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A Flame in Hali (Clingfire Trilogy) [Hardcover]

Marion Zimmer Bradley , Deborah J. Ross
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Daw Books (Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756402182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756402181
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.7 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,206,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compulsion and Free Will 13 Sep 2004
Format:Hardcover
Truly conflicted characters are somewhat rare in the world of science fiction and fantasy. Eduin Deslucido is such a character, the centerpiece of this trilogy. Saddled with an impossible compulsion by his father to revenge his family by killing all the Hasturs, Eduin, whose basic nature is actually that of a responsible, caring, and loving man, finds himself allied with a wild laran talent in the body of Saravio, both for the surcease from the agony his compulsion causes and as a tool to further his plans for eliminating Carolin Hastur and Varzil Ridenow, whom Eduin sees as the man responsible for keeping Carolin in power.
Eduin concocts a couple of schemes to bring Varzil into an undefended position, but when it comes to actually accomplishing his goal, Eduin is shown to be a man of extreme determination and, somewhat as a surprise even to himself, a man of ideals that are diametrically opposed to the mindless revenge desired by his father. His one and only former love, Dyannis, Varzil's sister, in training as a Keeper (at a time when female Keepers were thought impossible - a nice irony to modern Darkover when the exact reverse is thought to be true), becomes an intriguing character in her own right as she struggles to discipline her own talents and, after seeing the consequences of unrestricted laran warfare, a strong supporter of Varzil's Compact to ban the use of such weapons.
The characterization of Eduin and Dyannis is excellent and is the major driver of this book. These characters have more depth than is typical for most fantasy, and their inner turmoil is believable and leads directly to much of the action.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed the telling of this portion of the History of Darkovan and its Ages of Chaos.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compulsion and Free Will 2 Sep 2004
By Patrick Shepherd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Truly conflicted characters are somewhat rare in the world of science fiction and fantasy. Eduin Deslucido is such a character, the centerpiece of this trilogy. Saddled with an impossible compulsion by his father to revenge his family by killing all the Hasturs, Eduin, whose basic nature is actually that of a responsible, caring, and loving man, finds himself allied with a wild laran talent in the body of Saravio, both for the surcease from the agony his compulsion causes and as a tool to further his plans for eliminating Carolin Hastur and Varzil Ridenow, whom Eduin sees as the man responsible for keeping Carolin in power.

Eduin concocts a couple of schemes to bring Varzil into an undefended position, but when it comes to actually accomplishing his goal, Eduin is shown to be a man of extreme determination and, somewhat as a surprise even to himself, a man of ideals that are diametrically opposed to the mindless revenge desired by his father. His one and only former love, Dyannis, Varzil's sister, in training as a Keeper (at a time when female Keepers were thought impossible - a nice irony to modern Darkover when the exact reverse is thought to be true), becomes an intriguing character in her own right as she struggles to discipline her own talents and, after seeing the consequences of unrestricted laran warfare, a strong supporter of Varzil's Compact to ban the use of such weapons.

The characterization of Eduin and Dyannis is excellent and is the major driver of this book. These characters have more depth than is typical for most fantasy, and their inner turmoil is believable and leads directly to much of the action. However, the plot is, compared to other Darkover books, perhaps a little weak and certain elements of the end situation feel like they were pulled out of the hat, not fully melded with the rest of the story. Although this detracts from the overall power of the book, this failing is not major.

Thematically, this book continues those themes that have shown up in many of the Darkover stories: the right to self-determination, especially for women; personal integrity; the madness of war; sacrifice of the individual to further a larger goal for all. The final scene of this book does much to make the reader understand just how the Compact came to be accepted and adhered to throughout the centuries between this book's time and modern Darkover, and closes the Clingfire trilogy nicely. The nations of today could do far worse than subscribe to a similar Compact; perhaps if they did everyone could have a sounder sleep.

---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome addition to strong series 25 Oct 2004
By booksforabuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
King Carolin Hastur is revolutionizing Darkover through his compact--the agreement that every weapon be banned if it does not put its user at equal risk. The magical weapons that have dominated Darkover for generations, since the times of chaos at least, would be banned and magic would become limited to healing, to communications. Together with his friend and ally, Varzil Ridenow, he has spread the message and gotten agreement, but much of Darkover sees only what they lose by signing the compact.

