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The Ladies of Mandrigyn Mass Market Paperback – 31 Dec 1984

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc.; Reissue edition (31 Dec 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345309197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345309198
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,084,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barbara Hambly's first Star Wars novel was the New York Times bestselling Children of the Jedi. Her other novels range from high fantasies to historical mysteries to vampire tales. She holds both a master's degree in medieval history and a black belt in Shotokan karate. A multiple Nebula Award nominee, she has also been president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She lives in Los Angeles.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Jan 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A mercenary captain obliged to train a bevy of middle and upper class ladies in the arts of war and lead them against a mighty wizard. Sounds dire, doesn't it? But with Hambly in charge you are always guaranteed an intelligent handling of plot and characters delineated with delicacy and creativity. This is no "thud and blunder" epic of sword and sorcery - it is, as one grows to expect of this author - a thing of beauty and a novel you will happily read time and again. I first read "The Ladies of Mandrigyn" a decade or more ago when I was an enthusiastic adolescent with less than discerning taste in literature, but Barbara Hambly's books stand the test of time. Buy it, already!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. P. G. Allies on 8 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Barbara Hambly has a good imagination and the story itself is fairly gripping - I was anxious to keep reading, and spent more time than I could really afford sneaking off for a few more minutes.

But I got very tired of the endless repetition - almost every time she appeared, Starhawk's profile and character were redrawn using a random selection from a reservoir of a few dozen words. The same was true of virtually every character, and indeed, every situation, journey, the weather or piece of landscape. This repetition added nothing to the story, and had it been left out the book would have lost nothing and been half the size.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 36 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
One of Hambley's best! 4 Jun 2003
By Steven Sammons - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book, which I stumbled onto some years back in a used bookstore, has to be one of Hambley's best efforts, and that is saying something from such a talented and diverse author. This is a different kind of fantasy book, not about awe-inspiring heroes or mighty wizards, but one told from the viewpoint of an ordinary everyday soldier, who turns out to not be so ordinary. It details the life and philosophies of a mercenary, which is not common in fantasy literature. The characters are well-written and fully fleshed out, very believable. The main character, Capt. Sun Wolf, is one of the best "everyman" characters in print. His efforts to train a group of women how to fight to rescue their men are the central focus of most of the book, and it is wonderful to see how his attitudes change throughout the book. The main female characters are strongly written, and the central female character, Sheera, is one of the unforgettable characters in fanstasy literature. The tale of love between the capt and his second-in-comman Starhawk, both believing the other has no feelings for them, is heartwrenchingly beautiful and gripping. All in all, this story introduces the reader to a world that feels so real you almost expect to open a door and enter it. And the main plot twist of the secret of magical power is so shocking that it is doubtful the reader will know it's coming. This is a great story, and I highly recommend it to anyone lucky enough to find it in some old dusty bookstore.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Women will love this book 25 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Why? Because there are so many fantastic female characters! Instead of being stuck choosing between the roles of damsel-in-distress, wicked stepmother, or femme fatale, Hambly's female characters are diverse, powerful, and human. Which is not to slight her men! They, too, are excellently fleshed out characters with a combination of endearing and repulsive traits. While the plot is somewhat predictable, there are enough twists to keep you turning the pages. It's a shame that Amazon reports this book being out-of-print because it's one of Hambly's best.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Ladies of Mandrigyn - a winner 1 Jun 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book has become one of my perennial favorites, along with its sequels, "The Witches of Wenshar" and "The Dark Hand of Magic." Hambly does an exquisite job of building believable characters in her believable fantasy world, and the realism of their inner and outward conflicts are almost always absolutely true to their own nature. My copies of Ladies as well as Witches and Dark Hand are so worn that I regret the books are out of print, as I would gladly replace my tattered copies. By all means anyone looking for a good read should hunt down the Ladies of Mandrigyn.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding fiction! 25 Sep 2007
By Margaret Fiore - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I only just recently "discovered" Barbara Hambly, when a friend loaned me "Dragonsbane". Where has Hambly been all my life??!! After reading "Dragonsbane" I went looking for more, and I am absolutely delighted to have found "The Ladies of Mandrigyn".

This is an absolutely riveting tale, with a striking couple at its center. As with "Dragonsbane", some ingredients of the mix cause it to masquerade as cheap fantasy thriller fiction (the central characters are named Sun Wolf and Star Hawk, for instance...) But the depth and realism of the characterisations, and the complexity of the story as it unfolds, soon set the book apart from - far above - the average.

Hambly starts the book in the center of a mercenary warrior band, with Sun Wolf as the chief. The mercenaries are a convincing welter of characters, and the absolute ascendancy of the chief is clear. But as the story unfolds, we gradually get snippets of Sun Wolf's childhood with a bullying father, and his hidden artistic and mystical leanings. These are revealed without lessening his warrior status.

Likewise, his second in command slowly gains more depth and detail. From the original sketch of a woman who has built a reputation for deadliness and taciturnity, she develops into an internally vulnerable, highly intelligent woman, an ex-nun with a meditation habit, and the ability to put honesty before comfort.

Hambly's story of a group of women in an occupied city, sent to hire a mercenary band to liberate their people, and their interaction with the mercenaries soon turns into a twisty tale of human motivations and conflicts. Her delicate treatment of the clash of different cultures and beliefs reminds me of the work of Orson Scott Card (this is high praise). In particular, the ultimate surprise ending (and there is definitely more than one surprise at the ending), while it completely blind-sides the reader, rings absolutely true! The magic which winds through the story is almost an unnecessary frill, though a very nice one, and again, convincingly done.

While this is fun fiction rather than deathless prose, it is definitely a thought-provoking work. But it delivers those thoughts in a compulsive page-turner full of action and excitement. Just the way I like it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"What in the name of the cold hells is this?" --Sun Wolf 22 Dec 1997
By - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the most gripping, vivid, richly colored book I have ever read. And this is only the first; the last (The Dark Hand of Magic) is easily on the same level. I've read the series six times and will read it again. Not because I am some kind of sick twisted individual, but because this novel seduces the die-hard fantasy reader, seizes one by the throat and drags one through "the dust and blood that hangs on everybody," as Adam Duritz says (albiet on a totally different subject). I love the weighty richness of Tad Williams, and I think TW's writing is of a higher order. But this book isn't trying to be a masterpiece; rather, it is what every good fantasy story should be--raw emotion barely contained. It's a roller coaster. You'll get choked up; you'll laugh with joy; you'll feel the rush.

No, this story won't hold your hand as it slowly weaves another world. It drops you in this other world. And Hambly uses beautifully original description for a genre that has been as stale as crouttons for... well, since Tolkien I guess. There's simply nothing else like it.
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