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In The King's Service [Mass Market Paperback]

Katherine Kurtz
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 28 2004 Deryni

In this first book of an all-new Deryni trilogy,  New York Times bestselling author Katherine Kurtz takes readers back in time--before King Kelson's bride...before King Kelson's birth... when the magical Deryni blood was sought by the most powerful men and women in the kingdom of Gwynedd. Back when a man named Donal ruled over all.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this exquisitely detailed Deryni fantasy, her first since King Kelson's Bride (2000), veteran Kurtz lays out the history of the Deryni before the time of King Kelson, focusing on the characters whose heirs will become important players in the Kingdom of Gwynedd, modeled on medieval Wales. Donal Haldane, the king who appears fair and just, has hidden agendas and sometimes uses his power to insure his own dynastic needs regardless of other's feelings. Lady Alyce de Corwyn, the daughter of one of the last Deryni gentry, must master the art of court intrigue. Lady Jessamy, a co-conspirator with the king, helps fulfill his wish for a protector for his son. The Camberian Council-the group of secretive Deryni who rule over their magical brethren-instigate their own secret plans regarding both Deryni and humans. Everyone follows paths strewn with danger, difficulties, misjudgments-and the agonizing possibility of death. Despite a somewhat static plot, the scenes of daily life at court, plus the usual church versus magic conflict, will keep fans turning the pages.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In her first Deryni novel since King Kelson's Bride (2000), Kurtz reverts to the time of Kelson's grandfather, King Donal Haldane, who was of necessity a ruthless lord. Donal's mother was the Mearan princess whose marriage led to periodic uprisings that weren't settled until Kelson's day. Donal wasn't at open war with Torenth, but Gwynned suffered periodic raids. Donal's first marriage was childless. His second was anything but, yet he knew he might not survive to see his successor's maturity. Despite the hostility of the church toward Deryni, King Donal needed trusted men and women of that magical race to protect his kingdom and his heirs. In relating all this ancient history, the book also shows the workings of the Camberian Counsel of an earlier era, revealing to faithful Deryni readers as well as newcomers the reasons the counsel is so hostile toward Alaric Morgan. A vital continuation of the saga. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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FAR from where the Camberian Council sat in secret session, crafting their careful, deliberate plans for the future of their race, the wife of one of its members lay propped amid the pillows of their curtained and canopied bed and waited for the nurse to bring her infant son for feeding. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing entry into the canon - spoilers May 23 2004
By Kallah
The book is that it is emotionally dead; characters barely react to events at all, and none of the characters are fleshed out enough that it matters what happens to them. Most notable for the first is Alyce's total non-response to Donal's attempted physical and psychic rape (and the non-response of all the other characters who are aware of it), and for the second the way the murder of a small boy falls completely flat.
The book starts a variety of potentially interesting plots and drops them, never to be seen again. Plot events are largely predictable, and one major plot event is a poorly-done rehash of Kevin and Bronwyn from the first book; it comes out of nowhere, goes nowhere, and is never mentioned again, occuring solely to kill off a character in a rather bizarre and improbable fashion. And the romance between Alyce and Kenneth Morgan is rather peculiar and unbelievable itself.
What's missing, here, is a sense that Kurtz really cares about the Deryni universe any longer or that she really wanted to write this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment (spoilers included) April 19 2004
By Sophia
I grew up devouring the Deryni and Camber books, so I eagerly awaited the beginning of this new trilogy. I am sorry to say that I was incredibly disappointed. Although this story DID feature a look at the women characters, and Ms. Kurtz DID include a formidable woman abbess, in the tradition of Hilda of Whitby or St. Hildegarde, the book consisted largely of description of Alyce de Corwyn's life and times as she came of age, with virtually no plot.
We meet a plethora of new and interesting characters, many of whom get killed off. We have the appearance of a stock villainness, who appears, commits a heinous sin, and conveniently dies. Over and over, we hear of Alyce's willingness to be married off as part of her dynastic duty, yet that thread is dropped in the most improbable of ways. We get an update on how Deryni are doing at this court, a look at a Haldane King who is ruthless, and basically meet a bunch of stock characters. Unfortunately, Ms. Kurtz still seems unable to write an ambivalent hero (or a likeable villain) unless Donal and Jessamy are supposed to be so, but neither elicited strong emotional reactions one way or another.
