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A Time of Omens [Paperback]

Katharine Kerr
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1 1992 Bantam Spectra Book
As the worlds of Deverry--a land of humans and elves--and the astral place where immortals dwell interpenetrate, two women--one human, the other a mage--must confront the strange and dangerous results of that union.

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From Library Journal

The workings of fate cut across centuries to affect the lives of people destined to bring a vanishing race into the cycle of incarnation in the latest fantasy by the author of A Time of Exile (LJ 3/15/91) . Prince Rhodry and his fate-linked companions fight creatures of dark magic in a story that takes place over three centuries and as many serial incarnations. The world of Deverry is richly detailed, and Kerr's characters are genuinely appealing, but the intricate plot requires familiarity with earlier titles. This graceful fantasy adventure is for libraries that already have other titles in the series.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Sixth of Kerr's Celtic/elf/reincarnation/magic novels of the Westlands (A Time of Exile, 1991, etc.), in which the author weaves numerous past and present narrative threads primarily, one is obliged to conclude, to disguise the inadequacy of the plot. Here, the powerful dweomer-master (magician) Jill journeys among Bardek's remotest islands to search for the meaning of a riddling inscription on a ring belonging to the half-elven King Rhodry of Deverry. In so doing, Jill contacts Dallandra, an influential once- human sorceress who has lived on the etheric plane for centuries. Dallandra's lover, Evandar, is a Guardian, one of a highly magical, mysterious nonhuman race that exists only on the etheric plane. It transpires that the Guardians are caught in some sort of astral trap, possibly self-made, wherein they are doomed to dwindle and vanish--unless Dallandra can enlist Jill's help in translating the Guardians from the etheric plane to the mundane, a move that will save them but which many Guardians are most reluctant to make. A slender plot padded out with the usual reincarnational forays into the past: adequate for undemanding series fans, tediously self-referential for everyone else, and not nearly distinctive enough to break out of the mold. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For those unfamiliar with the series, it is told in a nonlinear, braided style, alternating between the 'present day' with Jill and Rhodry, and various narrative threads in the past. Characters who fail to learn lessons in a current life are reborn to work through their problems until the souls involved finally get it *right* - so characters can die, and tragically, and only the magicians of the dweomer know that it ends nothing and solves nothing.
This volume picks up the thread of the Time of Troubles where _The Bristling Wood_ left off, and is continued in _The Red Wyvern_. In the present day, picking up a thread from _The Dragon Revenant_, Salamander has turned his talent for dweomer into a living as a stage magician in the Bardek archipelago; as a half-elf, he has a life long enough to search for the soul of his beloved wife, dead untimely of fever, until he finds her reincarnation. Alas, the dweomer can't just be turned on and off like a lightswitch, and he'll pay for his abandonment of his true calling someday if he doesn't look out.
In the time of troubles, Maryn, the young Marked Prince of Pyrdon, is being groomed by Nevyn as the high king who can bring the wars to a halt, since he has close blood ties to all the contending claims for the throne, except Cerrmor - and since Cerrmor's heir is Princess Bellyra, an unmarried girl of Maryn's own age, that's not a problem. Cerrmor is in dire straits, and will welcome Maryn as a suitor for Bellyra with open arms - if he can get there alive. (Bellyra, for her part, is intelligent enough to realize that he'll never love her; she's just what he needs for the kingdom's sovereignty, and maybe a friend and ally, but no more.)
Some followers of the dark dweomer attempted to work magic against Maryn by creating a curse tablet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I can't get enough of Deverry! July 16 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was the first Deverry book I read, and I spent the summer of 1994 reading it. Then I spent the rest of 1994 reading all the previous volumes! Then it was time to read the next volume in the series, and then the next...hopefully Katherine Kerr will never stop writing about Devrry!
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book In An Outstanding Series. June 20 1999
By Elyon
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am surprised there are no other reviews of this book, as it is part of one of the truly outstanding series in fantasy fiction, and certainly deserving of some of the attention currently being heaped upon the contemporaneous "World of Time" series by Jordan, or the recent "A Song of Ice and Fire" begun by Martin. While lacking in some of the richness of detail and characterization present in those works, nonetheless this series is deserving of serious attention by fans of the genre.
Set within a celtic realm, Kerr's tale actually follows the interwoven stories of several different characters spread across a time span of several hundred years in the history of the Westlands. Some readers used to the more conventional use of a linear plot may find this disconcerting, but Kerr has used it effectively and originally in evolving her story over the past six books. The realms of Westlands are varied and richly landscaped, and the mythology behind the world intriguing. The only flaw that prevented me from assigning 5 stars to this book was Kerr's sketchy handling of Jill's time spent in Anmurdio, a problem similar to those that plagued Kerr's first book, "Daggerspell." Nonetheless, a worthy successor to previous books in the series, and definately well worth the read.
One final note of complaint, directed at the publisher: It would be helpful, for those of us with a geographical bent, to provide maps of the Westlands with all of the books in the series. Since the second, book maps have been absent, except for a partial map available in "The Dragon Revenant." Even more irritating is the lack of provision in certain books of a full and complete character list covering at least the major characters in all six books. With all the shifts in plot line in time that take place, as well as the reappearance of certain characters in later books, it would be helpful to have this aid for one's memory.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book In An Outstanding Series. June 20 1999
