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

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,838 ratings  ·  59 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....
Paperback, (Unicorn), 311 pages
Published 1986 by Unwin (first published 1984)
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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
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
Robin Hobb
I do not understand why Barbara Hambly is not better known and celebrated more for her books about Sun Wolf and Starhawk. Recommended.
Mary JL
Nov 02, 2009 Mary JL rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
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...more
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
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)...more
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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!
C. Scott Kippen
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
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...more
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...more
Matt Fimbulwinter
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...more
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...more
Although it's pure sword and sorcery, it manages to be intellectually satisfying without being even slightly high brow.

In many ways, it struck me as a sort of inverse Lysastrata. Like in that play, the ladies the town get together and decide they're going to take care of business themselves - without the absent men. But instead of using womanly arts to solve their problems, here they're moving into the traditional male spheres and running businesses, taking care of farms, and (most importantly)...more
I began this book as a gap-filler between number four and number 5 of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, which might be why I was less-than enthusiastic, epic books being a hard act to follow. In the first few lines I was put off-side by the characters names and the way the author kept referring to them as ‘The Wolf’ or ‘The Hawk’ – that sort of thing needs to be introduced rather than a given. I did eventually warm to the story and enjoy the adventure. I liked that the author included mention of ga...more
Truly loved this book when I read it. It's been a few years, but it's still up there in my top favorites. Hambly is so good at realistically imagining not only her characters, but also their world. Feminist themes run throughout, although of course the main character is a man. Luckily for us, he's not the typical protagonist, since he's on the older side and also a mercenary warrior. Loved it!
Great book, great characters and, better than that, great character growth. Oh, there's fighting and romancing and buckets of tears, but the important thing is how those characters change and grow in their quest.
Also, there's a bunch of tiny women felling guys with swords, which I will always approve, and a hunky barbarian in a kilt.

I would say it's a classic fantasy read.

The story wasn't bad, but I liked the idea of it. Women, determined to win back their city, their husbands and sons, defy the limitations imposed by those things they seek to win back. Gentle ladies kidnap a warrior using magic and sheer gumption, and then become warriors. And changed themselves unexpectedly. Women who stepped in to build ships and planes and keep the country running during war were often changed in ways they did not expect. Difficult to return to a restricted life when you've t...more
Jun 13, 2008 Jenna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like adventure and humor in the same book
Recommended to Jenna by: my mommy!
this is pretty awesome: a mercenary captain refuses to fight for a doomed cause, so he gets kidnapped and forced to teach the rebelling ladies how to fight. meanwhile, his lover and his 2nd in command (not the same person) go to try to rescue him, fighting bandits and nuuwa (brain-washed, insane, enchanted, formerly human men) all the way. sun wolf (the mercenary captain) turns a bunch of somewhat prissy noble girls into a small force of warriors ready to rebel against the evil wizard Altiokis....more
After a successful campaign, mercenary Sun Wolf is waiting for his troops' pay when he's approached by a woman from Mandrigyn. She wants to hire him and his army to rescue the men from the mines where Altiokis, the most powerful wizard in the land, has placed them.

Sun Wolf is no fool; he's not about to go against Altiokis. But the lady won't be denied. He's kidnapped, forced to teach the ladies how to fight while his trusted first lieutenant, a woman called Starhawk, follows his trail to try to...more
Really enjoyable and nice story. I did not predict how it would work out. Would love to read the next in the series!
This is hands down my favorite series by Barbara Hambly. It is full of action and intrigue.
Pros: character development, writing style.
Cons: plot is a little predictable.
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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
More about Barbara Hambly...
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