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The World Wreckers by Marion Zimmer Bradley
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This was, in many ways, supposed to be the end of the Darkover series. It wrapped up multiple plot lines from earlier (published) books, and ended the Darkover from those books.

Spoiler Alert *************************************************​

Darkover 'loses', and ultimately becomes a part of the Terran Empire, like every other human colony. But it makes that Empire change its policies and practices, something no other lost colony ever has. It's the best outcome Darkover could ever expect to get. ( )
  BruceCoulson | Apr 3, 2014 |
I've been reading Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels in order of publication, and if you've seen my fairly negative reviews of the last few, you may be wondering why I keep reading them. Well, before The World Wreckers, Marion Zimmer Bradley was wondering why she kept writing them. They hadn't sold well. She felt like she was repeating the same stories. She was ready to call it quits -- and then she found inspiration. (So she says in her introduction to this book.)

That inspiration shows here, and I am glad I kept on. This one is much better than its predecessors -- yes, I enjoyed reading it! Sure, I still get annoyed at the oddities that should have been caught in editing. And if you're a Darkover die-hard, well, take heed that the really harsh reviews over at Amazon contain bitter complaints about inconsistencies with other stories of the, uh, Darkover-verse. But none of that came at the expense of my enjoyment of this book.

The World Wreckers takes place as Andrea Closson, representing a shady interplanetary business interest, plots to destroy the fabric of Darkovan society. See, Darkovans have been resisting outsiders' attempts to exploit its resources for profit. Andrea wants to destroy Darkover's unique civilizations, so that those who seek profit can move in and build it up again as they desire.

Closson is close to succeeding in her destructive scheme. The old ways, the old peoples, are dying out, the sabotaged environment is killing the planet's population, and those who remain are scattered, unorganized and unable to fight back. This book is the story of a few who come together, from far and wide, to fight for Darkover's survival. The crisis is planetary, but the stories are intensely personal for our protagnoists. And even if the culmination of their struggle is -- well, rather sudden and most definitely orgy-tastic -- I was entertained from beginning to end.

( )
  ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
I'm a fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley, but my affection for her rests not on the Avalon books, which I didn't care for, but her Darkover series. Darkover is a "lost colony" of Earth that falls into a medieval society. Ruled by a psychic aristocracy it is later rediscovered by a star-spanning high-tech human federation after centuries, giving the series a feel of both science fiction and fantasy. The series as a whole features strong female characters, but it has enough swashbuckling adventure to draw the male of the species, and indeed this series was recommended to me by a guy (when we were in high school!)

Although some books are loosely connected, having characters in common, they were written to be read independently and were written out of sequence. Part of the difficulty of knowing what to read, and in what order to read comes from that. This is an early book in terms of Marion Zimmer Bradley's career, in my opinion before she had come into her own and honed her craft; I'd count this as one of her weakest books among those not involving collaborations. Yet chronologically in terms of the timeline of the series, this is the last book, at least if you count those we can be sure MZB wrote on her own, not part of any collaboration. It's definitely not the book where I'd start. (I'd recommend The Shattered Chain or Heritage of Hastur as better entry points.) There are also inconsistencies between this book and those that fall earlier in the chronology but written later. For someone who has become a fan of Darkover though, well, I couldn't resist seeking it out, but it doesn't represent the series at its best. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Oct 22, 2012 |
Darkover is in danger; intent on bringing the planet fully into the Empire unnamed interests employ Andrea Closson of World Wreckers Inc to bring the plant to the point of destruction. Unusually Ms Closson decides to lead this mission herself. With Darkover already in a time of turmoil with its age old structure of government gone, Regis Hastur now finds himself the frequent target of would be assassins. Fearing the permanent loss of his peoples’ telepathic powers Regis has sent out a universal call for all know telepaths in the hopes of regenerating these powers. But even if Regis becomes aware of the plot against his planet, will it be possible to undo all the damage Darkover has already suffered?

In The World Wreckers, in Darkover history it follows on shortly after Sharra’s Exile, we find the young Regis now leading his world with faithful Danilo at his side. This story is relatively short by comparison with its two chronological predecessors, and the real centre of focus is the first small group if telepaths who come to Darkover, a mixed bunch of Terrans and those, initially, of uncertain origins. Of these it is David, a Terran medic, and Keral, a youngster of the fabled ancient and long lived Chieri, the alien natives of Darkover.

Young David and Keral, young by his own standards, form a bond, although the indeterminate gender of Keral initially proves a problem; but their relationship leads to interesting developments. Their relationship, and that enjoyed by others in the group, is touching and heart-warming. I would have liked to have seen much more of Regis and Danilo in the story, and especially their relationship, but they do not feature too greatly in the story.

It is a good tale, the main emphasis is on the characters, the plot to destroy the planet playing a relatively minor role on the whole. It is a story of love, betrayal and ultimate redemption. ( )
  presto | Apr 25, 2012 |
DARKOVER
  rustyoldboat | May 28, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marion Zimmer Bradleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Freas, KellyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, MelvynCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siudmak, WojtekCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To four people who - each in his or her own way - kept my sense of wonder alive:
Anne McCaffrey
Juanita Colson
Ursula LeGuin and
Randall Garrett
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WORLDWRECKERS, INC. They didn't call it that, of course.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Planetary Investments unlimited - 
that was its official name. but unofficially it was known as Worldwreckers, Inc. For a fee, its agents would infiltrate any world unwilling to give up its independence, and do enough damage so that the natives would be forced to allow Terran investors to step in and salvage their planet. And now, once again, its agents were at work.

In the 78 years since Cottman IV, called Darkover by its natives, was rediscovered by the Terran Empire, all efforts to colonize and industrialize this exotic world had failed.

And the person in charge of "Worldwreckers, Inc" a centuries-old being who appeared to be a woman, had decided to ake on this particular assignment herself. After all, she had special insight into this world, for long ago - lifetimes ago - she had called Darkover home ...
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