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Days of Blood and Fire Paperback – Jun 1 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reprint edition (June 1 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553290126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553290127
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 10.6 x 16.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #457,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By A Customer on June 28 1999
Format: Paperback
Whether or not you started with Daggerspell or if you have just recently started reading the works of Katharine Kerr, you should definately read this. I found the book entertaining with all the old characters mixed with the new and their wonderful skill at getting wound up in problems that seem to large to remedy. You get to see parts of her world that you do not see in the other books which is always exciting with this author. She transends into the world "high fantasy" well and the ending is rather different from most of her others because it is sudden and leads into the next book.
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Format: Paperback
Similar to "The Dragon Revenant" Kerr again returns to a linear plot previously set up in "Time of Omens," again abandoning her usual interaction of stories set within differing time periods. Obviously by now I am an enthusiast of the tale and world begun in "Daggerspell" and would recommend fans of better fantasy fiction take a look. Despite the positive response of the previous reviewer, however, Kerr's books are not written as stand-alones, and without the information provided by the earlier works, one's enjoyment of this book will be greatly limited. Despite the fact that it was the weakest book in the series, start with "Daggerspell": By the time you reach "Days of Blood and Fire" I'm sure you'll conclude that the considerable time invested was enjoyably well spent.
I do however have one reservation regarding this book: The introduction of a dragon. It may be a personal quirk on my part, but rarely have I found the active appearance of dragons in a tale either satisfying or credible. Often anthropomorphised in manner either typecast or silly - McCaffrey's romanticized and laughable wyrms are but the most notable examples - their inclusion as characters almost invariably fails to be convincing (At the risk of sacrilege I would include Tolkein's Smaug). Though the dragon here is present for only a few pages, it is apparant that it will play a large role in the next book, and it talks, which may not bode well for the conclusion of the series. Those of you who delight in clever wyrms, carry on. I will reserve final comment for completion of the next book.
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Format: Paperback
This is the best fantasy book that I have ever read, and possibly one of the best books overall. Anyone who is a fantasy reader should definately pick this one up. It kept me on the edge of my seat right up until the end, where I immediately ran out to pick up "Days of Air and Darkness" to find out how this chapter in the Deverry saga ended. Full of action, intrige, and emotion, this book is sure to give anyone a good read. I am about to order the rest of the series to see what else has gone on.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This book is worth every cent. Aug. 23 1998
By lonewolf_1122@hotmail.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the best fantasy book that I have ever read, and possibly one of the best books overall. Anyone who is a fantasy reader should definately pick this one up. It kept me on the edge of my seat right up until the end, where I immediately ran out to pick up "Days of Air and Darkness" to find out how this chapter in the Deverry saga ended. Full of action, intrige, and emotion, this book is sure to give anyone a good read. I am about to order the rest of the series to see what else has gone on.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Quite entertaining June 27 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Whether or not you started with Daggerspell or if you have just recently started reading the works of Katharine Kerr, you should definately read this. I found the book entertaining with all the old characters mixed with the new and their wonderful skill at getting wound up in problems that seem to large to remedy. You get to see parts of her world that you do not see in the other books which is always exciting with this author. She transends into the world "high fantasy" well and the ending is rather different from most of her others because it is sudden and leads into the next book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Book Seven of an Outstanding Series June 24 1999
By Elyon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Similar to "The Dragon Revenant" Kerr again returns to a linear plot previously set up in "Time of Omens," again abandoning her usual interaction of stories set within differing time periods. Obviously by now I am an enthusiast of the tale and world begun in "Daggerspell" and would recommend fans of better fantasy fiction take a look. Despite the positive response of the previous reviewer, however, Kerr's books are not written as stand-alones, and without the information provided by the earlier works, one's enjoyment of this book will be greatly limited. Despite the fact that it was the weakest book in the series, start with "Daggerspell": By the time you reach "Days of Blood and Fire" I'm sure you'll conclude that the considerable time invested was enjoyably well spent.
I do however have one reservation regarding this book: The introduction of a dragon. It may be a personal quirk on my part, but rarely have I found the active appearance of dragons in a tale either satisfying or credible. Often anthropomorphised in manner either typecast or silly - McCaffrey's romanticized and laughable wyrms are but the most notable examples - their inclusion as characters almost invariably fails to be convincing (At the risk of sacrilege I would include Tolkein's Smaug). Though the dragon here is present for only a few pages, it is apparant that it will play a large role in the next book, and it talks, which may not bode well for the conclusion of the series. Those of you who delight in clever wyrms, carry on. I will reserve final comment for completion of the next book.
And March 10 2014
By I like pie and the game too - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really loved it but it never finished what is the next book I don't know ? But I am going to really look forward to the next book
Yet none of them died, they only changed, were always reborn---Hesse June 21 2012
By Konrei - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It's said that J.R.R. Tolkien invented an entirely new genre, "Sword and Sorcery," by creating The Lord of the Rings, and that fully 30% of all fiction books published today fall into that genre. In truth, Tolkien breathed life back into old Northern European myths about Elves and Dwarves and Trolls. The good Professor, an Oxford Don whose specialty was Philology, would be proud of Ms. Kerr, who puts her own fascinating and lively spin on the old myths.

