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“The Bishop’s Heir” is the first volume of “The Histories of King Kelson” trilogy. Out of the sixteen Deryni novels, this comes 13th chronologically, following “High Deryni”, but it was the 7th to be published in 1984, following “Camber the Heretic” in 1981. I read this book twenty-five years ago and read it again with equal pleasure.

This book exemplifies what makes Katherine Kurtz a grand author of medieval regal fantasy. She weaves a tapestry of likable Deryni characters and their loyal supporters who are confronted by self-righteous adversaries whose cruelties know no bounds in order to denigrate the Deryni to achieve power and influence. Here we once more meet the previously deposed Deryni-hating Bishop Edmund Loris who has been confined for two years to an imposed exile in a remote monastery. But he has managed to form a liaison with the elderly Princess Caitrin, pretender to the throne of Meara. Meara was an independent realm two hundred years ago but has since been a principality held by Gwynedd. Bishop Loris has devised a scheme whereby he will regain his former position, looking to become Archbishop, through the restoration of a sovereign Meara under the rule of Caitrin and her heirs. By the aid of his accomplices Loris escapes his confinement, joining forces with Caitrin and a group of Mearan rebels, who defeat defending forces loyal to the Haldane (and Deryni) King Kelson. Lord Dhugal MacArdry, Master of Transha, an estate in Meara, who is the foster brother of King Kelson, is captured and taken in hostage. The King recruits an army to rescue Lord Dhugal and to confront the forces of Caitrin and Loris. This tale revolves mainly around King Kelson and Lord Dhugal. They are supported by Duke Alaric Morgan, the King’s constant defender since his childhood, and Duncan McLain, Deryni priest, Morgan’s cousin, and also a close friend of the King since they were boys. The significance of the book’s title does not become apparent until near the end.

Kurtz has created a very enjoyable story characterized by high tension with dramatic uncertainty. As the book concludes there are prominent ongoing conflicts and hostilities yet to be resolved. Volume two of the trilogy, entitled “The King’s Justice” will pick up where “The Bishop’s Heir” comes to a climactic and heartrending conclusion.
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on May 7, 2000
I really didn't enjoy reading this book, yet it was challenging. Even though there was some fighting action that kept me in suspense, I had a hard time remembering some of the characters. I would read about one family and then start reading about another family. Then, when a character tells that another person is in the family, I get confused. One reason might be that I read volume II of this book, instead of volume I. Even though I was confused, I would recommend this book to someone who likes to read about knights and learn about a 17 year old teenager who struggles to do his best job as a king.
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on December 22, 1999
In this book kelson finally becomes a true King. He finds out that life is far from fair, but you have to live it anyway. He takes up challenges and causes that he probably never even concidered existed before, and i must say Mrs. Kurtz puts it to paper masterfully. She manages to take the readers into the kingdom of Gwynedd, and puts you right into the action next to her main characters I have grown to know and love. She keeps us on our toes with action and twists and turns in the story, so much so that it's more like watching a movie then reading a book.
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on December 22, 2000
As a reader I always read series. The Deryni series is one of my favorite series! There is action in it(so much that I couldn't put it down).Mrs.Kurtz has the ability to set a plot and to take it under control, which is something many people lack. She tells the story in a way that when you sometimes compare it with your everyday life, you say well, there are many people who are stuck somewherer in life because of others(like poor Kelson). I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy books and hope that Mrs.Kurtz comes up with other series about Deryni!
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on July 23, 1998
I fell madly in love with Kelson Haldane from the moment I picked up 'The Bishop's Heir', the first book in this series, but this particular book is, in my opinion, the best of the trilogy about the young Haldane King. I am not a Christian, but I appreciate Kurtz's expert blending of the rich ceremony of what is obviously a parallel of the Catholic church, and Arthurian-type legend into this marvelous tale. I had no interest in heraldry before I read the trilogy, but now I am fascinated by it.
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on December 22, 1999
AS one of Mrs. Kurtz biggest fans, i have to say i was pleasantly surprised with the twists of this novel. With the intruduction of Dhugal as a main characters, and managing to tie him in to the "family" so nicely was simply amazing. I was glad to see further character growth and developement and was impressed with how they seem to be learning from each other(and past mistakes). I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys fantasy of any kind.
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on July 12, 1999
Kurtz creates a fascinating medieval fantasy world in this first book in the series. Power struggles between Church and state, civil war, well developed characters, and of course, magic. If you like fantasy, magic, and political intrigue, you'll love this book. Her writing style improves with each novel she writes. I hope she's working on another Deryni series, they're one of my favorites!
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on August 14, 1999
I enjoyed this second book in Katherine Kurtz's trillogy of Deryni novels. It was very dramatic, suspenseful, and extremely entertaining. Kurtz does a skillful job of blending midevil court life, the Catholic church, and magic into a gripping novel with a stunning conclusion that sent me after the final book in the trillogy, The Quest for Saint Camber.
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on May 9, 1999
The ideas in this book spark a lot of interest: magic, a bishop with a son (who's not even a bastard!), a suppresed race, a kingdom on the brink of war...all revolving around the nobility, church, and royal family of Gwynedd. For anyone who loves midevil fantasy and magic, this book is a must-read.
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on February 14, 1999
Obviously written by someone who cannot write action sequences well. All the battle scenes are either short, or related second hand, like a greek play. Interesting characters, but the plot is just too slow. I felt I had to write this after reading the other two reveiws here.
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