Tiger Burning Bright

~ A Novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Andre Norton

& Mercedes Lackey



Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1995 dustjacket ~

Prepare to enter a realm of wonders and terrors, of brutal conquest, breathless adventure, darkest magic and miraculous transformation—an astonishing place masterfully conceived and collaboratively constructed by three of the most acclaimed, bestselling fantasists of our day: Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mercedes Lackey, and the Grandmaster herself, Andre Norton.
Long has the House of the Tiger ruled Merina—guiding the tiny merchant city/state wisely and skillfully in times of peace and prosperity. But now the Emperor Balthasar has come to devour and destroy—his indomitable armies gathering at the gates, poised to crush the defenseless city under their heels. Three courageous women stand between the Emperor and his triumph: Adele, the aging but still able Dowager Queen; the ruling Queen Lydana, possessor of an astounding sixth sense that is the private gift of her bloodline; and Princess Shelyra, Designated Daughter, lithe, quick, impetuous and ingenious, the young commander of spies and information gatherers. But they have no standing military and no arms—except their wiles, their wits and weapons of the spit-it—with which to defend their besieged home. So royal matriarch, daughter and granddaughter alike must relinquish their city to the invading enemy without a fight—and vanish incognito into a world of shopkeepers, religious acolytes, craftspeople, gypsies, rebels until thieves in order to battle the Emperor from within his conquest.
But far more is at stake than the sovereignty of their noble house. For at Merina’s core is a great and ancient magic—a mystical force Which, if corrupted, will enable omnipotent evil to reign in terror for all eternity. It is this power that has attracted the gray mage, Apolon—imperial counselor, foul necromancer, servant of demons and master of the dead. And the sorcerer, in turn, has brought countless horrors to Merina. For the Dreadful Dark he serves has perverse and terrible hungers. And it will be sated by no less than the souls of all men, the Heart of a Goddess. . .and the blood of a Princess.


Write-up from the back of the paperback ~

The House of the Tiger has skillfully ruled Merina in times of peace. But now the indomitable armies of the Emperor Balthasar stand poised to crush the vulnerable city/state. And in the enemy's midst is the gray mage Apolon - foul necromancer who serves the Dreadful Dark . . . and whose mission it is to satisfy his Master's terrible hungers with living souls, the Heart of a Goddess, and the blood of a Princess. For Adele, aging Dowager Queen; for ruling Queen Lydana; and for Princess Shelyra, lithe, impetuous, ingenious Designated Daughter, the battle seems hopeless -- for they possess no defense, save for their wiles and weapons of the spirit. But the Tiger is a cunning beast, not to be underestimated. And when cornered, she bares her teeth . . . and strikes.


Write-ups from fans ~

Dowager Queen Adele, ruling Queen Lydana, and Crown Princess Shelyra of the country of Merina have their rule by Emperor Balthasar, who is determined to take over the country, subtly encouraged by a dark mage Apolon, who wants the power contained in a Churchly talisman. ~ SL


Like the book Black Trillium, this has three writers picking the three main characters, a kingdom overrun and plans to take back control from the conquerors. The city/state Merina has been ruled by the House of the Tiger for many generations. The ruling family consists of three women, Adele, the aging Dowager Queen, the Queen, Lydana and the heir, Princess Shelyra. When the Emperor, Balthasar and his overpowering imperial army prepare to attack and crush the city, the Queen abdicates, gives the keys of the city to the Emperor in return for a promise to be lenient in his rule of the city. The Three women go into hiding and begin plots to overthrow the imperial forces. Adele (written by Bradley) joins the local temple of the Goddess as a geman (sort of like a nun). Lydana (written by Norton) becomes Matild, a bead seller/jeweler who has a box of cursed gems. Shelyra becomes Raymonda, a gypsy dancer/entertainer. Now things really fall apart. The Emperor's henchmen start robbing the town blind and enslaving or killing many of the populace. This probably wouldn't have happened if the emperor hadn't been taken over by his chief advisor, the Sorcerer Apolon, a necromancer who wants to capture the ladies of the Tiger and sacrifice them to the forces of evil and capture the ancient magical talisman at the heart of the temple. If this happens, Evil will rule the world forever. There are 68 chapters and the point of view changes for each chapter. There is loss and love and visitation by angels, fighting, skulking secret passages and daring rescues. I had forgotten how great this novel is. At times it is very hard to put down. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issue: July 15th, 1995
When the irresistible armies of the Emperor Balthasar threaten to invade the peaceful, Goddess-worshipping port of Merina, its rulersDowager Queen Adele, Queen Lydana, and princess Shelyradecide to avoid bloodshed and simply submit. But the emperor is dominated by an evil sorcerer, Apolon, so rather than be imprisoned or worse, the three arrange to disappear. Old Adele fakes her own death to become Alfrida, Flame of the Temple; Lydana disguises herself as bead-seller Matild; the impatient Shelyra takes refuge among the Gypsies as Raymonda. Meanwhile, Apolon searches desperately for them. Worse, his cruel and arrogant Black Coats take over the city. Rumors spread that Apolon is a necromancer. But what does he really wantthe power of the Temple's Heart, a sacred jewel-encrusted meteorite? Or the latent magic contained within the body of Shelyra? Balthasar's son, Leopold, spied on by Shelyra, turns out to be both honorable and deeply suspicious of Apolon. So, as the royal fugitives stir up such resistance as they are able, Shelyra and Leopold fall in lovea bond that will prove crucial in the final magical showdown with Apolon. More parsimonious editing and greater attention to detail in the formative stages would've helped considerably with this workmanlike, predictable yarn and its remarkably obtuse bad guys: the authors, notwithstanding their individual accomplishments, strike no sparks together.