The prolific Katharine Kerr taps into the ancient Celtic traditions to create the world of Annwn (literally meaning "Nowhere" in Welsh), an incredibly detailed, incredibly graphic land of the imagination filled with lost mountains, far valleys, and towns and villages whose denizens, most unknowingly, exist in a world filled with "Dweomer."

"Dwimmer," meaning "magic" or "sorcery," is an ancient English word, probably derived from the original Brythonic language spoken by the Celtic Britons in pre-Roman times. Likewise, "cwm" or "coombe," meaning "valley," appears only on Great British maps, the first variant being Welsh and the other Old English. "Weird" is a modern English word which means "bizarre," but it derives from the earlier word "weirding," a term applied to occultists who were supposedly able to alter fate.

In keeping with ancient Celtic beliefs, Kerr crafts her epic in the form of an Eternal Knot. Theoretically, every tale she tells is the beginning, the middle, and the ending of the story, so that beginning the series with Days of Air and Darkness, book number eight, (alternatively titled A TIME OF JUSTICE in Great Britain) should bring you to DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE.

Though DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE is book three of "The Westlands Cycle," the second cycle in the fifteen book Deverry saga, it's very clear that Kerr was uncertain what direction the saga was to take at this point. DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE is book number seven in the saga, and in one of the blurbs is described as "the first book in a new trilogy." Is there a trilogy hidden within the quindecimal saga? The hidden trilogy's name ultimately became the book's alternate U.K. title, A TIME OF WAR.

DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE's formatting differs from the rest of the saga to this point as well, since the book is divided into numbered chapters titled, strangely enough, given Deverrian antipathy to the 'Rhwmanes,' in Latin.

Kerr's representational humans are descendants of European Continental Celts (Gauls), an historic people made up of numerous tribes who were decimated and dominated by the Roman legions commanded by Julius Caesar, circa 50 B.C. According to Kerr's mythology, the tribe living in the invented Gaulish Kingdom Devetia Riga was somehow magically transported to Annwn, where they established the Kingdom of Deverry.

The Deverry books concern the life stories of Jill, the heroine of the saga. What Jill does not know is that her life is inextricably bound up with that of the Dweomermaster Nevyn. Long ago, Nevyn was once Galrion, a Prince of the Realm, but youthful impetuosity led to his exile, and more importantly, to the deaths of several innocent people including his royal fiancee, the Princess Brangwen, who is now reincarnated as Jill. Brangwen's tragic death caused Nevyn to take a rash vow---to live until he had undone all the wrong he'd caused. As DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE opens, Jill is at the peak of her powers as the greatest human Dweomermaster.

Kerr tells the long tale of Brangwen and Galrion in what amounts to a series of short novelettes-within-the-Deverry-novels, which now number fifteen. Along the way, Kerr fleshes out her colorful, lively universe, which is populated not only by the Deverrians, but by Elves and Dwarves, among many other beings.

DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE is, like The Dragon Revenant, a story told entirely in the "present" without the preincarnation flashbacks or reincarnation flashforwards typical of the saga. Kerr's characters are born, die, and are reborn time and time again, as they work out their incredibly complex interlinked karmic "Wyrds".

Despite some flaws, DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE is a tightly-written, exciting and enjoyable, internally consistent and intricately detailed story written in a highly cinematic style that Kerr makes her own.

