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The Laran Gambit
Part of Darkover
Marion Zimmer Bradley
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15 hours 48 minutes
Terran child psychologist Bryn Haslund has her hands full, treating the traumatized young victims of the interplanetary Star Alliance. She’s tried to stay out of politics, leaving that to her charismatic statesman father, Ernst. Despite her best efforts to remain neutral, she gets caught in the crackdown
of a protest-turned-riot. Then Ernst delivers a robotic speech in support of the Alliance’s tyrannical leader and goes missing.
With the Alliance’s secret police hot on her heels, Bryn finally locates her father in the research labs on Alpha, only to find that a mind-control device has been implanted in his brain. Searching for a way to disable the device, she discovers the records of a remote, almost-forgotten planet where telepathic
powers have been developed to an extraordinary degree … Darkover, a Lost Colony world circling a dim red star far out on the galactic rim. In the desperate hope that natural telepathy can disable the mechanical device and free her father’s mind, she hustles him onboard a smuggler’s ship. When they
try to land on Darkover, however, powerful winds knock their shuttle off-course, and it crashes in a rugged, glaciated mountain range. As the shuttle spins out of control, Bryn cries out for help … … and someone answers her telepathic plea.
Darkover poses its own dangers, from ice avalanches to bandits to gigantic carnivorous birds.
Moreover, the planet has a complicated, often contentious history with Terra. When the Terrans rediscovered Darkover after millennia of isolation, the aristocratic Comyn struggled to maintain their unique culture, often at a terrible price. Using their extraordinary psychic abilities called laran, they
forced the Terrans to honor Darkover’s independence. The vicious interstellar wars waged by the Star Alliance eventually forced the Terrans to withdraw. Two generations later, smugglers, pirates, and rebels still use Darkover as a hidden base, threatening to drag the Comyn into their own battles. So far,
Darkover’s leaders have managed to avoid becoming a battleground for a larger conflict. Now Bryn and her father threaten to break that precarious isolation.
To make matters worse, the mind-control device seems to be tightening its hold over Ernst, the Darkovans have their own agenda, and Bryn’s newly awakened psychic powers just might turn out to be lethal.
Can Bryn convince Darkover’s telepaths to help when they are deeply suspicious of Terrans and would rather remain forgotten? What are these strange new powers she’s developing? And can she restore Ernst’s mind before the Alliance enforcers track them down?
Science Fiction & Fantasy
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The Laran Gambit...
Marion Zimmer Bradley
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