Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ladies of Mandrigyn (Sun Wolf and Starhawk, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Ladies of Mandrigyn (Sun Wolf and Starhawk, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ladies of Mandrigyn (Sun Wolf and Starhawk #1)

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,353 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
When the women of the City of Mandrigyn, led by Sheera Galernas, hired the mercenary army of Captain Sun Wolf, to help them rescue their men from the mines of evil, he refused. Little did he realize how insistent the ladies could be, and how far they would go to persuade him to train them against the evil of Altiokis....
Mass Market Paperback, 311 pages
Published February 12th 1984 by Ballantine Books (first published 1984)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ladies of Mandrigyn, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Ladies of Mandrigyn

Graceling by Kristin CashoreVampire Academy by Richelle MeadThrone of Glass by Sarah J. MaasAlanna by Tamora PiercePoison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Best "Strong Female" Fantasy Novels
319th out of 3,458 books — 13,253 voters
The Orb of Truth by Brae WyckoffIsle of Winds by James FahyHouse of Blades by Will WightThe Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillipThe Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling
Best Fantasy Books Under the Radar
31st out of 1,396 books — 1,775 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I really enjoyed The Ladies of Mandrigyn way more than I expected to. It's kind of an old school sword and sorcery type fantasy, written in the 80s, but I didn't think it felt too dated.

There are two main POVs. One is Sun Wolf, the captain of a band of mercenaries. His story is interesting because he is the only man in it for most of the book. There is a strong cast of women of all personalities and motivations, since all the men of Mandrigyn have been enslaved by an evil wizard. The women hire
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I’ll begin by saying that I loved this book. Fiercely. To the point I wasn’t ready to let go when it came due at the library, so I ordered my own copy. Does that mean it’s without flaws? No, which is why I’m giving 4 stars. But it’s one of those books that reminded me why I still read fantasy, even though I’ve become a much more analytical reader than I was when I fell in love with the genre as a kid. Because the rare books that engage my emotions this way, that have me passionately invested not ...more
Robin Hobb
Jan 29, 2014 Robin Hobb rated it it was amazing
I do not understand why Barbara Hambly is not better known and celebrated more for her books about Sun Wolf and Starhawk. Recommended.
The eighties were good (or "good") for more than just music and hair: they left a definite imprint on fantasy as well. Witness:

Starhawk ducked under the door flap of her tent, and held it aside for Fawn to pass. "I don't know if that's why the wizards finally died out," she said. "But I do know they weren't all evil like Altiokis. I knew a wizard once when I was a little girl. She was--very good."

Fawn stared at her in surprise that came partly from astonishment that Starhawk had ever been a litt
Oct 06, 2012 Ceecee rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: medieval fantasy fans
*3.75 stars

This book has been sitting on my shelf for 10 years, the poor thing. I finally decided to read it because I read Graceling, and all the while I was thinking, if I'm going to read a book about strong women in a medieval fantasy, I might as well read The Ladies of Mandrigyn

You know when you read "The Ladies of Mandrigyn" you immediately think of warrior women, right? I thought it would focus on the women battling the villain's armies and defeating the Evil Wizard himself. But this book
Jamie Collins
Nov 07, 2012 Jamie Collins rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The cover blurb is hilarious: “How sharper than a wizard’s spell is the wrath of a woman unmanned!”

It’s a nice little story, though, with strong feminist elements. Sun Wolf is a mercenary captain who is kidnapped by a group of women after he rejects their offer of employment. The women threaten him with death by torture if he doesn’t help them rescue their menfolk, who have been imprisoned by an evil wizard.

Starhawk is the mercenary who loves him, and she has her own set of adventures while tryi
Oct 03, 2007 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I know what you're thinking. "Really? The barbarian hero's name is Sun Wolf? And this is a must read?"

Yep, it is. Barbara Hambly might have suffered from a severe attack of bad-naming-itis in this book, but it covers the gamut of issues that you like to see in "epic" fantasy, politics, an interesting problem in the social structure that has parallels with the real world, strong character development, and a truly interesting system of magic. I recommend the trilogy highly.
Olga Godim
Jul 22, 2013 Olga Godim rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
A solid fantasy novel, if a bit more intense than I like. The author wouldn’t leave the hero alone, always tossing one problem after another at him, all of them causing him pain. The tension level is so high all the time, with no respite, that eventually I got tired of it. I felt so sorry for the hero that I decided to drop the rating from my original estimation of 4 stars down to 3, but it’s a purely subjective evaluation. Objectively, the writing is good, and the story flows easily.
Sun Wolf i
Rachael L Moore
Mar 01, 2016 Rachael L Moore rated it liked it
Shelves: sff, fan
I almost wanted to give this four stars, but something about it was off.

We're introduced to some characters who are tough, successful mercenaries. Numerous times throughout the book we're deliberately reminded in very straightforward ways that they're, as a result, not the nicest of people. Their careers, after all, are based on killing people for money, and they've done brutal things.

