I've been a big fan of Ms. Kurtz' work since I was 13, when I picked up a copy of 'Deryni Archives', the short stories that go along with the whole Deryni Universe. I then had to go back and read the actual books that the 'Archives' stories fit between, and it was a joy and pleasure. I reread 'The Quest for St. Camber' at least once a year; it's my most favorite!
Like the rest of her fans, I've suffered through the loss of many a good man or woman in the series, and hung on the edge of my seat when danger was afoot in the land of Gwynnedd. I was very happy to pick up this book after so long! However, if I could give it two sets of ratings--one for being yet another wonderful glimpse into this universe that's dear to my heart, and another for not quite being the satisfying read the others were--then I would.
I count Ms. Kurtz among the people who inspire me most (I'm an aspiring author myself), and it was lovely to finally have Kelson get something he wanted, rather than watch it slip out of his grasp yet again (how many times can we torture the poor guy?), but the dynastic twists of the Haldane family and the equally befuddling House of Torenth bogged it way down for me. I liked seeing Liam come into his own (like a certain young Haldane at his age!), but I'm really looking forward to learning more about Queen Araxie. Maybe Rothana will finally find some peace, too.
I understand that Kelson may not fall deeply in love with his Queen--kings and queens do not necessarily marry for love, you know--so I wasn't surprised that he is merely content with his bride, and is willing to learn to love her. Although, with the exception of Nigel and Meraude and Alaric and Richenda, bad things seem to happen to the couples who love deeply (witness Maryse and Duncan, Kevin and Bronwyn, Rhys and Evaine, Rhys Michael and Michaela, etc.)
It's true; I was waiting for the moment I threw down the book and mourned for a favorite character, but it never came. It all seemed very nervous, however--that's the tone of this book, nervous. Nervous at the Torenthi situation, nervousness at the selecting and wooing of Kelson's bride.
I know we all wished for Kelson to find happiness. Just goes to show you: be careful what you wish for--you just might get it!