By Elyon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am surprised there are no other reviews of this book, as it is part of one of the truly outstanding series in fantasy fiction, and certainly deserving of some of the attention currently being heaped upon the contemporaneous "World of Time" series by Jordan, or the recent "A Song of Ice and Fire" begun by Martin. While lacking in some of the richness of detail and characterization present in those works, nonetheless this series is deserving of serious attention by fans of the genre.
Set within a celtic realm, Kerr's tale actually follows the interwoven stories of several different characters spread across a time span of several hundred years in the history of the Westlands. Some readers used to the more conventional use of a linear plot may find this disconcerting, but Kerr has used it effectively and originally in evolving her story over the past six books. The realms of Westlands are varied and richly landscaped, and the mythology behind the world intriguing. The only flaw that prevented me from assigning 5 stars to this book was Kerr's sketchy handling of Jill's time spent in Anmurdio, a problem similar to those that plagued Kerr's first book, "Daggerspell." Nonetheless, a worthy successor to previous books in the series, and definately well worth the read.
One final note of complaint, directed at the publisher: It would be helpful, for those of us with a geographical bent, to provide maps of the Westlands with all of the books in the series. Since the second, book maps have been absent, except for a partial map available in "The Dragon Revenant." Even more irritating is the lack of provision in certain books of a full and complete character list covering at least the major characters in all six books. With all the shifts in plot line in time that take place, as well as the reappearance of certain characters in later books, it would be helpful to have this aid for one's memory.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mainly the Time of Troubles, but also entertainers in Bardek April 12 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For those unfamiliar with the series, it is told in a nonlinear, braided style, alternating between the 'present day' with Jill and Rhodry, and various narrative threads in the past. Characters who fail to learn lessons in a current life are reborn to work through their problems until the souls involved finally get it *right* - so characters can die, and tragically, and only the magicians of the dweomer know that it ends nothing and solves nothing.
This volume picks up the thread of the Time of Troubles where _The Bristling Wood_ left off, and is continued in _The Red Wyvern_. In the present day, picking up a thread from _The Dragon Revenant_, Salamander has turned his talent for dweomer into a living as a stage magician in the Bardek archipelago; as a half-elf, he has a life long enough to search for the soul of his beloved wife, dead untimely of fever, until he finds her reincarnation. Alas, the dweomer can't just be turned on and off like a lightswitch, and he'll pay for his abandonment of his true calling someday if he doesn't look out.
In the time of troubles, Maryn, the young Marked Prince of Pyrdon, is being groomed by Nevyn as the high king who can bring the wars to a halt, since he has close blood ties to all the contending claims for the throne, except Cerrmor - and since Cerrmor's heir is Princess Bellyra, an unmarried girl of Maryn's own age, that's not a problem. Cerrmor is in dire straits, and will welcome Maryn as a suitor for Bellyra with open arms - if he can get there alive. (Bellyra, for her part, is intelligent enough to realize that he'll never love her; she's just what he needs for the kingdom's sovereignty, and maybe a friend and ally, but no more.)
Some followers of the dark dweomer attempted to work magic against Maryn by creating a curse tablet. Nevyn has managed to get hold of it, but daren't destroy it, discard it, or be caught with it while trying to unravel the spells on it without harming Maryn. (This thread eventually doubles back on itself, in Kerr's nonlinear, braided storytelling style, giving him the idea for creating the Great Stone of the West (the opposite of the curse tablet) which we saw back in volume 2, _Darkspell_.)
Be warned, the dark dweomer workers did something VILE to enchant the tablet - Nevyn finds the evidence with the tablet. Grisly. Also, while Maryn has been groomed to be a warrior's ideal of a king, he's not a saint (the silver daggers when in transit introduce him to a brothel, which actually turns into a hilarious if bawdy scene through no fault of Maryn's).
Bellyra, for her part, is not only intelligent, but unusually well-educated and intellectual, and will grow into a formidable political force if she survives the siege of Cerrmor. Like Maryn, she is one of the recurring characters being reincarnated at different stages in the history of the series. One of her incarnations appears in _A Time of Exile_, while both she and Maryn have been reborn late in the 'present' day.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't get enough of Deverry! July 16 1999
By Emil Josefsson (mrdouglas@geocities.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was the first Deverry book I read, and I spent the summer of 1994 reading it. Then I spent the rest of 1994 reading all the previous volumes! Then it was time to read the next volume in the series, and then the next...hopefully Katherine Kerr will never stop writing about Devrry!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pivotal book in the saga March 24 2012
By Isara - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is Book 6 in the Deverry saga, which is composed of different cycles, or parts. So, it is also Book 2 of the Westland cycle (the second cycle).

The cycles share the same characters and progress in chronological order (however with flashbacks inside of them), but focus on different plots.

A Time of Exile (Book 5, or Book 1 of the new cycle) set this new plot: a mysterious rose ring owned by Rhodry, his return to his father's people (the Elves, also know as Westfolk), and the destiny of Dallandra, who was once Aderyn's wife.

A Time of Omens follows this plot, and has Jill travel to the Bardekian Islands, accompanied with Salamander, in search of lore, while a long flashback make us learn more about the time of the civil wars.

This new book offers a variety of locations and some pivotal elements that will reveal themselves essential to the following books and even cycles. The writing remains as lively and efficient as before, while the characters reveal new facets of their personality.

As always, a very good novel!
5.0 out of 5 stars have not rad June 3 2014
By Cecile Bryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Book was brought for my sister. I have purchased a great deal of books and I have not the time to read this
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