Darkover sequence

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Zedar, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. Zedar

    Zedar Registered User

    Oct 2, 2006
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    I'm looking into trying out Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels, but I'm a bit lost on where to actually get started with these. There seem to be two accepted methods, reading them by internal chronology, and reading them by publication order. However, I have noticed that Daw has published a sequence of seven omnibus editions of the books, which seem to follow neither of the above two sequences, which has left me even further confused.

    I'm inclined towards reading the omnibuses, simply because they seem the easiest way to get the books, but I don't want to have things spoiled for me by reading in the wrong sequence. The omnibuses from what I can tell follow this sequence:

    #1 - heritage of hastur, sharra's exile
    #2 - stormqueen, hawkmistress
    #3 - shattered chain, thendara house, city of sorcery
    #4 - spell sword, forbidden tower
    #5 - Star of danger, bloody sun, winds of darkover
    #6 - darkover landfall, two to conquer
    #7 - planet savers, world wreckers

    Can anyone with experience in these matters shed some light on this issue? Does the omnibus sequence look like it would work, or am I better off reading them in another order? Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
  2. Lowlander

    Lowlander Registered User

    Aug 2, 2004
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    I have not read all Darkover novels but you don't have to read them all in publication or internal order. The Darkover novels stretch over several centuries and have different cycles. The omnibus editions are a good buy because the different cycles have been put together.

    For instance omnibus 4 (Spell Sword & Forbidden Tower) tells one story with the same set of characters. Omnibus 2 (Stormqueen & Hawkmistress) are two stand alone novels set in the early stage of Darkover history. Basically you can read all these omnibus editions without problem.

    Of course some events set in earlier books are refered to in later novels as historical events but I found this not to troublesome in reading them.

    For more information you can look at
    http://darkover.apiacoa.org or http://darkover.cx

    The first website is in French but there is an English translation. They have a synopsis of every novel and a suggested reading order of the books.

    Another remark : MZB wrote a lot of Darkover novels and the quality is uneven. Some Darkover books are excellent, some decent and some pretty mediocre. Of course opinions can be different. For instance omnibus 3 (Shatterd Chain, Thendara House and City of Sorcery) are among the most known an popular Darkover novels but many male readers find them too feminist to their taste. I'm a male reader and I didn't find them offensive but just don't expect many nice male characters in these 3 novels.

    However many Darkover novels have good male characters. Spell Sword and Forbidden Tower are good examples (but then some people think there is too much romance).