Hawkmistress! is the first Darkover novel I read, and is still my favorite. It is so complete in itself that it didn't even occur to me for several years to go looking for any others. Part of it's story overlaps in the Clingfire Trilogy, which is fun.
She had rejected her noble birthright and embraced the freedom only a man could claim. She was Romilly who lived among the beasts of hill and forest and communicated with them, who tried humanity and turned it down for its evils and jealousies. She had the MacAran gift, the rare laran that conferred mastery over hawk and horse. There was war in the lands of Darkover for this was the age of the Hundred Kingdoms when usurpers took the throne and the true king wandered in disguise with a price on his head. Romilly wanted none of all this. But there were those who shared her talents- the men and women of the Towers. And for them Romilly was the key. Whether male garbed or beast minded she was also human. And duty to her own true kind pointed her to the ultimate decision.
She had rejected her noble birthright and embraced the freedom only a man could claim. She was Romilly who lived among the beasts of hill and forest and communicated with them, who tried humanity and turned it down for its evils and jealousies. She had the MacAran Gift, the rare Laran that conferred mastery over hawk and horse...
A young noblewoman of Darkover rejects the marriage her father has planned for her and, traveling disguised as a boy, seeks her brother who trains with the mental adepts known as leroni. As her own telepathic gifts of communicating with and controlling animals begin to burgeon, she is caught up in the battle for a kingdom and comes to see the horrow of war.
My favorite Darkover novel.
I have always enjoyed Ms. Bradley's books, and this one was no exception. Romy is a great protagonist, and I indentified very strongly with her indenpendance and love for animals. I was disappointed in one of the big "plot twists" that was transparent very early in the novel, but it does not distract from the joy of reading. It was also nice to read about a real female hero, who gets her period and does not wear skimpy outfits.
This Darkover novel takes place during the age of the Hundred Kingdoms and tells the story of Romilly, a young woman with the the MacAran gift a rare laren that gives mastery over animals. Unfortunately it is not considered one that a female should be using except to pass it on to her sons.
Anyone that has felt like a misfit, frustrated by narrow family and society rules will appreciate this book.
It is a DAW First printing and I finally got a hardcover edition so I am willing to send it out to other Darkover fans.