The Forbidden Circle

The Forbidden Circle

Omnibus of The Spell Sword and The Forbidden Tower.The story of Andrew Carr (Terran who went over-the-wall), Callista Lanart-Alton (disgraced keeper), Damon Ridenow (Darkovan noble, gifted with the laran to be a keeper, but not the gender) and Ellemir Lanart-Alton (Callista's twin) and how they challenged the ancient laws of the Matrix Towers.With a new cover by Romas Kukalis this onmibus tells the story leading up to the novel The Bloody Sun... and the Second Age of the Terrans against the Comyn.

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Sadly, it goes downhill (downmountain?) from then on - the Terran teams up with a clan of inbred hill wizards and they do the lamest battle possible with the "cat-men" and rescue the maiden fair and fine, whatever. Marion Zimmer Bradley is hailed as revolutionary feminist writer, and maybe when she started writing her work was groundbreaking. The Forbidden Tower: So, having abruptly married into a cult of witchy inbreds and renounced his entire damn background, Terran Andrew Carr is now subjected to a book-long brainwashing ritual. There's practically no action in this book, it's all about interpersonal feeeeeelings and culture clash and crap. And can I just tell you how much crying there is in this book? And then there's a big life-or-death battle and you think YAY, action! But not QUITE the sort of action you might be thinking about, because you know how to prepare for psychic battle? In conclusion: I hated this freaking book. I REALLY hate the sense that Andrew Carr is now having sex with both his sister- and brother-in-law because he's been brainwashed into it, and because they cried until he gave in. Is this the feminist bit, casting Andrew Carr in this totally subjugated role where he obeys while thinking it's his own free will?

Sword is a competent but unremarkable quest novel, underlaid by character-driven subtleties: clashing cultures, reexamined social and gender identities, and fledgling non-normative relationships. The transition from the implied to the explicit has its flaws: gender essentialism abounds, and the focus on heterosexual relationships and pregnancy threatens to smother the non-normative aspects; the magic system crumbles somewhat under such heavy scrutiny.

Nowadays, with a longer personal timeline, with my own feminist assumptions utterly blasted by my own and others' changes and weirdnesses ourselves, and with a delight in how hard it is to push against dogmas of all kinds, even ones I care deeply about, MZB looks quite a lot different.

Once finding Callistas hidden starstone and with Damons trip into the overland, they find that she is being kept by the cat-men. What purpose could the cat-men have with Callista and not take her starstone too? The cat-men are too dangerous to take on without the aid of Lord Altons, Dom Esteban, swordsmanship. The cat-men are able to hide, and can only be seen through the use of a starstone. Therefore, he uses the Alton Gift to aid Damon to battle the cat-men, and uses Andrews telepathic abilities to find Callista in the confusing maze of the caves of Corresanti. Damon needs to be able to find Callista, and save her from the threat of the Great Cat. For Damon, returning to Armida with Callista will prove to Dom Esteban that he is worthy of marrying Ellemir, and into the Alton family.

Once finding Callistas hidden starstone and with Damons trip into the overland, they find that she is being kept by the cat-men. What purpose could the cat-men have with Callista and not take her starstone too? The cat-men are too dangerous to take on without the aid of Lord Altons, Dom Esteban, swordsmanship. The cat-men are able to hide, and can only be seen through the use of a starstone. Therefore, he uses the Alton Gift to aid Damon to battle the cat-men, and uses Andrews telepathic abilities to find Callista in the confusing maze of the caves of Corresanti. Damon needs to be able to find Callista, and save her from the threat of the Great Cat. For Damon, returning to Armida with Callista will prove to Dom Esteban that he is worthy of marrying Ellemir, and into the Alton family.

However, interesting parts of both works are the people and the relationships, which go through significant, interesting growth and change (moreso in The Forbidden Tower), and the relationships are complicated in interesting ways by the telepathy between the characters.

Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series, often with a feminist outlook. When she was a child, Bradley stated that she enjoyed reading adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Hamilton, and Leigh Brackett, especially when they wrote about "the glint of strange suns on worlds that never were and never would be." Her first novel and much of her subsequent work show their influence strongly. Bradley wrote many Darkover novels by herself, but in her later years collaborated with other authors for publication; her literary collaborators have continued the series since her death. For many years, Bradley actively encouraged Darkover fan fiction and reprinted some of it in commercial Darkover anthologies, continuing to encourage submissions from unpublished authors, but this ended after a dispute with a fan over an unpublished Darkover novel of Bradley's that had similarities to some of the fan's stories. Bradley was also the editor of the long-running Sword and Sorceress anthology series, which encouraged submissions of fantasy stories featuring original and non-traditional heroines from young and upcoming authors.