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5.0 out of 5 stars Light yet Deep
This book is the introduction to Kurtz' world of Deryni, and an enjoyable one at that. It can be read as stand alone, or as the introduction to the series, but should be read as the start of the series. "Camber of Culdi" could also be read as the start of the series, but makes a slightly less effective start.
It is the familiarity of the setting that...
Published on April 3 2001 by Jason Gonella

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3.0 out of 5 stars This is where the Deryni unverse begins....
This is the story of King Kelson Haldane who assumes the throne at age 14, after witnessing his father's murder. Treachery surrounds the young king, as a Deryni sorceress challenges him for the throne. His only help is Morgan, a half Deryni chief advisor, who must help the boy assume his own sorcerer's powers. While the hostile regency council, led by the Church, which...
Published on March 2 1997


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5.0 out of 5 stars Light yet Deep, April 3 2001
By 
Jason Gonella "philosopher" (Lancaster, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book is the introduction to Kurtz' world of Deryni, and an enjoyable one at that. It can be read as stand alone, or as the introduction to the series, but should be read as the start of the series. "Camber of Culdi" could also be read as the start of the series, but makes a slightly less effective start.
It is the familiarity of the setting that makes it comfortable. Gwynned is clearly quite similar to the slightly more Celtic areas of medevial Britian, with it's borders of Keldor and Merea as Scotland and Wales. The Deryni, a race of Wizards (it's inherited) add the edge of fantasy that makes the whole of the series facinating and unknown.
Clearly she also studied some parts of the Western Ceremonial traditions of Magick, for while she puts a new spin on them for the sake of fiction, she also makes them quite familiar to anyone who has studied them.
The characters, while three dimensional, aren't too complicated as of yet for this novel, as they are later developed more fully in later novels, but they are not characatures. In all, it was an excellent work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of My Personal Favorites, Feb. 20 2000
By 
Rodney Meek (Austin, TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Maybe it's a generational thing, like one of those events with which only people of a certain age can identify. For instance, I can't understand the fascination that some have for Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Elvis Presley. It's the same thing with some fantasy works: some will make people fervent followers, others will leave people cold. I rather suspect that some of the books I read in my youth would seem substandard were I to read them for the first time now. This is by way of saying that maybe I was a far more impressionable lad back in the day. Be that as it may, I first read the original Deryni trilogy back when I was in high school, and it definitely had a major impact on how I came to view subsequent fantasy works. I rate these books, along with Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series, as my favorite fantasy books by far.
What's not to like in this first trilogy? Kurtz creates a vivid, living land, essentially an alternate medieval Europe with substantially altered geography and dynasties. You quickly get a sense that this is a intricate world with a rich depth of history. The setting, since it draws on our popular conceptions of the Middle Ages, seems familiar enough that you can easily picture the castles and cathedrals and towns, yet different enough that your imagination can be given free reign to fill in the details.
The people, too, are excellently depicted, from high to low. Few are unalloyed heroes or villains; they all have their flaws and virtues, their hidden secrets and desires and fears. None of them are able to move efforlessly from triumph to triumph; sometimes they stumble, make mistakes, fall into traps. Other than the Deryni themselves, few can call upon huge stores of magic, or charge headlong into battle with mightily enchanted items. An arrow to the chest is as likely to kill the greatest warrior as the meanest footsoldier. And make no mistake, people will die in these books--divine force will not intervene to save them, and they're not going to come back from the grave. (Well, except maybe for one exception.)
Kurtz excels at bringing her cast of characters to life. Many of them are so well drawn that it's a real disappointment to think that their lives are merely fictional. You'll hate to see their adventures come to an end. Even characters that start out as minor figures can climb to prominence and become more developed over the course of the series.
This first trilogy helped popularize the "alternate Europe" setting with the Catholic Church as a major element. The Church does not come off too well here, as most of its hierarchy is composed of fanatics, slick political operators, and bigots. This theme has been picked up in other works inspired by the Deryni books (such as some of the novels by the overly-prolific Mercedes Lackey). While it works here as an integral part of the milieu and history, in books written by others, the Church as villain is generally done quite poorly. But I digress.
This first Deryni trilogy is epic in scope, filled with intrigue, battles, mysterious rites, strange encounters, passion, love, and death. Multiple plot lines are followed and many points of view are presented. It is truly a sweeping and engripping epic.
The following trilogy, centered on Camber, a figure from a few centuries prior to the original books, is almost as good. After that, Kurtz begins to churn out Deryni books that suffer from improbable plots, silly and uninspired characters, and a certain numbing sameness. They read almost as if a lesser talent had created them under her vague supervision.
But you won't be disappointed with this first set. Unless, as I said, only oldsters like me can identify with this. You kids and your Robert Jordan these days, sheesh...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Be prepared to enjoy, Dec 10 1997
I was first introduced to Katherine Kurtz and the world of the Deryni when a friend loaned me a copy of this book back in '78. He said that he thought I'd enjoy it. I enjoyed it so much that I read it twice...
It's a mixture of medieval sword and sorcery, with strong religous ceremony, in a plot that moves along nicely, keeping you enthralled to the end. However, this is just the first volume in a first trilogy of stories of the Deryni, a human race with magical powers, which just gets better and better.
