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The Spell Sword (Darkover) (Darkover #11)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,406 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Although Darkover was a world inhabitied by humans as well as semi-humans, it was primarily forbidden ground to the Terran traders. Most of the planet's wild terrain was unexplored...and many of its peoples seclusive and secretive.
But for Andrew Carr there was an attraction he could not evade. Darkover drew him, Darkover haunted him - and when his mapping plane crashed in
Paperback, UW1440, 158 pages
Published September 1st 1974 by DAW Books (first published 1974)
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Bradley rewrote several of her earlier books to bring them more in line with the main sequence. If she did so with this book, I haven't seen a copy.

The Spell Sword isn't really enchanted, of course--there's just a matrix attached to enable the injured Dom Esteban to take over the reflexes of his less-gifted

The Catmen of Darkover are almost never really introduced anywhere in the series. They're offstage shadows, mostly, blamed for breakdowns and attacks that could as easily hav
I'm _really_ enjoying revisiting this series. This one in particular is a really good adventure story. I really like MZB's male characters.

While Darkover Landfall is the 'origins' story for Darkover, and Hawkmistress! and Stormqueen! are set in the 'hundred kingdoms' darkages-type period of Darkover history, 'The Spell Sword' is set in the recent 'now', and I like to think of it as setting up the story for 'The Shattered Chain' and 'Thendara House', where MZB explores the female characters of t
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Kenji
I'm a fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley, but my affection for her rests not on the Avalon books, which I didn't care for, but her Darkover series. Darkover is a "lost colony" of Earth that falls into a medieval society. Ruled by a psychic aristocracy, it is later rediscovered by a star-spanning high-tech human federation after centuries, giving the series a feel of both science fiction and fantasy. Most books in the series examine this culture clash and this book is no exception as it focuses on a Te ...more
Mike Smith
Spell Sword is the 8th book Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote in the Darkover series, but it takes place earlier than most of the other books she'd written to that point. Only Darkover Landfall takes place at an earlier time. This is a good, straightforward rescue-the-damsel story. Unlike most of the previous novels, which dealt with the cultural and political clash between Darkover and the Terran Empire, this one stays at a personal level. For the first time, the characters don't stand in as symbols ...more
Having tried to read earlier works in the Darkover mythos, I didn’t have great hopes for The Spell Sword. Yet, I had stolen the idea of a planet of psionic people for my Traveller campaign from my original encounter with the series and what friends had told me about. So, with one of my player-characters claiming origin on Repse (“Esper” spelled backwards), my “Darkover,” I decided to revisit the classic book of psionic civilization (Okay, so I ripped off van Vogt’s Slan, MacLean’s Missing Man, a ...more
As I go through the Darkover books in the order in which they were written, the quality of MZB's writing continues to improve, but the stories seem repetitive. A person from Earth comes to Darkover, is drawn unexpectedly into adventure, and subsequently decides that Darkover is his true home. The Spell Sword is no exception to this pattern.
I did enjoy this book, partly because (as I implied) it is better written than most of what came before it. Here, we meet Damon Ridenow, a bookish Darkovan wh
[These notes were made in 1984:]. A nice little adventure story in the old Earthman meets alien culture mode - except that Andrew learns to fit in quite a bit faster than most Terrans, and Damon quickly takes over principal interest (Bradley seems to like these two-hero novels). One curiosity about this book is that Callista, the love interest, does not appear in her own proper person until near the end of the book. The rest of the time she is a presence in telepathic contact with Andrew, who is ...more
I read this Darkover novel after 'The Shattered Chain', only because it came in a boxed set that way.

I could wish for a little more to this novel; this was my first real introduction to the cat-hags, and like the rest of Darkover, I'm still in the dark. I realize that in real life we don't always get the answer to our questions in one pat novel, but why have so little learning about these people, since they are so central to the story?

