Regis learns that Tiphani has taken a keyed starstone away from her son, fearing that it is a pagan object. Regis returns the stone to Felix. Regis asks Linnea Storn, the mother of his only child, to come to Thendara and attend to Felix. Regis also asks her to be his wife, saying she is the only woman he could possibly marry. Linnea, knowing that Regis is romantically committed to Danilo, refuses.
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I am SO glad I found it. Thank goodness for the 21st century, which allows the book to expand upon the relationship between these two wonderfully strong men in a way which is quite touching and beautiful. I found myself moved by the strength and sacrifice Regis, as well as the serene and intelligent beauty of Linnea, the woman Regis loves yes, he loves BOTH a woman and a man. All this said, there were flaws with this book the contrived plot being the most glaring.
This book is, first and foremost, about relationships between these strong characters, and for that, I am more than grateful! Truly a gem for any hardcore Darkover fan. I hope there are many more such books to come. It introduces a few new characters who will be important later on, and sets up the next major conflict between Terrans and Darkovans, but the main plotline is totally unnecessary and relies on a great deal of out-of character behaviour on the part of both Regis Hastur and Danilo Syrtis.
First, the important Hastur Lord pub. First, the important stuff. The Terran Empire is going through a major sea change in structure, leadership and philosophy. Now called the Terran Federation, it seeks to end the days of protected planets.
As Lew Alton, still the Darkovan Senator, says in a message to Regis: You will undoubtedly hear propaganda about how the new Federation will extend autonomy to all member worlds, increase interstellar cooperation, and promote free trade—all the persuasive phrases that people want to hear. Even people on Darkover. This whole process is a power grab by the Expansionist party. The political situation on Darkover is not promising.
Between Sharra and the World Wreckers, the Comyn are nearly leaderless; those who survive are divided between those who want to become full members of the Terran Federation - led by Valdir Ridenow - and those who want as little contact as possible.
The Telepath Council set up by Regis is unable to function as a governing body. If there is any real governing authority anywhere on Darkover, it is Regis himself. On to the plot.
The dying Danvan Hastur reveals that Regis has an older, illegitimate brother named Rinaldo who was shipped off to the Nevarsin monks at the age of three. Regis visits him, and despite the fact that Rinaldo is clearly the most unctuous and hypocritical creature you can imagine, oozing with jealousy and envy and spite, brings him home to Thendara and has him legitimated.
Regis agrees, and Mikhail is freed, but Danilo remains a prisoner. Valdir has misjudged his pawn, however. Rinaldo, seeing in his sudden accession to power the hand of God, embarks on a plan to purge sin and impurity from all of Darkover.
He forces Regis to marry Linnea Storn - the mother of his daughter Kierestelli and his unborn son Danilo - by threatening to have Danilo Syrtis killed. As his fanaticism increases, he has Comyn children taken from their families to be raised in the "true" faith. End of silly plot, press reset button but political situation remains dire. What annoyed me the most about Hastur Lord was the total inability of all these telepaths to communicate.
How do they not trust each other completely after being open to each other, mind to mind, all these years? None of this works, and that makes the book a grave disappointment.
The very name implies charisma in its holder even if s he is not a Domain Lord. However, the word of the Hastur Regent is not automatically the law of the land. Like the other ruling families of Darkover they have a particular form of laran that was bred into the family line. The Hastur gift is that of the living matrix, the ability to use laran without the use of a matrix. Hasturs were said to make very strong and skilled Keepers because of this inbred laran. The family crest of the Hasturs is a silver fir tree on a blue background. See also the "Ballad of Hastur and Cassilda.