A generation before, the Hastur king had destroyed the Deslucido family leaving only one man--and his sons alive. Now, Eduin Deslucido, who has already done so much to destroy Carolin's dreams, has an ally--a man trained in magic but now blessed or burdened with a goddess. Using this tool, Eduin hopes to destroy Varzil and then the last of the Hasturs, finally freeing himself of the curse that his father laid upon him.

Author Deborah J. Ross continues the Darkover world of Marion Zimmer Bradley in a story that feels very true to the original. In this tale of powerful magic, ancient hatreds, strong egos, and great emotion, Bradley and Ross trace out Eduin's evolving plan as well as the life-journey of the one woman Eduin has ever loved--Dyannis Ridenow, sister of Varzil.

Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series is a powerful set of tales (I found THE FORBIDDEN TOWER to be among the best fantasy books ever). Although A FLAME IN HALI isn't up there with the very best of Darkover, it's a welcome addition to the hundred kingdom era of that troubled planet's history.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Darkover Novel 19 Mar 2006
By Calliope - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am glad that Deborah Ross is continuing to write in the world of Darkover, and I think that overall she is doing a fine job. I am excited to see that she is going to release a new trilogy continuing the story of "modern" Darkover, which should tie up the many loose ends from "Traitor's Sun" (the last Darkover novel Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote before her death). If you are a fan of Darkover/MZB, "A Flame in Hali" is a must-read, and a solid effort from Ross. However, it is certainly not the place to begin the series, and does not rank among the best Darkover tales.

This novel mostly suffers from an unlikeable protagonist, Eduin Deslucido. Yes, we pity him because of the compulsion to kill that his father placed upon him. However, he is a self-serving character who goes through life manipulating others as he chooses, completely violating the moral code of Darkover. It is impossible to like him or want him to succeed in his goal of killing King Carolin and Varzil Ridenow, who we grew to love in the second volume of this trilogy. Unfortunately, they only have cameo roles in this book.

More interesting than Eduin is the heroine of the book, Dyannis, Varzil's sister. While she has a tendency to blame herself for everything, she at least has a strong personality and strong values, and we are rooting for her the whole time. Varzil is a wonderful character whenever we see him.

The story progressed slowly, but it never quite dragged. Not as good as the first two books of the trilogy, or Marion Zimmer Bradley's last Darkovers novels, but "A Flame in Hali" was an entertaining read, and the ending was heartbreaking.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars strong fantasy 3 Aug 2004
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The World of Darkover enhances psychic (laran) powers and wars are fought over long distances using special laran weapons created for that purpose. At the end of the age of the Hundred Kingdoms, King Carolin Hastur and keeper Varzil Ridenow pressure the various realms to sign the Compact that would ban long distance weapons of mass destruction.

King Carolin doesn't know it but he has a very powerful enemy who wants him dead as his former friend Edwin Deslucido is under a compulsion spell laid upon him by his father to kill the entire Hastur Clan. The spell controls Edwin forcing him to turn one kingdom against another in the hopes that Varzil will die so he can finally destroy Hastur. The keep under attack houses Varzil's sister, a woman who Edwin once loved and realizes he still loves. Is his love stronger than his father's hate spell because Edwin feels compelled to save her yet is also obsessed with his sire's mission.

Mindful of Hamlet, Edwin is one of the most tragic figures ever to grace the pages of a fantasy novel. He is not an evil man but a person driven to the point of madness because of a spell put upon him by his malevolent father. A FLAME IN HALI takes the reader into the mind of Edwin, a man who can't control his actions yet in the end, good can come out of the tragedy if the Compact Carolin and Varzil forge is signed by the kingdoms to prevent what happened in Hali from ever happening again. Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross have written a brilliant finale to an exciting mini-series

Harriet Klausner
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 13 Oct 2005
By T. V. Reichert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I found the book very disappointing. It did not at all feel like a culminating book of a trilogy; instead, it seemed to meander forward, from chapter to chapter. I have rarely before in the Darkover series felt a book that was not well plotted and developed. There was little driving force through the book, and by around 1/3 of the way through, I began to really feel like I was just slogging to the end.

While the second book in the trilogy focused largely on Varzil and Carolin, the two major actors of the time period in question, this book focuses on two other characters. Their stories had a "and then this happened....and then that happened....etc" feel. Secondary character development was also lacking.

Overall, this felt like too much treading water as the pages went by, followed by an unexpected (and unconvincing, given the 400 pages that had gone before) resolution.
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