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The Firebrand

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  9,186 ratings  ·  408 reviews
Blending archaeological fact and legend, the myths of the gods and the feats of heroes, Marion Zimmer Bradley breathes new life into the classic tale of the Trojan War-reinventing larger-than-life figures as living people engaged in a desperate struggle that dooms both the victors and the vanquished, their fate seen through the eyes of Kassandra-priestess, princess, and pa ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published May 6th 2003 by Ace Books (first published 1987)
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4.06  · 
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 ·  9,186 ratings  ·  408 reviews

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Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Sometimes I think this "star" system is faulty. I gave this book five stars because I absolutely adore it and have read it 8329432423 times, but I'm not sure it's actually that good. All I know is that as a classical history nut who spent all her college years (and two post-grad years) studying ancient history, i go all heart-eyes for this book. it's the Trojan War told through the eyes of the women, and i love it because my favorite characters have always been the women -- Kassandra, Andromache ...more
Kerry Hennigan
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I first read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Firebrand” many years ago, and have just finished the latest of many re-reads of this epic novel of the Trojan War.

As with her famous “Mists of Avalon” which told the story of Arthur and Camelot from the perspective of the women in the story, so too does The Firebrand cover this famous Bronze Age tale from the point of view of the principle females involved.

Most specifically this is Kassandra, daughter of King Priam of Troy and Queen Hecuba, sister of Pr
Aug 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: those who value imagery more than character development
Shelves: 2010, cover-lust
I had a really hard time getting through this book. Which was surprising to me for two reasons. First, I loved Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon," and second, I love the legend of the Trojan War and have read numerous other books on the subject and Cassandra has always been an intriguing character for me. So, when I picked up this book, I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy it.

Sadly however, I was left disappointed. Now don't get me wrong, the ancient world that Zimmer Bradley create
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Firebrand is an excellent book, and one that I look forward to rereading again at some point in time. This novel, at just over 600 pages, tells the story of the Trojan War from the perspective of Kassandra the Prophetess, one of the daughters of Priam and Hecuba, the king and queen of Troy. Zimmer Bradley does a terrific job of incorporating the commonly accepted mythological elements of all of the major characters in the novel, including several of the gods and godde ...more
Mel Bossa
This was very entertaining. I enjoyed seeing the siege of Troy from the other side, inside the walls and from a woman's point of view.

But the way Achilles was portrayed was a travesty I felt.

This is like a Danielle Steele type of take on the Ilad. Every character served its purpose but the grandeur I craved from reading Renault or Miller wasn't at the rendez vous.

Over all, original in its perspective but definitely not a classic for me!
The Firebrand is the the story of the Trojan War told from the perspective of Kassandra. Kassandra is a princess of troy who has the gift of prophecy but the curse that she is never believed. I loved the spin that Bradley put on the famous story and its characters. I like how she was able to have fantasy elements, such as the Gods being real with the ability to take over a person's body when they want to directly influence events and Kassandra's true visions, yet she made some other aspects of t ...more
Aaron Carson
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this some years after The Mists of Avalon. I gobbled it up avidly enough, but it must be admitted that it was basically The Mists of Avalon in a Hellenic setting.

I could easily recognise the personalities of Viviane in Queen Penthiselea, Morgaine in Kassandra, and to some extent, Queen Morgause in Queen Imandra of Colchis.

Probably my favourite part of the book, was the time Kassandra spends at Queen Imandra's court when she is inducted into the cult of "Serpant Mother", which I assumed
Lucinda Elliot
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers who love Ancient History novels
Recommended to Lucinda by: anonymous
This hook is written from the perspective of Kassandra, and shows a Trojan war from the female point of view, a terrible and avoidable catastrophe leading to degradation and mass slaughter, rape and the destruction of innoents.

Hector and the other warriers are deluded in their male notions of honour and glory, Agamemnon a brutal destroyer, Akhilles more or less a psychopath, finally toppled by the death of Patrokoles into madness,capable finally of a terrible act of necrophylia.

