Marion Zimmer Bradley,
The Saga of the Renunciates
(DAW, 2002)

The Saga of the Renunciates is an omnibus of Marion Zimmer Bradley's three Darkover novels -- The Shattered Chain (1976), Thendara House (1983) and City of Sorcery (1984) -- that deal with the Renunciate's Guild, a group within Darkovan society that allows women to free themselves from the oppressive rules of their world. At this point of Darkovan history, the planet (a lost colony of Earth) has been rediscovered by the Terran Empire. It works well as a single volume, as it's the three-part story of a Terran woman (Margali) who becomes involved in the guild by accident, and her personal growth as a result.

Personally, I found the third story rather tedious -- it is a quest story in which a group of women go searching for a mythical or secret Women's City, involving a lot of walking through frozen mountains and (I thought) a fairly anticlimactic ending.

In general, this book was a much better edition than The Ages of Chaos, the last omnibus edition of Darkover novels that I read. This book was edited better and the stories were more intriguing; they were easier to get into because I was not so put off by the editing mistakes. I was also able to relate to the characters in a much better way than the characters that Bradley had created in Chaos as a result of better character and plot development.

- Rambles
written by Melissa Kowalewski
published 1 March 2003

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