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The Saga of the Renunciates

(Darkover Omnibus #3)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  979 ratings  ·  31 reviews
In the three novels which comprise The Saga of the Renunciates, Marion Zimmer Bradley tells the masterful tales of two valiant women who face and try to break the invisible chains of custom, convention, habit, and expectation with which society binds women, and women bind themselves.

Magdalen Lorne is a Terran woman born and reared on Darkover. She thinks herself the perfe
Mass Market Paperback, omnibus, 1116 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by DAW
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Apr 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Another re-read for me. I've always liked these 3 books in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series. The Renunciates are women living in the feudal, patriarchal Darkovan society who renounce the traditional dependency on men & work to live in new ways doing all kinds of different things. These have been out of print for quite a while, so it was nice to see them in the world again. I read them when they first came out - late '70's/early '80's after my father turned me on to the whole series with T ...more
Aug 09, 2007 rated it did not like it
If someone threatens to kill you, and the only way that this assassin would agree to spare your life is if you agree to read this book, die. I usually read sci-fi/fantasy to immerse myself in another world and to enjoy a brainless read, but this book was a waste of 1300 pages. There's no sort-of-ashamed about this one; I'm really ashamed. But I figure sharing my shame is okay as long as it spares you embarking on such a futile read. Sorry, MZB. I set out to read about amazons, and you gave me th ...more
Oct 27, 2008 rated it liked it
A part of the Darkover series.
I thought I would like this more than I actually did. Bradley has her usual strong female lead characters but it didn't touch me, I didn't feel it the way I have with some of her other creations.
It was OK, but that's paltrey for Bradley. Usually I have high praise for her work.
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
75 out of 100 for 2010

The second book in this omnibus book is a reread for class, but, since I just read a 500 page book for class, I'm going to count it against my goal of 100 for '10. If you are interested in my reactions to Thendara House, which is, I think, Bradley's best novel, see my review of it.
May 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
I always love the books in the Darkover series. This one delves deeper into the ladies who rebel against Darkovers male-dominated society. Very good read.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wondrous, enlightening, and beautifully told ...

As a YA, the Darkover novels were, among the thousands of books I devoured, some of the small dozen or so that shaped my path, my philosophy of life. I never tire of rereading them to discover more. With a mere hand full of others (le Guin, Heinlein, etc.) MZB is one of ' the Greats'. She never fails to make me delve inward when I'm reading and look outward with renewed understanding when I'm through. Blessed be!
Four stars each for The Shattered Chain and Thendara House, two stars for City of Sorcery because even 17 years later, that ending still pisses me off. Maybe a reread will change my mind, but I will be mad about it forever.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This grouping of books into an omnibus makes considerable sense, and makes for good "Standalone" reading. There are so many Darkover novels, of such varying quality, that it makes for difficult choosing. Here are three that make sense in side one set of covers. ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A saga about women, discovery and love.

Oh, my. I turned the last page, found it was the end and all I could say was I want more, I want more.
May 07, 2020 rated it liked it
The Shattered Chain
Thendara House
City of Sorcery
Sep 05, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a really good story. Magda finds herself in an impossible situation. She is a Terra agent on Darkover to learn and study. Her ex is held for ransom, and is forced to rescue him herself by imposing as an Amazon. Naturally, she comes face to face with the true Amazons. She must take the Amazon oath in order to save her ex, without betraying her Terra roots and responsibilities. Later, she comes to find that her latent laran abilities are awakened. Marion Z. Bradley rea
Jun 13, 2008 rated it liked it
I think I actually had an earlier edition which had The Shattered Chain and Thendara House together, and read City of Sorcery as a separate book. I think I read it later, even though I remember it least. The other two I remember pretty clearly.

In Bradley's world of Darkover (an alien planet with a long-lost human colony) women have few legal rights and are the property of fathers and husbands. "Renunciates" are women who reject the social system and band together in groups for mutual protection.
Feb 24, 2013 rated it liked it
The first time I read these books I absolutely adored them. Maybe I could relate better 10 odd years ago. Reading it the second time around was a little painful because I wanted to kick Jaelle and Magda's asses and really hurt Peter something fierce.

