularize the situation by marrying their 'mistresses', everybody loses: The legal wives lose not only the material and emotional support they would formerly have been guaranteed as well as laws, customs, and social mores CAN guarantee good behavior from husbands, co-wives, and other guarantors in the community.

The 'mistresses' lose support also from their lovers, co-wives, family, law, and community; and the husbands lose guarantees in matters like custody of children. Also, as the Tiv women point out in Laura Bohannon's work, men are generally bigger and stronger than women, so if the women have no co-wives to support them, the men have the potential to become terrible bullies. You'd think that Margaret Alton, who has a background in ethnology at least to the point of ethnomusicology , would KNOW that sort of thing. I don't agree that empires, federations, etc are inherently unstable. I find predictive models of expansion and decline of large social organizations inherently limited by a very small number of samples.

The Terran Federation of the Darkover stories has a little more material, maybe. But it's still not much more than a third again as much as we have in the present day. Better than an n of 1: Apr 07, Jenny rated it liked it Shelves: I got about halfway through it before I gave up on it. Jan 06, Joy rated it really liked it. Jun 26, Brian rated it liked it Shelves: I really feel like this book should have been a few short stories rather than a single book, because a lot of it felt barely connected to me.

The Shadow King

One thread is Margaret's attempt to master her laran and avoid getting drawn too much in to the politics of Darkover's families, one thread is Mikhail being sent to determine who the next heir to the Elhalyn throne will be, and one thread is Gabriel Lanart and Javanne Hastur continuing to try to control Mikhail's life. I didn't find any of these threads th I really feel like this book should have been a few short stories rather than a single book, because a lot of it felt barely connected to me. I didn't find any of these threads that interesting other Mikhail dealing with the Elhalyns, and I thought it resolved too quickly and left too much to the imagination to really satisfy me.

The part I really liked was the part at the end, and I would gladly have read an entire book dedicated to Varzil the Good's attempt to solidify his legacy and make sure the Compact held over all of Darkover after he was no longer around to enforce it. Expand on why exactly Dom Padraig hates the Hasturs so much and why he wants to destroy Thendara. Expand Leonora's character and explain why she's willing to make people into slaves and where the idea to use uranium for weapons in the absence of clingfire and bonewater dust came from.

Expand on Amirya and how she came to be Keeper at this ad hoc Tower that Padraig is putting together. And then have Varzil's plan to reach forward and pull back Mikhail and Margaret so that Ashara--who is criminally underutilized here for how important she's supposed to be--can't get her hands on his matrix. The "free-wheeling matrix technology" period of Darkover's history has always been my favorite part, and I would have much rather read a book about that that about the other plot threads here.

You can argue that would have been a different book, and you'd be right. I'd rather have read that book than this one. It's not as bad as Exile's Song in terms of worldbuilding, though the threat posed to Darkover by the Terran Empire fell a bit flat because I don't know enough about the Empire to know exactly what the Expansionists want to expand into.

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Mention is made that they haven't fought a war in "generations," but who did they fight with? Is that some curbstomp where Imperial Marines came in and overthrew a planetary government, or are there nonhuman empires out there? Where do these non-Terran-but-human-inhabited planets come from? I don't know, because The Shadow Matrix sure doesn't tell you.

I suppose my major problem is just the character of Margaret. She has the Aldon Gift, which makes sense because she's Lew's daughter, and then we learn that she also has the Aldaran Gift. And since getting the Shadow Matrix, she also develops healing power that let her singlehandedly cure virulent diseases and even travel through time.

In addition, she's the daughter of an Imperial senator and the heir to planetary nobility, extremely rich, the most educated woman on Darkover, and the beloved of the heir to the planetary government. Woe is her, indeed. I'd characterize her whining as first world problems if Darkover wasn't a undeveloped frozen hellhole.