Anyway,I always iike MZB; there is always an engaging story
Not bad as a Darkover book. Very well written. I enjoyed the building of comunication between the three main charaters. Andrew was a dreamer like Damon and Calista a strong woman instead of those tpic damsel in distress.
This is more of a novelette than a full-length book, and as such it is missing a lot of the detail and richness that is usually a part of MZB's Darkover novels. However, it is an excellent book to 'cut your teeth' on and to introduce you to the world that she has written so much about. It gives a good feel for the setting, the culture, and a touch of the history. Not to mention that it is great when you need a quick, short read that will engage your attention and imagination.
Christopher Sutch
In this novel Bradley begins to come into her own as a writer. While there are still chunks of clunky prose (she was still writing quickie short novels for cash at this point) the complexity of her ideas suddenly comes to the forefront of the novel's plot: the interconnectedness of sexuality, telephathy, intimacy, culture shock and assimilation. This is the real beginning of the Darkover series as a truly memorable, awesome and important work of speculative fiction.
The second book I read from the 'Darkover' series. I liked it a lot and, just like in 'The Bloody Sun', I loved the fact that the main character was an outsider to this medieval magical world. It's a short, enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down! And, as the rest of the Darkover books, it left me wanting to know more when I finished it. The only way to learn the repercussions of what happened is to read the rest of the stories, I guess, and I'll gladly do so.
If you're going to read the Darkover novels, this is the one to read as soon as you've finished the Saga of the Renunciates (The Shattered Chain & Thendara House; City of Sorcery is NOT mandatory to the Darkover timeline).

Or you can read it before those two, but all the other "modern" books need to be read after this one.

Andrew & Damon, Callista & Ellemir. They're the start of everything that comes after.
Marcello Tarot
Prodromo a “La Torre proibita”
Non è un libro bellissimo in sé, ma ovviamente scorre in maniera più che piacevole grazie allo stile felice della Bradley, e fa apprezzare di più “La Torre proibita” (che già in sé è uno dei libri più belli della saga).
Recensione originariamente pubblicata su nell’estate del 2010.
I liked this book, but I found it too short for my taste. It was the first I read by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and it caught me kind of off guard, I didnt quite manage to feel situated in the bigger story and that frustrated me a bit.

Nevertheless, the Darkover series of books is very recommendble. I enjoyed the ones I read.
I have read various of the Darkover series over the course of a couple of years. They are interesting reading when you just want a fun read. This one focuses on the psychic powers that the people of the planet Darkover have developed, the taboos that go along with developing the "gift" and in some cases the need to break those taboos.
1979 Grade B.

2013 Grade B. Book D5. Year 2035. This book is almost pure feudal fantasy. It has many half page long paragraphs of descriptions and dialogs (which sort of read as lectures). I speed read it pretty much from start to finish and could only stand about 1 chapter at a time. Never the less, I did grade it B.
Barbara Brien
I first read this book sometime in the 1980's, and subsequently tried to find another Darkover novel that I wanted to read. I never did.

But I loved this book; the longing for something completely outside your sphere of knowledge spoke to me.
Action. Adventure. Romance. Cat people. Good, not great. Okay, not bad. This book shows promise. I mean, I think I've got to read some other Darkover novels before I can really appreciate it. But really, a fun read.
Não é um dos melhores da série Darkover mas contém como sempre alguns questionamentos interessantes sobre uma sociedade com valores morais diferentes dos nossos na terra.
Couldn't take the evil cat-people seriously; every scene with an evil cat-man looming made me giggle. The sci-telepathy-magic is inventive though.
Chris Northern
This was the first Darkover novel I read; not my favorite but still a good introduction to the series.
Liked this Darkover novel and the earth interacts with other cultures/planets was well done.
A quick read which can stand alone, for those unfamiliar with the Darkover world.
Pleased to FINALLY know how Andrew ended up with Callista, Damon & Ellemir.
Kerr Cuhulain
A very interesting story line about psi powers. Pleasant read.
another enjoyable book in the Darkover series
Good action and adventure on Darkover.
Marguerite marked it as to-read
Dec 25, 2014
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Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series, often with a feminist outlook.

Bradley's first published novel-length work was Falcons of Narabedla, first published in the May 1957 issue of Other Worlds. When she was a child, Bradley stated that she enjoyed reading adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Ham
More about Marion Zimmer Bradley...
The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1) The Forest House (Avalon, #2) Lady of Avalon (Avalon, #3) Priestess of Avalon (Avalon, #4) The Firebrand

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