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City of Sorcery (Darkover, #14)
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City of Sorcery

(Darkover - Chronological Order)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,892 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Haunted by mysterious images of hooded figures, Magdalen Lorne, chief Terran operative on Darkover, pursues a quest not only to the frozen ends of the physical world but also to the perilous limits of the spiritual world. And there she is tested by the evil sorcery of the Dark Sisterhood.
Paperback, 424 pages
Published October 1st 1984 by DAW (first published 1984)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Pam Baddeley
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the third in the Renunciate aka Free Amazon trilogy, began in The Shattered Chain and continued in Thendara House. On one level, it is quite a good action adventure story and is a road trip undertaken by a group of women from different backgrounds, who become close friends drawn together by shared hardship and peril.

The story begins seven years after the events of Thendara House. Jaelle and Magda both have daughters by men in the Forbidden Tower group at Armida, though they are now on a
Apr 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Completes the Renunciates series.

SPOILER ALERT--I will give away very specific information about the fate of characters; DO NOT READ if you DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS to JAELLE, MAGDA, and Cholayna.

I have to say that, initially, I thought this was a fairly typical "Quest Fantasy" book. Nothing wrong with that, and Bradley's stuff is always well done. Set about seven years after the events of Thendara House, It largely involves Magda and Jalle, who must venture to beyond the Wall Around The
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
review to come!
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
I loved the first part of this book, with the quest for Avarra's priestesses and how the quest reunited so many different women. But, the ending was confusing and left me with no explanation at all.
All in all, the Renunciate theme is one of the best in Darkover series. How this women live so different from the Darkover way for the "gentler sex" is fascinating.

I didn't care so much for Camilla and Margali story, not because it was between two women but Margali's feelings for Camilla were so conf
Christopher Sutch
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
There are several reasons why this is one of my least favorite Darkover novels. I should begin by saying that I first read the book shortly after it was first published. I was 14 then, and not as experienced or discerning a reader as I have since become. But even then I was _very_ unsatisfied with it, not only as a Darkover novel but as an "adventure" novel more generally. The GOOD news is that it's a better novel than I remember. But on the other hand this is a problematic novel as well. First, ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-lit
Four stars...I think? Ugh, I can’t write a proper review because I just finished this book, and I’m mad at it. I’m not one to throw books, but I can surely say that I now fully understand the inclination. Really, all that stopped me was thinking that I would just have to go and pick it up again if I did throw it.

So I originally read this entire trilogy some 20 years ago. I remember liking Thendara House (book 2) the best, but I came across this one on my shelves recently and read it again. Wow!
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
First Darkover novel, just read it because it was a gift to my girlfriend and I didn't have anything else to read in the house. Solid. I get why it was recommended to my GF as well, it was a good recommendation. That said, having read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy series over the years, and jumping into this series at what is apparently the 14th entry, I wish I had read earlier works. I gathered from this one that some or most of the characters in it had been involved in previous books, so there w ...more
Jill Gerhardstein
Mar 22, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction, paper, 2021
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Physical and emotional challenges, and the overwhelming need to support friends despite hardship are the main themes here. As they travel into the most uninhabitable area of Darkover in search of what may be a myth, the trials bring confidences and revelation to all.

But despite all that, it didn't quite ring as true to me. (view spoiler)
The conclusion of the Renunciates trilogy. I was a bit dissatisfied with some of the characters. Sometimes it seems like MZB goes out of her way to make certain characters disagreeable. It was hard to accept Lexie as the "villain" because we never got the chance to know her. The ending was disappointing because of what happened to some of the characters and the fact that we never get to learn more about Avarra. ...more
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Terran on a Mapping expedition in a plane crashes but is miraculously returned with no memory of why she crashed or what she saw. When a senior intelligence officer probes her mind she sees a what is surely the City of the Sisterhood of Avarra in the snow and glacier covered far reaches near the Wall Around the World. When Lexie hires Jaelles partner to take her to the are to seek the city Magda and Janelle follow, to help or convince them the search is fruitless.
Joyce Reynolds-Ward
May 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Research read, and I have to confess that the most fascinating parts were the mountaineering sections. Lacks the intensity of its predecessor Thendara House but still worthwhile for finishing out the trilogy.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
As the final book of a trilogy, I had forgotten what an ultimately dissatisfying ending this has! I enjoyed the interplay of the characters and cultures, but I think I prefer the Darkover books in which laran is a bigger theme.
Aug 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Not the best of three major Renunciate novels, in my opinion, but it makes for a decent quest/adventure tale. Especially if you like mountain climbing. I'd forgotten how much I disliked the ending, though. ...more
Berni Phillips
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sigh. I still want to live on Darkover.
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Would this have made as mych sense to me if I wasn't reading the series in order? I don't know.