The last part that takes place in the Ages of Chaos makes up for some sins, but not all of them, and the ending implies that future books in this series might get back toward the politicking that I like more than Margaret whining that she has too much laran. So maybe I'm giving The Shadow Matrix more credit than it deserves, but I think three stars is enough. This book follows Exile's Song. It is co-written with Friend of Darkover Adrienne Barnes. There is nothing to say about that. But there is something to say about the fact that it is a collection of two novellas, the first of which being unrelated to the ongoing arc -the story of Margaret Alton, aka the new main character of the Darkover series, after several books focusing on Regis Hastur.

And quite an adventure, with some surprises and a great potential, though too short and under-developped for my liking. But at least we have hints about what Mikhail may become in the future. The second part is artificially linked to the first to make the sum of them look like a real novel of reasonable length.

It is the short interlude in the middle which I enjoyed the most, the one taking place in the Thendara Castle, wich more than its share of romantic and political plot, a pleasant yet instantly forgotten read. All in all, a strange puzzle probably reaching the appropriate number of words for publishing but not a satisfactory read.

Next episode Traitor's Sun is a more classic and homogeneous book and would certainly give more satisfaction to the reader, would the development of the story not favour so much petty elements over the real stakes. Jun 24, Lindsay rated it liked it. The Shadow Matrix is the sequel to Exile's Song , and has two very distinct parts.

In the first half, which has a pervading feel of a mystery story, the focus is on Mikhail Lanart-Hastur, Marguerida's cousin and love interest.

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Yeeeeah, there's a lot of incest of this nature on Darkover. Mikhail is sent to the house of the Elhalyns, the Darkovan line of kingship, in order to designate an heir to the throne of the planet. While there, he must try to take care of the five children and the grounds, The Shadow Matrix is the sequel to Exile's Song , and has two very distinct parts.

While there, he must try to take care of the five children and the grounds, all of which are severely neglected, and embark on a battle of wills against a powerful telepath living in the house and assisting the children's mother. This part ends in a bit of a showdown between Mikhail, the creepy mother, and the mysterious Guardian.

In the second half, Mikhail and Marguerida are summoned into the past, where they meet a powerful and legendary telepath named Varzil the Good. Their encounter with him has a profound impact on their own lives, the nature and strength of their laran, and the safety of the whole planet. While I enjoy the two separate storylines, they really have no business being thrust together into one big novel.

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They would stand wonderfully on their own as two different books, since they don't really end up working together toward one finale. They also have completely different tones, and it's actually a bit jarring going from one plot to the next so abruptly. See my Exile's Song review for more on that front.

Dec 23, Gregory rated it really liked it. After Exile's Song I was hoping for more about those characters and got it in this one and, in fact, the next, and final, installment in the Darkover series is about them, too. I did really like this one, but I had been hoping for more of what Exile's Song was, a study in character. This one had more high adventure. I found that part of the book slightly uneven, but there was enough character study for me to overlook that and really enjoy the advancement of the main character's stories.

In the After Exile's Song I was hoping for more about those characters and got it in this one and, in fact, the next, and final, installment in the Darkover series is about them, too. In the end I am looking forward to the next one, but not to the same degree that I had been looking forward to this one. Sep 20, Chuck rated it it was amazing. This book is of as high quality as any other book in the Darkover canon; Margaret has moved to a Tower to try and learn to control her laran, her latent psychic power.

The Shadow

In the tower, she has been largely immune to the political machinations that haunt her because of the birth she is unsaware of. Margarida Alton and Mikhail Hastur.

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It contains two parts: They both have to face alone their destiny. The second part tells Margarida and Mikhail joined quest in the Ages of Chaos. The first part is quite good, especially Mikhail's adventure, which is rather tensed and well written. Margarida's part acts here as the background and give to the whole first part more thickness: I think Mikhail's thoughts are well analyzed, especially his mixed feelings about his lover.

The second part is also very good and involves Margarida and Mikhail's time trip to Ages of Chaos. I won't go into details to avoid revealing too much. This part is sometimes close to a dream which gives it another quality.