Jaelle and Magda seem to like each other but not as much as they like men, which was disappointing. They also didn't seem to know their own minds when it came to men and how they should be treated. The reality of being with men as companions instead
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! I wish I had read it when it first came out, when I was a younger woman finding my place in a patriarchal society. I realize how far women have come since the 60s and how far we still have to go to be truly equal and this book explores all those issues. It also explores what was one of the themes of feminism in the 70s, that in order to truly be who we are, women will need to give up the company of men entirely. That path was not for me, but it was interesting to see it explored ...more
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It was lovely to see Darkover from outside the Comyn. The additional world building as the Terran Empire meets Darkover was fascinating. But the true strength of this omnibus comes from the diverse and powerful women who make up its pages. The exploration of femininity and womanhood, the discussion of a woman's place in society, and the growth and variety of relationships were refreshing to read in a genre populated by mindless sexbots and romantic interests for the male lead. Another great inst ...more
Jennifer Harriss
Well, as always, I find MZB's book thought-provoking and enjoyable. I read two of the three books in this omnibus way back in the 80s, and some of the things that bugged me then bug me even more now. So much SF written at this time by women focuses on how men suck. So I find a lot of the attitudes silly, such as when a guy who married a native freaks out at her for not buying his beard suppressing stuff. The clothing they make this woman wear is also very Star Trek - mini-skirts and tights that ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
An epic adventure with compelling main characters and a richly developed world. Some of the characters were frustratingly dense and/or whiny at times, but overall I thought that there was interesting character development, and many of the players had a good mix of heroic and incriminating actions. I enjoyed the concept of the guild house, and the discussions on women vs. society. I haven't read any other Darkover novels though, so I did feel like I was missing some of the greater context. ...more
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This edition seemed to have some typos. However, it didn't detract from my enjoyment. I've read these before, several years ago, and enjoyed them again. There are some interesting themes here ... things to think about. The way homosexuality is treated, though, feels dated (the books were written in the late 80s, early 90s? Something like that.)
I am sorry that there was not another book to follow up with Camilla and Magda.

Camilla is my favorite character. Jael or Jaelle seems to be a popular name in feminist literature. The Female Man, Stir Fry, & This that I know of. Inspiring! Not a utopia, frusterating at times, like real life. A vision of how it could be. Lots of debate about differing viewpoints without being preachy.
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
This is probably the WORST of all of Bradley's books... it's terribly slow and full of women who are terribly unhappy about being women and wanting to be men... it's very disgusting...
I would NOT recommend this book to anyone...
However, I'm religious... so, I despised all of the inferences to homosexuality, that is faggotry...
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Thendara House is really the best book of the lot. It might be the best Darkover novel, period. I notice, though, reading it now, how incredibly dated much of the Terran technology and attitudes seem. Really? Thousands of years from now, we're going to be using ordinary photographic ID badges, escalators, and still be going into a tizzy over homosexuality? ...more
Shell Bailey
Sep 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own
Of the Darkover series. I tend to read all those books really far apart, so I can’t compare them, but I really must say that I like her world-building. I don’t tend to like her beginnings, but there’s something comfortably familiar about them once you get settled in.
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This is the book that got me started on the darkover series, which I really enjoy. This book is my favorite of the series because it focuses on the renunciates, a band of women who have their own code of life and society - I dug it.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
The saga of the Free Amazon Jaelle and her "sister" Magda Lorne of Terra, omnibus of
The Shattered Chain re-read 1/22/1999
Thendard House re-read 1/23/1999
City of Sorcery re-read 12/13/1998 &
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Overall an enjoyable series that fell a little flat at the end but I liked the characters so much I had to finish it. Sometimes themes/arguments aren't all that subtle but I chalk this up to the time period it was written. ...more
M. J.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
For about four days, I could not put this down, I was so absorbed in these characters and the feudal society. A very good read!
Fiona Ellwood
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is part of my Darkover re-read, so I will review the series when I finish.
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another series from the world of Darkover. If you only read one set, this would be it. Great characters making a non-traditional choice in a well conceived culture. A must read.
Trish Crossett
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I am a huge fan of all of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover. But these are my favorites.
Nana Kitteh
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three books in one

The Shattered Chain, Thendara House and City of Sorcery. Tales of Magda the Terran born on Darkover and Jaelle, who both become Renunciates and their times together. In the first book, it's mostly about Magda who lives as a Terran Intelligence on Darkover. The second book is a crossing of lives: Madga lives in the Renunciates Guild house and Jaelle lives with the Terrans. The last book is a very long travel took Nevarsin, city of snows and beyond. It is very philosophical.
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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 Omnibus (7 books)
  • Heritage and Exile (Darkover Omnibus, #1)
  • The Ages of Chaos (Darkover Omnibus, #2)
  • The Forbidden Circle (Darkover Omnibus, #4)
  • A World Divided (Darkover Omnibus, #5)
  • Darkover: First Contact (Darkover Omnibus, #6)
  • To Save a World (Darkover Omnibus, #7)

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