Booklist Review ~ Sep. 01, 1995

Three fantasy giants—the “others” are Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey—join forces to produce this tale of three women who rule a city. A priestess grandmother, a reigning queen mother, and a warrior princess daughter must use all their skill and strength in both open and secret battle to defeat an evil emperor and his truly odious, not to mention potent, sorcerous henchman. None of the troika has ever told a bad story on her own, and they do not when collaborating. The only possible caveats are that the three writers blend so well that this is not the book to start an acquaintance with any one of them individually and that the plot is so stock that some may find it lacking in interest. Interest will not, however, be lacking in any book with these three mighty fantasists’ names on the cover. — Roland Green


Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles Over the Years

1995 by Carolyn Cushman in Locus #416, September
1997 by Vikki Lee in Vector #193


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1995) Published by AvoNova, HC, 0-688-14360-1, LCCN 95001763, $23.00, 504pg ~ cover by Donato Giancola {Brown Paper Boards, Yellow Cloth Spine}
  • (1996) Published by SFBC, HC, # 11252, $10.98, 377pg ~ cover by Donato Giancola {# 11252 on Rear of Dust Jacket}
  • (1996) Published by AvoNova, PB, 0-380-77512-3, LCCN 95-1763, $6.50, 504pg ~ cover by Donato Giancola
  • (2011) Published by The Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, no ISBN, DM, $6.99, 441pg ~ cover by Larry Dixon
  • (2012) Published by Gateway/Orion, DM, 0-575-11397-9, 978-0-575-11397-8, £2.99, 320pgs. ~ UK release
  • (2013) Published by The Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, TB, 1-938-18530-7, $16.95, 442pg ~ Cover painting from "The Syracusan Bride" by Frederick Leighton, I866


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1997) Published in Bruxelles, France; by C. Lefrancq, PB, 28-715-3426-8, 556pg ~ translated by Monique Lebailly ~ French title Tigre, feu et flamme [Tiger, fire and flame]
  • (1999) Published in France; by J’ai Lu, PB, 22-900-5121-7 ~ translated by Monique Lebailly ~ cover by Gilles Cornu ~ French title Tigre, feu et flamme [Tiger, fire and flame]
  • (1996) Published in Munich, Germany; by Heyne, 479pg ~ translated by Marion Balkenhol ~ German title Der Tigerclan von Merina [The Tiger Clan of Merina]
  • (1997) Published in Munich, Germany; by Heyne, 34-531-2491-X, 526pg ~ translated by Marion Balkenhol ~ German title Der Tigerclan von Merina [The Tiger Clan of Merina]
  • (1996) Published in Lisban, Portugal; by Difel, 97-229-0343-8, PB, 546pg ~ Portuguese title As mulheres da Casa do Tigre [The women of the Tiger House] ~ (Reprinted in 2000)
  • (1996) Published in Lisban, Portugal; by Círculo de Leitores, 97-242-1952-6, HC, 464pg ~ Portuguese title As mulheres da Casa do Tigre [The women of the Tiger House]
  • (2008) Published in Lisban, Portugal; by Difel, 97-229-0912-9, PB, 548pg ~ translated by Rute Rosa da Silva ~ Portuguese title As mulheres da Casa do Tigre [The women of the Tiger House]
  • (2001) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-040-06926-X, HC, 480pg ~ translation by Nekrasov ~ cover by V. Fedorov ~ Russian title Тигр, светло горящий [Tiger light burning]


Ukrainian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (2017) Published in Kyiv, Ukraine, by Globe (Fanzine), no ISBN, HC, 824pg ~ cover by N. Deligaris ~ Ukrainian title Верхом на зелёном драконе [Riding on a green dragon] ~ Limited to 10 copies


    • "House of Shadows" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 5-110
    • "Wizard's World" as "The World of Sorcerers" ~ pp. 111-146
    • "Seven Spells to Sunday" as "Seven Wonders by Sunday" ~ translated by T. Korobkova, pp. 147-224
    • "Tiger Burning Bright" as "Tiger, light burning" ~ translation by N. Nekrasova, pp. 225-558
    • "Sneeze on Sunday" as "Sneezing on Sunday" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 559-706
    • "Ride the Green Dragon" as "Riding a Green Dragon" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 707-822

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