Marion Zimmer Bradley,
Traitor's Sun
(DAW, 2000)

Traitor's Sun, a part of Marion Zimmer Bradley's long-running Darkover series, is one of her last novels released since her death in 1999. To my mind, it -- like its recent predecessors -- suffers from the author's return to her science fiction roots and her departure from the high fantasy, a genre at which she was near peerless. (Only Anne McCaffrey comes close.)

The fantasy elements dealing with the Darkovans and their large aristocratic families and the rich culture Bradley had so carefully wrought over the years are still superb and well worth the reading; the science fiction is competently written, if at times derivative. This novel also deals with the death of one of Bradley's most memorable characters, first met years ago in one of the earliest books in the series. Indeed this work seems to dwell much on death; perhaps Bradley was aware of her own imminent demise.

Traitor's Sun is an essential read for fans, but it is not a good introduction to the author and her series. Try Heritage of Hastur or The Forbidden Tower instead.

by Stephen Richmond
3 December 2005

Buy it from