Where do you go with this? You can play up the cool factor, the adventure or badassery of it. You can go with bl
Mary JL
Nov 02, 2009 Mary JL rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy and adventure
Recommended to Mary JL by: I am a fan of this author
Shelves: main-sf-fantasy
Altiokis, the Wizard King, is said to be deathless--he's known to be over 150 years old. He likes power and does not want any competition , so he has made every attempt to kill off any other wizards.

Now that Altiokis has conquered the city of Mandrigyn, the ladies of Mandrigyn approach Captain Sun Wolf, a cunning and so far sucessful mercenary. He refuses to get involved in amything which has to do with magic.

However, the Lady Sheera is not used to having anyone say "No" to HER, so she finds an
Nov 01, 2012 Elsiekate rated it really liked it
this is a reread and ordinarily i wouldn't write about it, especially since it is a very old book (copyright 1984).

so how does the book hold up? it's still pretty good. it has good, interesting women characters--many different ones, some good, some bad--a wide, wide range of women. it has men who change their attitudes about women and men who do not. the most central character is a man, but we spend pages and pages with a woman who is almost as important a character. the women change, too. and t
Erin (PT)
It's been a long time since I've reread The Ladies of Mandrigyn and I've changed a lot in the meantime, making it interesting to revisit the story with new eyes. Though I knew the book was a fond favorite, I don't think I ever realized before how much of the book I'd absorbed to carry back into the real world. At the time, there were few enough books in SFF--and further, few enough that I'd read--that were female and feminist in the way Ladies is. At the age I was when I first read Ladies, I sus ...more
Sep 17, 2013 Doris rated it really liked it
This story fit more into my idea of a medieval society than a fantasy, especially as we had several glimpses of Starhawk’s younger years in a convent, where she apparently had taken vows as a nun.
Our story starts at the end… the end of a battle that is, where our hero, Sun Wolf, is relaxing with his troop after an epic battle which they won, as they decide what to do next. Part of the decision is made for them when the Wolf disappears after a night visit from a veiled lady (view spoiler)
The Ladies of Mandrigyn is utterly delightful. It is, in fact, exactly what I was looking for when I attempted Jennifer Roberson's Sword Dancer, which so disappointed me. The Ladies of Mandrigyn makes no pretensions to being anything more than a pure sword-and-sorcery novel, replete with heroic acts and larger than life characters played out against a highly romantic background, but the execution is flawless, the characters never cease being sympathetic (or devolve into charicatures) and, most i ...more
Buzz H.
Apr 09, 2015 Buzz H. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: f-sf
One of Barbara Hambly's early novels, The Ladies of Mandrigyn pulled me in right away. Ms. Hambly is generally an excellent story teller, and she has a strong background in medieval history and cultural anthropology. This novel is something of the "Thelma and Louise" of fantasy, and it was exceptional for its time in the way that it dealt with women in the genre. In some ways it still is, sadly!

There are some original elements in the way that it handles magic as well. And Ms. Hambly comes up wit
Apr 06, 2015 Sandra rated it liked it
Shelves: female-fighter
I'm having a tough time choosing between a 3 or 4 star.

The writing flows smoothly, and there is just enough world building and environmental description that you don't ever get too bogged down. Overall Starhawk and Sunwolf were interesting characters, although I didn't feel like I got to know Wolf on the same level as Hawk even though we spent more time from his POV. The Ladies of Mandrigyn themselves all had decently fleshed out personas for secondary characters, some you'll like, some you'll h
Feb 24, 2014 Cornerofmadness rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 02, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2013, bechdel
I needed some comfort reading and this fit the bill. Haven't read it for years, and it was nice to revisit the first adventure of Sun Wolf and Starhawk. I'd forgotten quite how well Hambly does horror elements, her nuuwa are a creation of genius. In the 1980s, zombies were not as de-rigeur as they are now, and the nuuwa were a horrific beast-of-man creation that creeped me out really badly as a teen. Still horrid now!
That cover! (I can't say I *like* it but it certainly induces waves of nostalgia.) The cover of the ebook I borrowed from the library pales in comparison.

I don't remember rating the Sun Wolf & Starhawk books when I first started reading Hambly - I've a feeling they may have been harder to come by so didn't make as much of an impression on impressionable me as Joanna and the Icefalcon - but this one is vintage Hambly when she was still doing trad - but feminist! - fantasy. Like the Hambly I e
C. Scott Kippen
Jan 30, 2014 C. Scott Kippen rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was not a bad read, but I did not enjoy it as much as her Darwath books. However, considering its age, I was impressed that it did not do the normal fantasy trope of of questing to save the world. This is the story of Sun-Wolf, leader of a mercenary band, who is forced to lead band of women against an evil wizard. When I was reading this, I thought that this had to be influenced by The Black Company by Glen Cook, but upon referring to the copyright date, I see that they both came out in the ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Alice rated it liked it
Sun Wolf, feared captain of a band of mercenaries, recently broke a siege and is celebrating over the spoils of war when he receives a note from Sheera Galernas. Thinking it nothing else than a proposition (because who doesn’t want to join the desirable captain’s harem?), he shrugs it off. But Mandrigyn has been a captive of Altiokis, the evil immortal wizard, and the prospect of a new job intrigues Sun Wolf.

