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Marion Zimmer was born in Albany, NY, on June 3, 1930, and married Robert Alden Bradley in 1949. Mrs. Bradley received her B.A. in 1964 from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, then did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1965-67.She was a science fiction/fantasy fan from her middle teens, and made her first sale as an adjunct to an amateur fiction contest in Fantastic/Amazing Stories in 1949. She had written as long as she could remember, but wrote only for school magazines and fanzines until 1952, when she sold her first professional short story to Vortex Science Fiction. She wrote everything from science fiction to Gothics, but is probably best known for her Darkover novels. In addition to her novels, Mrs. Bradley edited many magazines, amateur and professional, including Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, which she started in 1988. She also edited an annual anthology called Sword and Sorceress for DAW Books. Over the years she turned more to fantasy; The House Between the Worlds, although a selection of the Science Fiction Book Club, was "fantasy undiluted." She wrote a novel of the women in the Arthurian legends -- Morgan Le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, and others -- entitled Mists of Avalon, which made the NY Times best seller list both in hardcover and trade paperback, and she also wrote The Firebrand, a novel about the women of the Trojan War. Her historical fantasy novels, The Forest House, Lady of Avalon, Mists of Avalon are prequels to Priestess of Avalon She died in Berkeley, California on September 25, 1999, four days after suffering a major heart attack. She was survived by her brother, Leslie Zimmer; her sons, David Bradley and Patrick Breen; her daughter, Moira Stern; and her grandchildren.
This sequel to Shadow Matrix (LJ 9/15/97) continues Bradley's epic saga of the world of the bloody sun. The death of Regis Hastur, Regent of Darkover, signals the beginning of an uneasy time for the planet. As his heir, Mikhail, prepares to assume the reins of power, the relationship between Darkover and the Terran Federation reaches a boiling point, drawing the major families of the planet into a crucible of intrigue and treachery. Bradley's consummate skill at presenting complex political intrigue side-by-side with acute personal drama makes her Darkover series both involving and intricate. Highly recommended for most sf collections.
The 33rd book in the author's popular Darkover series (begun in 1958 and composed mostly of Bradley's novels but also of some story collections edited by her) moves the epic slowly forward, primarily by explicating the emotional lives of the many characters, telepathic and otherwise, who make up the population of the planet of Darkover. Senator Hermes-Gabriel Aldaran receives a telepathic wake-up call to return home to Darkover before the rapacious Expansionists in the Terran Federation destroy what few personal freedoms are left to their citizenry. Arriving planetside with his children and his wife, Katherine‘who has been kept ignorant of his psychic gifts‘Herm finds life on Darkover more difficult than anticipated. The on-planet Terran contingency not only wants to arrest him, but also is plotting various illegal political assassinations in order to usurp power during the interregnum. Regis Hastur is dying and the succession has become a bone of contention among the nobility, which puts young Domenic, who is legitimately in line of rule, in the crossfire of the political fallout. Herm decides to accompany Domenic on a spy mission after the overly dutiful boy takes a night off and inadvertently becomes embroiled in the Terrans' murderous plans. This trip takes Herm away from his wife, allowing him to avoid dealing with her outrage at the hard truths he has kept from her. Though characters constantly explain what is going on, and every major plot point is seen through several substantially similar viewpoints, fans of the series not put off by the repetition and glacial pace should be satisfied with the happy glow engendered by spending time with familiar characters and their warm, humanistic values. (Jan.)