Of the women, He
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Marion Zimmer Bradley rewrote the Arthurian legends from a feminist perspective in The Mists of Avalon; Ursula K. Le Guin did it for the Aeneid in Lavinia. While this isn't terrible, both of those books were more successful than this one.

In the frame to this story, an aged Kassandra insists that a bard is telling the story of the fall of Troy is all wrong--in the previous generation, women had ruled cities and lived in harmony with the Goddess and everything was hugs and puppies until men totall
Fredrick Danysh
Based on the legend of Helen of Troy, Firebrand follows the life of Kassandra from princess to Amazon warrior, priestess, captive, and mother. This is an interesting historical fiction.
Feb 22, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gosh, I hate it when I can't decide whether a book is good or bad. LIKE THIS ONE. The story is kinda interesting (I sure do want to know the ending) and there are some positive things to the characters building, namely that none of the women were overly mean to each other, and didn't degrade each other. But that only small pro is not enough to weight against all the cons.
1. I read this book because I was told it was feminist. I saw very little feminism (or ver
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
Dec 14, 2011 rated it did not like it

Ive always been a little leery about this book and her other works. In this for example a character spoiler: (view spoiler)
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I'm always up for an alternate point of view story, and Cassandra/Kassandra is a character from the story of the Trojan War who has the potential to be very interesting - a prophetess whose words are believed by no one. Unfortunately, Bradley likes to bludgeon the reader with her particular brand of feminism, i.e., things were better in that mythical time when everyone worshiped the Earth Mother, and woman should be free to take on consorts as they please, since men are all such jerks anyway. Bl ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Interesting re-telling of the fall of Troy from the point of view of Kassandra - a priestess and princess of Troy.

The book makes a massive amount of the fact that many of the main characters are female. Actually, what the book is really about is the different ways that women relate to men and to each other. This provides some food for thought, but is spoiled quite a lot by not being very nuanced in its portrayals. There are a lot of absolute statements made, and portrayal of extremes, without mu
Dec 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book started with an interesting premise, weaving in the myths of greece in a tale of real lives, but soemthing wasn't working for me. I got about half way through the book before I figured it out. The main character, and all the charachters, actually, are not logical, in that the author makes them do things and have reactions that aren't true to their characters, just to move the story along. They don't stay true to how she originally portrays them to be and it makes it confusing for the r ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, own, 2015, problematic
This book was pretty abysmal, but I kept reading it anyways bc TROJAN WAR, y'all. Bradley spends ages talking about the minutia of Kassandra's daily life, and about 1 paragraph each on the important events of Achilles' death, the Trojan Horse, etc. There's also a ridiculous epilogue where she gets a happy ending (as happy as possible after your ENTIRE family is killed or enslaved, on top of the destruction of your home and everything you hold dear). She's held up as a strong woman with Amazonian ...more
Alexia Moon
I have read some other books by Marion Zimmer Bradley and I just love her books. This one is no exception. Loved it, loved it! Some parts broke my heart and some parts made me smile. Cassandra was inspiring, her strength and determination. Definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves Greek myths and history because even though it's a fictional work it's simply amazing and captivating!

Re-read during April 2019: Still loving it :)
Nov 17, 2007 rated it did not like it
Irritatingly inaccurate, not that we know the truth of the story. Hecuba and ex-Amazon? Kassandra kills Achilles thanks to her training as an Amazon? I don't understand the attraction to the person who recommended it and am thoroughly unimpressed with the writing of an author of whom several of my friends are fans.
Patricia Ferreira
Good book, very entertaining and also teaches about the myths involving the war on Troy.
Rebecca Roeder
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Greek Mythology retelling with a strong but relatable female lead and a good message? Sign me up! I started reading this book two days ago and finished it today. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me angry and it warmed my heart.
Personally I found it interesting how she portrayed the different characters everyone knows (or should know) already, as well as the supernatural part of this universe. I have recently read 'the song of Achilles' as well, both with characterisations of him others
Carmen (TheReadingTrashQueen)
I read this years and years ago and absolutely loved it. I've been wanting to reread it for ages, as it's stayed with me always, but turns out I had the title wrong all this time! I thought it was called 'Cassandra', but after a thorough search today I finally found it. Such a shame that I recently also found out about the author's past. It doesn't make me love the book any less, but it does give it a bit of a sour taste, and I wonder how I'll fare on my unavoidable reread.
the prose is well-crafted but falls short of inspiring - irritatingly, portrays kassandra as a lesbian for the first half of the book then places her in an affair with aeneas - provides an interesting and engaging spin on the illiad yet all but ignores the aeneid - nevertheless prompts critical thought regarding the role of women in a mythos created of, by, and for men
I did enjoy this read , but at the same time I feel the story was a it dry in it's telling.
"The Firebrand" of the title is Paris of Troy whose actions provide the impetus that unleashes a storm leading to the fall and conflagration of his city. His twin sister Cassandra - or Kassandra in this telling - is a prophetess who foresees the doom that her brother will bring but is unable to do anything to stop it.

