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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars at its heart, a romance, 25 Aug. 2004
By 
Joe Sherry (Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"The Forbidden Tower" is another of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels. This one is set shortly after the events of "The Spell Sword", where Callista had been rescued and the Cat People defeated. Damon Ridenow is engaged to marry Ellemir, a daughter of the Alton family. Ellemir's twin sister, Callista, intends on marrying the Terran, Andrew Carr. This seems simple enough. Two couples want to get married. But, this is the basis for the entire novel and the way this plays out is rather interesting. The trouble is in who these people are.
The marriage of Damon and Ellemir is not the problem. The problem is Andrew and Callista. You see, Callista is a Keeper of Arilinn Tower. What this means is that for a woman to become a Keeper there are years of training and conditioning of her senses and her psychic powers and they are honed so tightly that physical contact is almost unbearable, let alone emotional attachment. Callista may love Andrew very much, but years of conditioning has made her unable to physically respond to him, and should she respond there is the threat of Callista's powers attacking Andrew without her control (part of the conditioning). They marry, but understand that they cannot consummate the marriage until Callista's conditioning can be undone, and this may take months and years.
Meanwhile they are all living at the Alton estate (as would be customary on Darkover). Andrew is adapting to life on Darkover and is discovering his role in the household and with his new family in friends. But Andrew still has Terran (think Earth) ways of thinking, and this causes more problems, especially since Damon, Ellemir and Callista are all telepaths, as is Andrew. The closeness of Darkovan and telepathic relationships is frightening and different to Andrew and he recoils at times causing conflict and confusion.
At its heart this novel is a romance, in part between Andrew and Callista, but also between all four of the major characters. Exactly how that works out would spoil the story, but it is something that is presented as fairly natural on Darkover (though if we judged it by our own standards it would be unusual at best and perhaps deviant at worst). There is also a major conflict within Darkover's culture because of how the four are viewing their psychic powers and what proper use of them is (there is tradition and laws on Darkover regarding use of "laran", the psi power.). This puts the four into direct opposition with the ruling powers of Darkover.
While the relationship between Andrew and Callista is at the heart of the novel, the strongest point was (in my view) was the conflict between the four and the rulers of Darkover. This was the most interesting part and one that I wish was focused on much more than the attempts for Callista and Andrew to finally consummate their marriage. This was a good Darkover novel, but not one of the best. Perhaps if the focus would have been on the "Forbidden Tower" aspect of the novel it would have been the best of the Darkover novels.
-Joe Sherry
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, Great characters, 29 Jan. 2012
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A gripping Darkover book, with the four main characters well drawn and sympathetic. There is undoubted love interest between all four main characters, but the storyline is much more than just romance. Indeed a showdown between the ruling forces of Darkover, both the outward Council, the non-materialistic established Towers and the four heroes nicely rounds the book to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion. Darkover itself is rounded out too, with one of the main characters being the Terran, who becomes fully integrated with the other three Darokovian main characters. This is a book, not a short story, and well worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for Darkover, 27 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
If you're reading the whole of the Darkover series, this book is set at the same time as The Renunciates (Free Amazons) trilogy and is crucial to the understanding of how the Terrans were received on the planet, and how oppresive tradition was defied by those who had nothing more to lose. It is a turning point for the 'aristocracy' of Darkover, in the understanding and use of matrix technology, at least as important as the introduction of the Compact. Emotional in places, dark in others, but always powerful, this book quickly draws the reader into the world of Darkover at a time when Terran and Darkovan relationships were at their most friendly. Do your best to get hold of a copy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars You've gotta love it, 20 May 2002
By A Customer
If you're a Darkover fan, you've got to love this book. All the Bradley standards are here, and more: psychic powers, politics, feudal families, Terran-Darkovan culture clash, with the added bonus of that ultimate free-love-heretical-beliefs culty paradise, the Forbidden Tower, where virtually all our favourite characters seem to send up at one point or another in the series' progression. Read it and be very, very jealous of Andrew, Damon, Callista, Ellemir et el!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chippy (not), 12 Dec. 2013
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Another great book in the Darkover series, its a fantastic read that transports you to another world , i highly recommend this read .
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The Forbidden Tower (Darkover)
The Forbidden Tower (Darkover) by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Paperback - 18 Feb. 1980)
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