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Firebrand [Hardcover]

Marion Zimmer Bradley
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 1989
Marion Zimmer Bradley, the New York Times bestselling author who reimagined the legend of King Arthur and Camelot in The Mists of Avalon, delivers another alternate vision of classical myth with The Firebrand -- a tale of the Trojan War.

Born of noble blood, Kassandra is destined for a greater life than that of a Trojan princess. Even before her mother sends her to live among the Amazons, Kassandra is chosen by the Sun God, Apollo, as his priestess-and has the gift of foresight bestowed upon her.

She has foreseen the destruction of Troy-a great war between Akhaians and Trojans and the wrath of the gods upon them all. But on one believes Kassandra's prophecies ... or heeds her warnings about the woman known as Helen of Troy.

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

The author of The Mists of Avalon here "vividly recounts" the Trojan War. "Although these mythic figures stumble through some petty, rather too modern dialogue," PW found that "Bradley animates . . . the conflicts between a culture that reveres the strength of women and one that makes them mere consorts of powerful men."
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Bradley ( The Mists of Avalon ) has combined several legends about the fall of Troy in this novel, told from the point of view of Kassandra, daughter of King Priam. After receiving the gift of prophecy from the god Apollo and then rejecting him, she was cursed when he decreed that her vision would be taken as dreams or the ravings of a madwoman. Some basic knowledge of Greek mythology would be helpful to the reader in keeping the various gods and their relationships straight. She makes a strong statement about the desirability of women having control of their own destinies and about the cruelties men inflict upon them. Literary Guild featured alternate. Andrea Lee Shuey, Dallas P.L.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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AT THIS TIME of year, the light lingered late; but the last glow of sunset had faded now in the west, and mist had begun to drift in from the sea. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at Greek Mythology June 23 2004
Though there were several things I didn't like about this book, it inspired such emotion from me that I have to say in spite of myself that it is very well-written and I understand the author's message. First off, for the readers that seem to slam her inclusion of mother-goddess worship in those times over preference for the dominant male-god worshipping, they are not looking at Greek mythology closely! The "Earth Mother" discussed is none other than the Greek Goddess Gaia who came before Zeus, Hera etc. The Python and the slaying of the Python by Apollo is in reference to Gaia's child and Apollo's slaying of it. Just type up Gaia, Greek mythology on any search engine and you can read about it. As for her "belittling" of the Trojan horse in the myth as others seem to complain about, again this is understandable. Archaelogical evidence over the supposed "discovered" city of Troy believes that Troy did fall to an earthquake and there is no evidence of a Trojan horse. This book was Bradley's attempt to get closer to the truth about Troy - a myth that has fascinated many for years and also seems to include a clear bias to male characters throughout time in such epic novels as "The Illiad", "Odyssey" etc. If one woman comes forth and challenges those stereotypes, then what is so terribly wrong about that?! In the other epic novels, Paris' act is not nearly criticized as much as it should be and Helen is mainly portrayed as a lascivious, evil adultress. In this novel, Bradley portrays a self-centered Paris, because obviously that's what he was to have committed his deed and portrays Helen simply as a woman exercising her right in choosing a lover. Read more ›
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2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, poor execution... May 11 2004
If you're looking for a 'typical' Bradley book, this one falls short of most of her previous retellings. The premise of the book, whereby we see through Kassandra's eyes during the Trojan War, is interesting and I thought that if anyone could pull this off admirably it would be Bradley. However, this falls way short of her other books by a longshot.
First of all, her characters are hopelessly static and laregely unsympathetic. Using Mists of Avalon as a yardstick, every character in that book except one was a dynamic, exciting character that I felt sorry for and I could easily empathize with. In this novel, Bradley seems to have gone on a far more feminist bent and it seems she almost refuses to give any male in the story a sympathetic side. Paris, Hector, and Priam act ridiculously stereotypical and I still cannot understand why Paris acts the way he does toward his sister. The explanation that Bradley yields to us is hardly acceptable. The only male characters you might sympathize with is Odysseus, who is caught between friendship and honor. Even Aeneas is a flat character who only serves as a love interest to Kassandra. After all, if he wasn't there (in the novel as that role) then Kassandra would have seemed even less real. This character problem doesn't only relate to males though. Imadara, Penthesila, Andromache, and Polyexna are all horribly underwritten and underrepresented. Most of the time I was reading this book I was asking myself, "Who possibly acts like this?!" I'm fully aware of what Ancient Greece (and obviously by extension, Ancient Troy) was like, but I simply see many of these characters emontional conflicts as contrived and forced. Paris strangling his sister?! Andromache's hatred toward Kassandra at the end?
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2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't match up to others by this author. July 4 2004
Having read all of Marion Zimmer Bradley books, I have learned to love her style of writing. However, I felt that this book fell short. I think the only reason I made it through the whole book was because it was by this author and I kept expecting the ending to make up for the rest of it. This did not happen and the ending was a let down. I kept wondering, what is the point of this story? There was much rambling on about different gods which took away from the characters. Everything the main charcter, Kassandra, set out to do was in vain. I felt very disappointed when finished with this book. While I have treasured and even re-read previous Bradley books in the past, I will not open this one again. I do recommend The Mists of Avalon or The Priestess of Avalon instead.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Mists"-lite Aug. 31 2003
By debeehr
In this retelling of the Trojan war from Kassandra's point of view, Marion Zimmer Bradley re-explores some of the themes she previously visited in THE MISTS OF AVALON, including an ancient, Goddess-centered and feminine-centered religion that is slowly fading away before a newer, male-oriented religion, as well as a retelling of mythological/historical events from a female viewpoint. This is not as well done as in Mists, partly because we remain locked in Kassandra's single viewpoint the whole time and therefore lose the breadth and scope that made Mists so memorable, and partly because she did it before so the characters do not seem as original. However, this is still an interesting and engrossing book, and an interesting and different take on the Trojan war.
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