Falcons of Narabedla, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ace Books Inc, 1957, 150 pp
I became a fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley when I read The Mists of Avalon in the 1980s. a book I have read twice and given as a gift to many women. MZB, as she is known to her fans, also wrote the Darkover Series (of which there are 36 volumes), as well as at least 40 other novels.
Falcons of Narabedla is her first published novel. For a writer who is known as being female-centered, feminist and sometimes lesbian, this story is a surprisingly hardcore masculine fantasy. But hey, everyone starts somewhere. Mike Kenscott is an electrical engineer in real life on earth, but a series of inexplicable electrical occurrences cause him to lose his job and end up in a different body on another world, complete with Rainbow Cities, twin suns, man-eating flowers, human-like falcons and naturally some dark deeds done regularly.
Our hero's main trouble is the memory loss connected with the body switch. After dealing with being in Narabedla against his will, he recognizes his responsibility to help the good guys, assumes the role of Adric, Lord of the Crimson Tower and gets down to sorting out the place.
The story is quite hard to follow, the battles are standard fantasy fare, but as usual with MZB, it is the characters who got hold of me and kept me reeling through the tale feeling about as amnesiac as Mike/Adric.
I am actually thrilled to think that for almost every year of the rest of My Big Fat Reading Project, there will be a Marion Zimmer Bradley book on the list.
(The Falcons of Narabedla is out of print. I had to order my copy from a used book seller. Oddly enough, it is available on Kindle.)