Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross
The Amazon.com product description:
A never-before-published fantasy novel set in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover universe.As far as it goes, the description above is a good one for this book, but there's a lot more to it than that. The Hastur Lord is also a book about family, duty and wisdom. The biggest problem with this book is the way it's set between other books in the series.
The world of Darkover, a unique, isolated, and protected world, has long avoided becoming part of the technologically advanced Terran Empire. But things are about to change. Regis Hastur, lord of the most powerful of the seven Domains in Darkover, learns that the Empire is about to become a Federation, and is extending an invitation for all of the worlds to join. While the offer seems tempting to his people, Regis knows that Darkover would become little more than a military base, used for its unique planetary position, and will be sapped of its resources. He must now stop at nothing to save his world.
Because we know how the later books go, it's harder to see how the events in this book work. That was what I was finding all the way through the story. I kept going "But how come we've not heard of this character before?" and "How is this going to work out with Exile's Song and the later books?". There are a few major characters that are completely new too.
Regardless of my initial feelings towards The Hastur Lord, I did find it to be a good read, one that showed me a lot more about one of the pivotal characters in this period of Darkover's history: Regis Hastur. While not my favorite Darkover novel, it's certainly better than some of them - I'm finding this series to be a mixed bag. Some of the books are better than others. This one's pretty good, but not one of my favorites.
There is one other significant thing about The Hastur Lord: it's apparently, the last book that Marion Zimmer Bradley was writing before she died. How much of the book was her's and how much was written by Deborah Ross, I don't know, however.