The World Wreckers

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The World Wreckers
File:World wreckers.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Marion Zimmer Bradley
Cover artist Frank Kelly Freas
Country United States
Language English
Series Darkover
Genre Science fiction novel
Publisher Ace Books
Publication date
Media type Print (paperback)
Pages 189
OCLC 17399780
Preceded by The Planet Savers
Followed by Hastur Lord

The World Wreckers is a science fiction novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley in her Darkover series. It was first published by Ace Books in 1971. The book is notable for a complex sub-plot involving the sexual interactions between hermaphrodite native species, known as the chieri, and humans.

Though the book seems minor on a stand-alone basis, it is a pivotal event in the part of the series that Zimmer Bradley identified as "After the Comyn/Against the Terrans". Every book that follows chronologically, refers to The World Wreckers.

In "Author's Notes on Chronology", Bradley implies that The World Wreckers occurs about eighty years after the events in The Winds of Darkover, basing this assertion on the age of Desideria Storn in the two books.[1]

Plot summary

The mysterious Andrea Closson accepts a contract to wreck the economy of Darkover, so that the planet must turn to the Terran Empire for assistance. Closson's thoughts reveal that she is a native of Darkover, a child of the Yellow Forest.

Regis Hastur survives another assassination attempt. He and his paxman, Danilo Syrtis, discuss the many mysterious deaths besieging the Comyn. Regis recalls that his two sons are among the deceased, and that many of the old Comyn families have died out altogether. He asks the Terrans to seek out telepaths on other worlds and send them to Darkover, for what becomes known as Project Telepath.

At Arillinn, Regis meets Linnea Storn, a matrix technician. He learns that her grandmother was Desideria Leynier-Storn, the leronis who raised Sharra to restore High Windward to its rightful family (see The Winds of Darkover).

Citizens from all over Darkover apply to Regis for assistance, describing economic problems, crop failures, and fires. A member of the ancient Darkovan chieri race arrives and asks to speak to Regis. He volunteers to assist in Project Telepath.

The members of Project Telepath meet and evaluate each other. A number of tests are run. Missy proves to be a troublemaker. They discover that Keral is a hermaphrodite. Further tests prove that Missy, whom they originally believed to be human, is also a chieri. As events unfold, it will become clear that chieri can be either sex, and can change gender at will.

Two free Amazon guides arrive at Arillinn and ask to see the Keeper, Linnea Storn. They describe a recent client, Andrea Closson, whom they guided through the back country. They suspect that she has something to do with the ecological disaster that seems to have befallen Darkover. Linnea contacts Regis with this information.

Regis calls for all of the telepaths on Darkover to join him to combat the threat. During a festival dance, their minds join in ecstasy and call into the castle the form of Andrea Closson, whom one of the chieri identifies as a lost member of his people. Accepted back to her own people, Closson uses her own fortune to restore Darkover's ecology. She is able to find hope in her people's survival in Keral's child with Project Telepath member David Hamilton, a union such as resulted in the strain of the Comyn.

Regis creates a Telepathic Council dedicated to working in limited cooperation with the Terran Empire.[2]

Major characters

  • Andrea Closson, head of the corporation informally known as the World Wreckers, a chieri
  • Regis Hastur, heir to the domain of Hastur
  • Danilo Syrtis-Ardais, his paxman and lover
  • Linnea Storn of High Windward, Keeper of Arillinn, future wife of Regis Hastur

Project Telepath characters

  • Dr. Jason Allison, a human who has lived a significant part of his youth with the Trailmen
  • Dr. David Hamilton, a surgeon
  • Missy Gentry, a chieri
  • Keral, a chieri
  • Desideria Leynier-Storn, an elderly Comyn leronis

Inconsistencies with later books in the series

  • Regis calls a representative of the Pan-Darkovan League "monsieur". There is no other book in which French phrases are used as part of the Darkovan language.

Publication history


  1. Marion Zimmer Bradley, Author's Notes on Chronology, endnote to The Spell Sword, DAW Books, 1974, paperback
  2. Leith, Linda. ""Marion Zimmer Bradley and Darkover", Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Mar 1980), pp. 28–35, McGill University, Article Stable".