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The Forbidden Circle

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Now back in print after more than a decade, two classic Darkover novels are together in this omnibus edition that tells the epic tale of four people ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Forbidden Circle

Overall customer rating: 3.000
toonboi

Unsatisfying Climatic Novels

by toonboi on Apr 15, 2010

Against the Terrans - The First Age (Recontact) 30 years before ?Star of Danger? The Spell Sword: Andrew Carr is a Terran who has traveled the stars and planets, at the will of the administrators and computers. Like a sailor, he has been around. He is experienced bisexually, but he still wanders the galaxy lonely. After a chance visit to a fortuneteller he is shown who his soul mate is. He becomes a member of Mapping and Exploration, so he can then take a team out to the Hellers to find the woman that he is drawn to. Being inexperienced and unprepared to handle the violent environment of the Hellers, their aircraft crashes on the rim of a cliff. Andrew is saved from his death by the shade of Callista, (proving that he possesses psi talents of his own). At first, Andrew has a hard time believing that Callista is real, until the ghost-girl guides him to safety to Armida. Once arriving at the castle, the Darkovans show their hospitality to the Terran, where he tells his side of the story to the Alton family. His tale tells Damon and Ellemir of Callista?s imprisonment and her suffering of fear, cold, hunger, and abuse. With Ellemir?s insistent encouragement, Damon Ridenow tries to help Callista?s twin sister rescue her from her kidnappers. Ellemir does not have the Gift that Callista possesses. As told to by Leonie of Arilinn, if Damon were born a woman, he would be a Keeper of a Tower, because of his amazing ability of laran. Once finding Callista?s hidden starstone and with Damon?s 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 Alton?s, Dom Esteban, swordsmanship. The cat-men are able to hide, and can only be seen through the use of a starstone. Unfortunately, he has been paralyzed from their recent encounter. Therefore, he uses the Alton Gift to aid Damon to battle the cat-men, and uses Andrew?s telepathic abilities to find Callista in the confusing maze of the caves of Corresanti. Marion Zimmer Bradley?s fight scenes are a bit difficult to follow. There are so many elements happening at the same time with trying to keep straight and figure out who is fighting in who?s body, and who is in who?s mind. In addition, there is Andrew and Callista?s confusing out of their body experiences. It?s hard to tell when they are there or are not there. They are intimate but yet they are not. (And was there a four-way? I agree with Andrew on this one. I?m not sure. I found myself just reading through it because I was getting a headache and dizzy.) At some point, you just have to start enjoying the story. 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. Or will Andrew?s interference be more of a harm and hindrance to her rescue? Because of his intense connection to Callista, Andrew has gone native. Ultimately, how willing will Lord Alton and Callista be to give away her virginity, resulting in her lose of being a Keeper. The Forbidden Tower: A marriage between a Terran and Darkovan will be strange and hazardous for both. Some of the challenges that the couple must face are Callista must gain permission from the Keeper of Arilinn, Leonie Hastur, to leave the Tower, take back her oath to be Keeper, and given her blessing to marry Andrew. Faced with the unconditioning of a Keeper, and Andrew?s sexual frustration, will Callista return to Arilinn Tower, as the next Keeper, despite her feelings for Andrew? Second, even though Andrew says he will be patient while Callista unlearns her Keeper chastity conditioning, will he be able to remain patient for seasons, or longer, or realistically, not at all? Fortunately, for Andrew, being a horse trainer and breaking horses is a respected occupation on Darkover. Andrew grew up on a ranch in Arizona, where he learned to work with horses. Andrew went into space as an Empire civil servant, moving from planet to planet at the will of the administrators and computers. Since coming here to Cottman IV, he has nothing to his claim besides this skill. The two couples marry at the same time, (making their telepathic link stronger still.) For Ellemir, Damon?s years in the Tower, those years of which he never spoke, she learned that it made him unhappy if she asked him about it, and would always be a barricade between them, but not between Damon and Callista. They have experience of a life in the Tower, where Ellemir stayed home to care for her father. To Ellemir and Damon?s delight, she gets pregnant from their wedding night. Their close kinsmanship can prove to be disastrous for the expecting parents. This is one of the cultural differences between a Terran and Darkovan. Because Ellemir and Damon can telepathically sense the awareness in the fetus, it is therefore considered a life, their child, regardless of how early in the pregnancy it is. Children are treasured very highly on Darkover. Soon to be a blessing to the couple Ellemir and Damon, Callista gives Andrew permission to lay with her sister Ellemir, not because of her miscarriage, but because she is not able to lay with her own husband, Andrew. This is another huge cultural difference between Andrew and the other three. Andrew finds himself insulting and hurting feelings, when he believes he is being true to his vows and their honor. The situation is further complicated for Damon Ridenow is an empath, feeling everything Andrew feels. (I find that Andrew?s resistance to lay with Ellemir, even with her and Callista?s permission, unrealistic and difficult to believe. However, for what Marion Zimmer Bradley is trying to convey to the reader, in a wordy novel, is the depth of the telepathic link with the four, it is repetitive and detailed description and explanation is highly necessary.) By living together, the telepathic link between all four is stronger than ever. Even Ellemir?s laran is greatly awakened and improved. Their challenge is keeping what secrets they can from Dom Esteban, because with his Alton gift, he knows all. Turmoil and deceit strike with the introduction of Dezi, (Deziderio), as Dom Esteban?s servant. They learn that Dezi is a Comyn bastard. Dom Esteban will not acknowledge him as his son though. However, they learn that Dezi has the Alton gift, has been sent to Arilinn Tower, and dismissed, as Damon was. Dezi holds a hard and mortal grudge against not being acknowledged. Because Andrew and Callista were not able to consummate their marriage, it is considered null and void until they do so. Dezi desired Callista deeply for her beauty, and hates Andrew equally as deep for being an alien. He schemes to get Andrew out of the picture, so he can then step in as Callista?s husband, and Alton heir. Dezi?s foul act is discovered in the nick of time for Andrew?s sake. Against Ellemir?s advise Damon shows mercy on Dezi. He battles to take his starstone away and burning it out, instead of killing Dezi. On one seemingly fortuitous night for Andrew and Callista, she believes herself ready for sex and they attempt to consummate their marriage, with the aid of their telepathic link to Damon and Ellemir?s coupling across the hall. This ends in disaster for Callista and Andrew. Andrew is almost killed because of Callista?s laran reflexively defending her. Because Callista realized it was Andrew she was attacking, she held back, resulting in her channels becoming blocked. Keepers cannot allow sexual energies and laran energies travel at the same time. Callista is dying. Damon strongly believes that telepaths who do not want to live in the Towers should not have to. They should not have to sacrifice their life because the need of Keepers in the...

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