(Note: The author renders Greek proper names that we are used to seeing spelled with a "C" to be "K" instead. Thus, Achaian is Akhaian, Achilles is Akhilles, Mycenae is Mykenae, and
Kevin Futers
Oct 08, 2014 rated it liked it
There was a lot of enjoyable material in this book but it fails essentially on the point of evoking the period.

I'm not saying that there was never a time that women ruled cities - there is evidence from a very early Neolithic settlement in Turkey that suggests that it may have been inhabited mostly by women and that men may have been visitors at but have spent most of their year either as herders or as hunters.

That however, was the Neolithic. The site usually identified as Troy is very much a Br
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Marion Zimmer Bradley has taken on a different myth with this book. She’s moved from her normal home of Avalon and the British Isles to the ancient city of Troy. This book focuses on the Princess Cassandra (in the novel spelled “Kassandra”) – daughter of the Amazon Hecuba and King Priam. In mythology, Kassandra was crazy – prophesying doom at every corner, with no one ever believing her. Bradley has chosen to look at this a different way – her usual feminist/goddess worshipping way. Kassandra’s ...more
Nicole N. (A Myriad of Books)
I really wanted to like this more than I didn't. I was ready to dive into the fantasy world of Bradley especially after reading two of her "modern" novels, Ghostlight and Witchlight.

Bradley really has a knack for details that I just adore. She has the ability to create such world in your head and for me, it plays out flawlessly like a movie when I read her books.

This particulate novel is about Kassandra, the infamous priestess and princess of Troy who was cursed to speak prophecy but never be b
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is one of my favourite books. I've read it at least 5 or 6 times. I will read almost any book that deals with the Trojan War but I haven't always enjoyed them, I think because they either tend to dwell heavily on the war or Helen. This book takes on the viewpoint of Cassandra, a truly interesting character. In the Illiad and other myths she is beautiful but insane. While Zimmer Bradley continues this idea her Cassandra is never portrayed with wringing hands and wild hair, going on hysterica ...more
Jul 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I went to the library in search of another of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Books of Avalon and I came home with The Firebrand. This is the story of the Trojan War told through the eyes of Kassandra, one of the princesses who has been portrayed as insane in many versions of the legend. I really liked this book and the different twists that it gave to the legend. It is interesting how many of the women characters appear to live a pretty idle life and be at the disposal of the men in the story, but in r ...more
Sep 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Full of history,cult practices, and human struggle, Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Firebrand is an original take on a well known Greek classic, The Iliad. With creative historical interpretations and powerful language, Bradley creates characters and a mythology unique to her. She creativly balances what is known of the Illiad and the realism involved with the people and practices of ancient Greece and it's her acute sense of detail that sets her book apart from others of the genre. Bradley cleverly ...more
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Reading Through T...: March 2015 Read: "The Firebrand" 3 8 Mar 26, 2015 09:53AM  

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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
“Customs have no reason; they simply are.” 5 likes
“Perché lei riusciva a capire quel che non capivano i suoi genitori? Non avrebbero dovuto essere più saggi di lei? Era spaventoso che non lo fossero.” 0 likes
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