Star of Danger
Cover of the first edition
|Author||Marion Zimmer Bradley|
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
Wade Montray, a civil servant of the Terran Empire is transferred from Earth to Darkover. A widower, he arrives with his teenaged son, Larry, who is fascinated by this alien world. Larry has learned the rudiments of the Darkovan language from tapes, and wants to explore outside the confines of the Terran Spaceport complex and the Trade City.
During his first solo exploration, Larry runs into a gang of street toughs. A local, Kennard Alton, intervenes. After Larry deports himself well in a one-on-one fight with one of the toughs, Alton invites him to his father’s home where the two share a meal. Alton explains some of the Darkovan customs. Valdir Alton, Kennard’s father, arrives home and invites Larry to return to his home when he wishes.
When Larry returns to his quarters, his father, Wade, is furious with his son’s adventure and confines him to the spaceport. Having promised to lend some books to Kennard, Larry realizes that by Darkovan customs, it will be a grave insult if he fails to return to the Alton home. Against his father’s wishes, he takes the books to Kennard.
Valdir Alton introduces Larry to Lorill Hastur, the head of Darkover’s governing council. Hastur questions Larry about his motivations for returning to the Alton home. Larry’s answers please Hastur, and he expresses his approval. Again, Larry is invited to return, but he says that his father probably won’t allow another visit.
Wade Montray is predictably angry and forbids his son’s return to the city, but later learns that Darkover’s ruling council has taken offense at Montray’s actions. Altons invited Larry to spend the summer at Armida, and recommends that for diplomatic reasons, Wade agrees to this.
After two weeks at Armida, Larry begins to feel more comfortable with the local customs. While riding, Kennard, Larry, Lord Alton and their guardsmen encounter a forest fire. Larry joins the others in fighting the fire. But the fire proves a diversion set by raiding bandits, who have attacked a nearby village. Valdir’s men track the bandits to a canyon, where Larry is taken prisoner during a fight. The bandits believe him to be Kennard Alton. In an attempt to gain information, they drug him with kirian.
The real Kennard Alton rescues Larry and they escape into the mountains. In the course of their escape, the two boys learn much about each other's cultures, and come to realize that each culture has benefits and drawbacks. Larry’s latent telepathic abilities emerge under the stress of the journey. They encounter Trailmen, banshee-birds and a chieri. The chieri reveals to Kennard that the Darkovans are of Terran origin and returns them, by teleportation, to the spaceport.
Kennard tells his father that he wishes to leave Darkover to attend school. Larry decides to remain on Darkover, living with the Altons. Under pressure from Valdir Alton, Wade Montray reveals that his wife, Larry’s mother, was a daughter of Aldaran, one of the comyn.
- Larry Montray, son of Wade Montray
- Wade Montray, a Terran administrator
- Kennard Alton, son of Kennard Alton
- Valdir Alton, Kennard’s father, Lord Alton
- Lorill Hastur, head of the governing council of Darkover
- Cyrillon, a bandit
Inconsistencies with later books in the series
- In later books, the Terran Empire is called the Federation.
- Kennard’s full name is given as Kennard N’Caldir Alton. However in The Bloody Sun (pg 121), he gives his name as Kennard-Gwynn Lanart-Alton.
- The original families of the comyn, named by the chieri, include Ridenow. Later books, indicate that Serrais was the original family, into which the Ridenow married, saving a failing line.
- 1965, USA, Ace Books OCLC 11204698, Pub date 1965, Paperback (later printings with ISBN 0-441-77945-X)
- 1967, Germany, Pebel OCLC 73904146, Pub date 1967, Paperback, in German as Die Kräfte der Comyn
- 1979, USA, Gregg Press ISBN 0-7278-4513-6, Pub date 1979, Hardcover
- 1978 UK, Arrow Books ISBN 0-09-916620-8, Pub date 1978, Paperback
- 1993, UK, Severn House ISBN 0-7278-4513-6, Pub date September 1993, Hardcover
- 1994, USA, DAW Books ISBN 0-88677-607-4, Pub date July 1994, Paperback
- Marion Zimmer Bradley, Author's Notes on Chronology, endnote to The Spell Sword, DAW Books, 1974, paperback
- Brown, Charles N.; William G. Contento (2007-11-20). "The Locus Index to Science Fiction (1984-1998)". Retrieved 2008-09-08.
- Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 64. ISBN 0-911682-20-1.
- Star of Danger title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database