by Marion Zimmer Bradley
an entry in the Darkover cycle. pleasantly enjoyable overall, but also slim and rather forgettable. this one concerns Larry Montray, Terran, and his teen adventures on the wintry, semi-barbaric world of Darkover. those adventures come complete with assorted monsters & aliens, bullying street urchins & dastardly kidnapping bandits, psychic powers, a forest fire, an amusingly antagonistic bromance between our hero & an arrogant Darkovan lordling, and much contemplation & conversating regarding the nature of being a man & what constitutes honor in a fight (i prefer the Darkover belief system that loathes guns & bombs as the weak man's choice). this early novel in the long-running series has none of the mid-saga's books' fervent, near-hysterical emotional content nor their sometimes moving, other times soap operatic deconstruction of gender & sexual orientation. it is a pleasingly straightforward, clearly written, earnest young adult novel filled with boyish enthusiasm, teenage angst, and on-the-cusp-of-maturity musings on Adulthood. probably a good starting point for kids interested in Darkover. but are there any even out there?