As for the flaws, let us just say that Kerr is not a great stylist, but she's a damn good straight-on storyteller. Her failings as an authorial stylist become more evident in DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE. An attentive reader, particularly one who is reading the books in sequence, will discover descriptive paragraphs spotted here and there that were lifted whole from earlier volumes. And while a description of a Dweomer technique, for example, might not really change from book to book, Kerr would have been a bit more respectful of her audience if she took that little bit of extra time necessary in this vast and sweeping epic to reorder sentences or replace an adjective or two. Still, all in all, its a failing many readers might not notice at all.

Additionally, Kerr's introductions of new characters, and particularly new races, always seem to have an odd sense of afterthought about them, and in DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE, she drops an entirely new world on us with little foreshadowing (another indication that she had reached an undecided turning point in the saga). The book opens with our introduction to Jahdo Ratter, a boy of the Rhiddaer, a land roughly adjacent to Deverry's Arcodd Province, and populated by the descendants of Deverrian serfs who fled the kingdom during the Time of Troubles.

And so, vertiginously, we suddenly discover that 'Taer Angwidd,' the presumptively empty northern 'Unknown Land' on Deverry maps, is teeming with very nearby humans, dwarven metropoli, dragons, and the fascinating race of the horsekin, troll-like humanoids who have the psychic ability to communicate with horses (much like the not-quite human Lord Perryn of an earlier episode).

The horsekin (whose name reminds me, I apologize, of a vestigial body part), are divided into the Gel Da'Thae, a cosmopolitan race, and the "wild" horsekin of the plains, called Meradan (demons) or "The Hordes" by the Elves, and who behave like the Mongols' Golden Horde of old.

DAYS OF BLOOD AND FIRE continues the uninterrupted story of Princess Carramaena begun in the epilogue to A Time of Omens. Carramaena is the human wife of the Elven Prince Daralanteriel. She is pregnant with their child, the soul of whom belongs to one of the members of the race known as The Guardians. Facing extinction in their alternate dimension, The Guardians have decided to attempt to be born into the world of matter and form.

Not all Guardians want to share this fate, and one, Alshandra, has appeared to Men and Horsekin as a goddess, demanding that Carramaena be killed. Carramaena and her unborn child are now trapped in the besieged Deverrian city of Cengarn. The only way to lift the siege of Cengarn is for Rhodry Maelwaedd to seek out and form an alliance with the dragon Arzosah Sothy Lorezohaz.

Rhodry continues what has become an ongoing character metamorphosis: Once Rhodry Maelwaedd, a human ruler, he was exiled by his brother. Becoming Rhodry of Aberwyn, a mercenary Silver Dagger, he was ultimately captured by his enemies and enslaved, with the name Taliaesyn. Rescued from slavery, he discovered his Elven roots as Rhodry ap Devaberiel. He has now become allied with the Dwarves who give him yet another new name, Rori, and set his feet on the path to finding the dragon.

If you haven't read Katharine Kerr's "Deverry" books, you will find that very, very unlike Tolkien's Middle Earth, Annwn is rather tumbledown and casually violent. The stink of horse manure fills the air of the towns, roadside inns crawl with lice, ale, the universal drink, is dipped from open barrels (flies and all), drunken men with swords go to war over herds of pigs and cows or an inflated sense of ego disguised as honor, rape and robbery are commonplace, illegitimate children, though scorned, are ubiquitous, and the Deverrian tongue is replete with curses, most of which cannot be reprinted here. Kerr seems to delight in coming up with more and more outrageous expletive phraseology, my favorite of which is, "By the scaly underside of a dragon's ... !"

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote like the restrained University Don he was. Middle Earth has the vertical intellectual airiness of the dreaming spires of Oxford. Kerr writes like the Rust Belt native that she is. Working-class Deverry spills horizontally off the pages in an entertaining flood, which is why it took fifteen full novels to tell the tale.

The plotline of the Deverry books is straightforward rather than rococo, with just a few curves here and there. There's not a lot of mystery here, not a lot of unanswered questions, and any resolution of suspense tends to be pretty much what you'd predict. In the end, the reader has to keep track of more than enough incarnations and karmic twists that the addition of diversionary plot elements probably would have had the average reader screaming.

As this reviewer stated earlier, Kerr is not a stylistic author, but she's an excellent, nay, damn good, storyteller. And if you're visiting Deverry, that's what you'll find. A damn good story that you can enjoy.

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