Since I bought the three books in this trilogy, I have read them several times, including on honeymoon, where my wife also read and enjoyed them. (Hey, you've got to have something to read when lazing by the pool!) I don't often read books more than once, but I know I'll read these again.
When I relocated from Scotland to the U.S. I was severely limited in what could be taken. From my large collection of books, I kept my Asimov and my Kurtz Deryni books. Nuff said!
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3.0 out of 5 stars This is where the Deryni unverse begins...., March 2 1997
By A Customer
This is the story of King Kelson Haldane who assumes the throne at age 14, after witnessing his father's murder. Treachery surrounds the young king, as a Deryni sorceress challenges him for the throne. His only help is Morgan, a half Deryni chief advisor, who must help the boy assume his own sorcerer's powers. While the hostile regency council, led by the Church, which has presecuted the Deryni for 200 years, is trying to destroy Morgan. This is where the Deryni universe begins. It is Miss Kurtz's first novel in the series and it shows. This book is written more toward the adolesence than the adult reader. But from an embryonic start, the Deryni universe blossoms wonderfully in subsequent novels, as Miss Kurtz's writing skills improve dramatically.
Read this book for that very reason, it is just the beginning and things do get a lot better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book, you will enjoy it., Oct. 11 2000
This is one book you can unrepentantly recommend to any person, whether they are a fantasy reader or not. I have recommended this book to many many people, from all reading bacgrounds and never once have they come back dissapointed, usually they buy the next two.
Ignore it's simplicity, it is a unique stroy, with characters that are engaging. Who doesen't want to read a book, every once in a while, where you can love to hate the bad guy and love to love the good guy! Ala star wars etc...
As far as the non-glossed over view of the "Church", you might find that it simply reflects most of the very true documented history of the Catholic Church. It wholly enhances the read!
Read and enjoy! BTW, don't let the old artwork throw you!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging But Lacks The Breadth And Depth Of The Best, Dec 13 1999
By 
Elyon (Mesilla, New Mexico) - See all my reviews
This is the first work by Katherine Kurtz I've read, and I must say that I found it enjoyable and engaging. Written in 1970 before the advent of "doorstop" fantasy, the story is inventive, well-paced, and, at under 300 pages, by today's standards brief. Regardless of the at times well deserved criticism directed at the current trend in fantasy of writing multi-volume, massive epics, this story could have been improved with a further fleshing out. Unlike a earlier reviewer, I found this tale had something happening in every chapter, and would have benefited from a slowing of the pace in order to devote more time to description and characterization. Nonetheless, it's well written and inventive, and I will continue on with the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the first book in an u unforgettable series!, Sept. 23 1996
By A Customer
In a fantasy world similar to medieval Britain the Deryniare outcast. Their telepathic and other "magical" powersare condemned by the church as work of the devil. They arefeared, shunned and oftentimes burned at the stake.At last, two hundred years after massive persecutions, theDeryni are rising once more. Under royal protection the halfDeryni Duke Alaric Anthony Morgan gains a degree ofacceptance when the hatered of religious zealots and thescheming of an ambitious sorceress threaten to end hisefforts... and his life.Beware! Once started this series is addictive! The writingand the plot grow more gripping by the chapter. You may experience a compultion to read and re-read these books lateinto the night
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2.0 out of 5 stars Quick, forgettable read, Aug. 28 2000
By 
The book was quick paced enough for me to get through it, and though it has the basic style and premise of a fantasy epic, it lacks so much that makes those epics good. For example, the plot is too small-scale; we only learn about what happens on a couple days in one city to a dozen or so people. Truly epic fantasy novels paint a portrait of an entire kingdom. Also, this novel lacked any sort of romance, which isn't necessary, I suppose, but it really helps in the slow parts in many novels (think of David Eddings, Robert Jordan, or Terry Goodkind here).
I will read some more in the series, because I figure Mrs. Kurtz will expand on the universe she created in this book- at least I hope so...
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent writing, Jan. 19 2002
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"andi_hawke" (DeRidder, Louisiana United States) - See all my reviews
I have had very limited experience reading fantasy novels. I chose this one on the recommendation of a friend who reads mostly such books. I began it expecting it to be one of those things where the names and cities are so hard to pronounce I would want to toss it immediately. It is not that way. It is written so well and so real that you can imagine it happening here. The writing is beautiful and absorbing and the story is like nothing I have ever read. Very unique in my opinion. The characters have depth and you care about them and the villains are horrid. Excellent book, especially for someone new to fantasy and fit for younger readers, too. I cannot wait to read the others in the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful beginning, March 25 2001
Welcome to a world which is simular but different to our mediaeval past. In this world, the catholic is in power, and the Deryni lead a tenuis existance at best. While her ideas grow and devolope as she write, this book is a good beginning. A reviewer has said that this work is not as good as epic fantasy. Let's not forget that Epic Fantasy is a newer consept as such compared to Deryni Rising and other like books. Personally I get bored of rehashed plots like Eddings uses and bad writing as in TWOT after awhile. I digress however, the point is this books. It is not the best book ever wirtten, but the characters, sceens, and readability make it a worthwhile effort.
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DERYNI RISING
DERYNI RISING by Katherine Kurtz (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 12 1984)
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