Mikayla lives in an isolated tower of enchanted harps
and magic mirrors -- and lessons in sorcery. For Mikayla, much to her
dismay, is the apprentice of the aging Archimage Haramis. Haramis is
reluctant to surrender her power, but will not let Mikayla return to
her former life. Worse yet, the Archimage has been having seizures
with disastrous results for the land to which she is bound, and her
mind keeps wandering in the past. Mikayla must handle the Archimage's
problems without the Archimage's powers -- or her permission.
Lady of the Trillium is a lovely coming of age novel for
both young Mikayla and the 200-year old Haramis. The setting is
exotic, the age difference extreme (16 vs. 200-something), but
Bradley's characters and their confrontations are perfect: Mikayla,
reasonable but goaded to rebellion; Haramis, arrogant, irascible,
(and better characterized than in Black Trillium), and
considerably more set in her ways. The book should be marketed as a
young adult novel, although it won't be.
In 1990, three major names in women's science fiction collaborated
to produce a single novel, Black Trillium. Marion Zimmer
Bradley, Andre Norton, and Julian May each created a character
(Haramis is Bradley's) and presented their adventures as they try to
protect their land from invaders.
Then May released Blood Trillium, a single-effort novel,
which was followed by Norton's Golden Trillium in 1993 and now
Bradley's Lady of the Trillium. Each of these books is a
sequel to the original Black Trillium, but they do not form a
series themselves, going, as they do, in vastly different directions
with too many inconsistencies to work together.
In fact, Lady of the Trillium is a better story by itself,
although probably not uniquely strong enough to command any awards
for the genre. Lady is not an "epic fantasy," but something
smaller, and more endearing because of that.
This review originally appeared in the July 9, 1995 edition of
The Roanoke Times.
The world of the Black Trillium:
Black Trillium. By Marion Zimmer Bradly, Andre
Norton, and Julian May. Bantam Books, 1990
Blood Trillium. By Julian May. Bantam Books, 1992
Golden Trillium. By Andre Norton. Bantam Books, 1993
Lady of the Trillium. By Marion Zimmer Bradley. Bantam Books,
Sky Trillium. By Julian May. Ballantine Books, 1997
This review copyright 1995 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated March 22, 1998