This was good.
Nicholas Gravel
Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A change to my typical male lead books but the difference was welcomed. It was a little slow to start and has a ton of dialogue but overall enjoyable.
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 stars
Elisabeth Marksteiner
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not quite immediately from Thendara House this a continuation of journey story, trial, tribulation, and honesty. Never predictable. Good yarn.
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
One of my favorites since Darkover Landfall, if you read them in chronological order. I love the characters, even if I wanted to slap them at times. An adventure quest. #nospoilers
In a sense, this is out of the main sequence entirely, though it does add some details to connect the earlier books to the later (actually, mostly written earlier) books.

I don't know why people find this book at all unfamiliar. The characters are (for one reason or another), all essentially searching for Shambala (usually rendered in English as 'Shangri-La'). There are some odd (even dissonant) elements added, though.

Some of them are probably related to Darkovan history. Why SHOULD the 'city of
Morgan Dhu
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
City of Sorcery (pub. 1984), takes place seven years after the events in Thendara House, and there have been changes. Peter Haldane is now Legate, and Renunciates and women of the Terran Service working together have created The Bridge Society, a means for Terran and Darkovan to share knowledge and learn to work and live together. Jaelle and Magda are sworn freemates, living mostly at Armida, each having born a daughter by men of the Forbidden Tower - Dorilys nHa Jaelle, now five, and Shaya n'ha ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Kenji
Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote 18 Darkover novels--more if you include collaborations. Darkover is a "lost colony" of Earth that falls into a medieval society ruled by a psychic aristocracy and is later rediscovered by a star-spanning advanced 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 Terran, Magda, and a native of Darkover, Jaelle.

The books wer
Dec 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Despite the fact that I gave all the books three stars, I'd give the Renunciates trilogy four stars as a whole.

This felt much more like a straight-up adventure story than the other two Renunciates books. Way less focus on the characters and all the feminism. Not that it was totally absent, just majorly toned down. The lack of character focus was fine since most of the characters were returning characters. And unlike the other two books where all the men are giant sexist assholes... there are no
After a long over-due hiatus from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s (MZB) Darkover, I return with the City of Sorcery. For me, it was a definite improvement from its grueling predecessor Thendara House. I actually liked it a lot, and I’m looking forward to the next omnibus series, The Forbidden Circle.
In the third installment in the Saga of the Renunciates trilogy, Jaelle and Magda are at odds, again. Magda continues to be torn from her Terran and Darkovan cultures. She also struggles with her ability of
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hadn't read any Bradley in a while, and this was my first Darkover novel. She's just as good as I remember her, with strong, colorful characterizations, adrenaline-soaked action scenes, and extremely believable conversations (both internal and spoken). The pacing of this book was excellent, with a good balance of intrigue, exposition, and full-on adventure. I definitely want to read more Darkover.

That said, this might not have been the best place to jump in. The story has strong roots in relat
Feb 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbtqa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
S. S.
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have almost the entire collections of S&S, and I am currently re-reading them. I love fantasy, but do NOT like paranormal romance or science fiction, and these books are fantasy with a strong female character, either a warrior or a magician/sorceress/mage, as a common theme. Of course, there are a few stories that aren't as good as others, but I find most to be very entertaining, and I search for other stories and books by the authors of those that I like. I have read several of them more than ...more
Jeanne Johnston
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This one was deep. REALLY deep. Why are we here? What's the point? Good vs evil. Why do evil people thrive and good people struggle? What is our truest, deepest wish?

All this in the midst of the most grueling quest since Ftodo had to get The Ring to Mt. Doom... and then a horrible, wrenching end that leaves you hanging, not knowing what the real answers are. Some will find it, but not us because this trilogy within the series is done here.

I'll probably still be blubbering tomorrow, this h
Mar 07, 2011 rated it liked it
I have read several of the Darkover series, in random order, over the course of the past several years. As science fiction, they explore mostly psychology and sociology. City of Sorcery, especially, explores psychology. To what extent are we responsible for others? At what point does it weaken our friends if we try to help them? Where is the line between personal power over one's own decisions vs power over others? ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Darkover - Chronological Order (1 - 10 of 26 books)
  • Darkover Landfall
  • Stormqueen!
  • The Fall of Neskaya (Darkover, #3; Clingfire, #1)
  • Zandru's Forge (Darkover, #4; Clingfire, #2)
  • Hawkmistress!
  • A Flame in Hali (Clingfire #3)
  • Two to Conquer (Darkover, #7)
  • The Heirs of Hammerfell (Darkover, #8)
  • Rediscovery  (Darkover - Chronological Order #11)
  • The Shattered Chain (Darkover, #10)

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