Sheera Galernas is tall, beautiful, charismatic--and deadly. Her demand is pretty simp
Todd Mulholland
Apr 14, 2015 Todd Mulholland rated it really liked it
A fantasy book from another time, before grey morality and narrative ambiguity became de rigeur.

This is the story of the mercenary captain Sun Wolf, and his lieutenant Starhawk (Yes, the names are a little cheesy. I did say it was from another time. The 80's were awesome). It's a story of strife, of learning, and a story that brings a profound change in the two principles.

This is a very fun read, with the author bringing the reader on the journey and growth of the characters. The characters feel
Apr 13, 2016 Morgan rated it liked it
A fairly entertaining story with a few flaws. The old writing adage of "show, don't tell" is violated here and there when describing character traits and so it feels a little unpolished as a result. And the way magic is used in it sometimes comes across as being a little too convenient, such as a character getting a sudden intuition on how to perform a trick they've never performed before. But it makes up for it with characters that are just a bit larger than life and a narrative that is interes ...more
Francesco Manno

The Conspiracy of Mandrigyn is a sword and sorcery novel atypical, because the main role in the events narrated is done by women. The first author to tread this path was CL Moore, who in the thirties of the last century was published in Weird Tales adventures Jirel of Joiry, wonderful horsewoman crimson foliage, blending fantasy and horror, and with great success.
But back to the novel.
Altiokis, a crafty necromancer, conquers the city of Mandrigyn, making s
Nov 21, 2015 KennyO rated it it was amazing
In the late 80's at a party hosted by my wife's coworker we met and talked with Barbara Hambly, a friend of the host and a published writer I'd never heard of outside conversations with the host. She told us about herself and her writing and we compared notes on Jerry Pournelle as a writer and as a computer maven. (N.B. He was a Byte magazine columnist as well as a successful SF author). I didn't know Hambly's work so others in the conversation recommended I begin with either this book or the Da ...more
May 09, 2012 Renee rated it it was amazing
This is the book that's my inspiration, that got me started writing. I'm on my third incarnation, it's rubber-banded together, but I love this book!

Sun Wolf is a nercenary captain who Sheera Galernas tries to hire to free her city from an evil wizard. Not being a stupid man - nor suicidal - he refuses. He thinks that's the end of it. He's got a lot to learn about desperate women. She poisons him, kidnaps him and issues him an ultimatum - since his men wouldn't come, Sun Wolf can teach HER women
Jul 09, 2010 Hugo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I can't really specify why, but this is one of my absolute favorite fantasy novels. Maybe it's because I first read it when I was 11, after a reading rampage of both good (Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock) and bad (Terry Brooks, David Eddings) fantasy and suddenly feeling "at home", finding something that really suited me. Or maybe it's because it really is a perfect mix of low fantasy, suspense, horror, and colorful characters.

Sunwolf and Starhawk's world may feel bleak and smal
Matt Fimbulwinter
Nov 03, 2013 Matt Fimbulwinter rated it really liked it
This is a re-read. The last time I read this was 20 years ago or so.

To start with, Barbara Hambly has always been one of my favourite writers. Her stuff shaped me in its own way as much as Spider Robinson's Callahan books. The strong women that weren't in Tolkien or Piers Anthony were in her books. I've always loved the way Hambly writes warrior women.

Hambly's classic fantasy stuff has in the past year or so been re-released into e-books, so I'm going to go back through my old favourites. I do
Mar 05, 2013 Melani rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Loved this. Ladies being active. Ladies driving the plot. And it was written in the early eighties? How is this book more progressive than some fantasy coming out now? I’m not saying it’s perfect, there were a few things that bugged me but overall, it was awesome.

I think what I loved most was that Sun Wolf character development followed the one of Mandrigyn, the city he was trapped in. He started out with a pedestal type of misogyny, where women (if they were noticed) were only to be protected a
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Lythande (Thieves World)
  • Fires of Azeroth (Morgaine & Vanye, #3)
  • The Bird of the River (Lord Ermenwyr, #3)
  • The King's Peace (Tir Tanagiri, #1)
  • The Sword of Calandra (Winter King's War, #2)
  • Master of the Five Magics
  • Harpist in the Wind (Riddle-Master, #3)
  • Earth Logic (Elemental Logic, #2)
  • Dark Horse (Dark Horse #1)
  • The Sleeping God (Dhulyn and Parno, #1)
  • Point of Hopes (Astreiant, #1)
  • The Birthgrave (Birthgrave, #1)
  • The Copper Crown (The Tales of Aeron, #2)
  • The Isle of Glass (The Hound and the Falcon, #1)
  • Tales of Nevèrÿon (Return to Nevèrÿon, #1)
  • The Compleat Enchanter
  • The Broken Citadel
  • Illusion
aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.

"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
More about Barbara Hambly...

Other Books in the Series

Sun Wolf and Starhawk (3 books)
  • The Witches of Wenshar (Sun Wolf and Starhawk, #2)
  • The Dark Hand of Magic (Sun Wolf and Starhawk, #3)

Share This Book