This was the book that well and truly got me into the Darkover series, which is somewhat ironic, as she didn’t write all or most of it. (I’m not able to find the exact details around this – the trilogy it’s a part of was started around the time of her death, so was in some measure written by Adrienne Martine-Barnes. I assume the final book at the least was not Bradley at all.) I was in a sci-fi based book club in college, and had forgotten to send the monthly slip back in, so this book arrived. I had read some of the short story books before this, but something about this book hooked me in. I’ve since collected all of them, which was an interesting adventure in the early days of Ebay.
Margaret Alton is the daughter of Senator Lew Alton from Darkover, but they left that planet when she was very young, and she remembers little about it. She’s also grown distant from her father, and has not seen him since leaving for University. Since then, she’s become a scholar in her own right, accompanying her mentor, a renowned musicologist, to a number of worlds. And that is what brings her back to Darkover.
I think that’s what I liked about this book, as Margaret has to discover her home again, so it’s a reintroduction for the reader as well. (It also represent a tonal shift in the books – the series was written over a great span of years, so the style, times, and themes vary wildly. This is the first of the post-Bradley era style.) She’s basically an heiress, which she had no idea was the case, and she also is not aware of the planet’s people’s telepathic abilities (for reasons that become a major plot point.) It’s a good introduction to the series, if someone is looking for a way in.