Again, beautiful and vivid world-building, an interesting look at the convent, in particular, and I enjoyed learning more about Alyce (who seems rather too perfect for my liking), but I was very disappointed in the lack of plot holding this book together.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Genealogy Than Story Nov. 17 2003
For fans of Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series and Alaric Morgan fans in particular, this is the start of a long-awaited trilogy dealing with the enigmatic and powerful half-Deryni Duke of Corwyn, who we first met in Deryni Rising. Alas for us, Alaric doesn't make an appearance until the very end of the book, and then only as a babe. Kurtz uses an entire book to delve into, the admittedly, complicated relantionships surrounding the Gwynnedd court, as well as Deryni bloodlines and alliances. Sprinkled with armed incusions and many births, deaths, and weddings, this book reads more like a genealogy than a story. It's a credit to Kurtz's writing that she makes all this as interesting as she does, however, this is a difficult book to like because it's essentially setting the stage for the REAL story we've all been waiting for - Alaric's childhood and youth as King Brion's ally and friend.
She drops some tantalizing hints to lure the reader in - bringing up the heritage and legacy of Lewys ap Norfal's kin, who initially play a fairy big role at the start of the book, only to have them fade into the background. The Camberian Council appears again as well, but prove to be impotent. Considering the consternation they were having over Donal's child (...), I found it intriguing that they acquiesced to the marriage of Alyce to a human, thus ensuring that any of her children would be hated "half-breed" Deryni. Yet none of these intriguing points is ever carried through with, although with two more books to go it could be these dropped plot threads will be resolved down the road. Still, it doesn't leave much meaty story to keep reader's interest engaged.
The majority of the book has to do with Alyce de Corwyn, who is Alaric's mother.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Plot Line to Speak Of Dec 23 2003
By A Customer
Is this just about the worst book in the Deryni universe?
The lack of a plot, the shallowly-developed characters, and the lack of any cohesive theme spring to mind rather quickly as obvious flaws...
Mrs. Kurtz's writing continues to degenerate, it seems, from its high point in "King Javan's Year."
This book was horrible by any standard.
Just who is the central character supposed to be?
Donal, Alyce, and Jessamy are the leading suspects, but none of them are explored appreciably.
The story of Vera de Corwyn (Howard) being switched at birth is
implausible at best and almost ridiculous at face value...
Marie's death is a rehash of Bronwyn's in Deryni Checkmate.
This book should never have been published.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Give it a miss! Jan. 31 2004
I don't know why Ms. Kurtz wrote this book---it doesn't give any new information or interesting sidelights to the Deryni series. She raises a few questions, but the answers turn out to be meaningless... For example, there is a question about Alaric Morgan's true parentage, but then it turns out that he is fathered by just the man we would've assumed anyway--his mother's husband, named Morgan, is his true father.
This book does answer the question of how Duncan and Alaric are related through their mothers, but in such a way that the informaton is almost meaningless.
If you love the series, by all means read the book. If this is your first Deryni book--read another one, because this is not representative of the series!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Meaningful relationships and intrigue
This is the first novel in the Childe Morgan trilogy, published in 2003. The second novel, Childe Morgan, was published in 2006. Read more
Published 20 days ago by S Svendsen
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book and good history
I loved this book. It has been a while since I read the Deryni series and this was a great refresher. Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by Leslie
3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best
This story drags and is not one of Katerhine Kurtz's better stories.
Published on Feb. 28 2004 by J. R. Libby
3.0 out of 5 stars Has not engaged me thus far...
First, let me say that I am still working on this book. I have gotten maybe 100 pages or more into the story line. It has not really drawn me in as of yet. This is a bad sign. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2004 by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars I Found it so-so
(THERE ARE SPOILERS IN HERE!) As a long-time fan of Katherine Kurtz's, I have been awaiting this trilogy for some time now. Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2004 by "edsloki2"
4.0 out of 5 stars not among her best but still pretty strong
In the King's Service is the beginning of a new trilogy which details the recent history of the kingdoms that led to the events of her original series focusing on King Kelson,... Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2004 by B. Capossere
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read
I love the Deryni series. However, while I enjoyed this one very much - I will tell you that all you need to read is the last chapter. Read more
Published on Dec 29 2003 by Chelle
4.0 out of 5 stars Before Alaric
Warning: This review contains spoilers. Opening nearly forty years before the events of _Deryni Rising_, _In The King's Service_ introduces many new characters, some of whom have... Read more
Published on Dec 24 2003 by Melissa Houle
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding character development
I have thoroughly enjoyed each of Kurtz' works. While I have not recognized recently the same compelling sense of drama that was developed in her earlier books, I believe her... Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003 by David E.
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