Next SFF Author: P.B. Kerr
Previous SFF Author: Elizabeth Kerner

SFF Author: Katharine Kerr

Katharine Kerr(1944- )
Katharine Kerr also writes science fiction, but she is best known for her fantasy epic Deverry. You can read some excerpts at Katharine Kerr’s website.



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Daggerspell: Innovative world building, sympathetic characterization

Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr

As a young man, Nevyn’s inability to choose starts a series of events that leads to the death of his betrothed, her brother, and another man. At his beloved’s grave he swears to never rest until he has righted the wrongs he caused. The gods accept his vow, and he is gifted with immortality until he has fulfilled his promise. Daggerspell follows Nevyn’s attempts to pay the debts he owes as the spirits of the three people to whom he is spiritually tied are born and reborn.


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Darkspell: Just as gripping as Daggerspell

Darkspell by Katharine Kerr

Darkspell is the second Deverry book and it proves to be just as gripping as the first. Here we are dealing with a present time storyline of Jill and Rhodry’s life on the road as silver daggers, and the danger they face from masters of dark dweomer. Jill discovers more about dweomer from Nevyn as he tries to gently encourage her to fulfill her Wyrd (destiny).

We also go back in time to a previous incarnation of Jill and Rhodry and Cullyn (Jill’s father).


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Dawnspell: The Bristling Wood

Dawnspell: The Bristling Wood by Katharine Kerr

Note: In the UK, this book is titled Dawnspell. In the US it is The Bristling Wood.

Dawnspell: The Bristling Wood is my favourite of the series so far! In this book the modern day plot follows Jill and Rhodry as they are forced apart by circumstance, and ends on a real cliffhanger where Rhodry vanishes, and it is up to Jill and Salamander to try and find him.


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The Dragon Revenant: Generic but enjoyable

The Dragon Revenant (US) or Dragonspell: The Southern Sea (UK) by Katharine Kerr

For the first time in the Deverry series, all the action takes place in the present day rather than flitting back to fill gaps in the past, and the plot and pacing are all the tighter for it.

Rhodry has been sold as a slave on the Bardek islands, and one storyline follows his new life, intersected with information about Salamander and Jill chasing him down. Behind all this we discover more about the politics and machinations within the Hawks,


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A Time of Exile: Not as good as the first four books

A Time of Exile by Katharine Kerr

A Time of Exile, the first book in the second Deverry quartet, opens a number of years after the events in Daggerspell. Rhodry is getting older, but his Westfolk genes have given him long life and people are starting to mutter dweomer when they look at him. He stages his own death so that he is able to slip away from his life in Aberwyn. He meets Jill again when he heads into the lands of the Westfolk,


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A Time of Omens: Treading water

A Time of Omens by Katharine Kerr

A Time of Omens, the second book of the second Deverry quartet, is no more than a competent entry. Despite the easy reading, it took me days to get through and I really struggled at times to muster much interest in the doings of Rhodry.

Rhodry spends a number of years wandering in the Westlands, integrating himself into the lives of the Elcyion Lacar. Jill has gone seeking the remnant of the Elven race that fled south when the Hordes destroyed their homelands.


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Days of Blood and Fire: Disappointed

Days of Blood and Fire (US) or A Time of War (UK) by Katharine Kerr

A Time of War (Days of Blood and Fire in the US) is the third book in the second Deverry quartet. Here all the action takes place in the present — we meet the Rhiddaer folk and the Gel Da’Thae (in the form of Jahdo and Meer) who quest to Deverry in search of Meer’s brother. When they find him,


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Days of Air and Darkness (A Time of Justice): Losing interest

Days of Air and Darkness (A Time of Justice) by Katharine Kerr

With Days of Air and Darkness / A Time of Justice, Katharine Kerr wraps up The Westlands Cycle. It is a fairly decent final book, bringing a number of ongoing stories together and finishing things decently. With that said, it felt a little soulless to me — with her first four books, Kerr made the characters come alive and I had a lot of interest in their doings. Gradually I am losing interest in Rhodry and co.


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The Red Wyvern: A return to form

The Red Wyvern by Katharine Kerr

The Red Wyvern is the first book in a new cycle of novels set in Deverry by Katharine Kerr, and as such new readers can start out at this point. I would recommend vehemently, though, that they do not since a number of storylines from prior novels come together or are referenced in this novel.

For the first time we drift in time forwards rather than backwards, albeit for a short time, when we discover that Haen Marn is adrift in time as well as space.


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The Black Raven: Kerr writes the past so beautifully

The Black Raven by Katharine Kerr

The Black Raven is the second book in the Dragon Mage sequence of Deverry from Katharine Kerr. Once again, we spend the majority of the book in the past, exploring Lillorigga’s burgeoning dweomer power and her relationship to the various souls she is destined to encounter again when she becomes Niffa in the future. At the moment, it is fairly confusing trying to keep straight who is who in both the past and the current incarnations.


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The Fire Dragon: Best Deverry book

The Fire Dragon by Katharine Kerr

In The Fire Dragon we spend about half of our time in the past, concluding the storyline concerning Lillorigga, princess Bellyra, Maddyn the bard, and the prince Maryn. The second half of the book shifts the plot forwards concerning Rhodry, Dallandra, Niffa, Raena, and the dragon Arzosah.

In my opinion The Fire Dragon is by far the best book in the whole Deverry series. I was gripped throughout. Of necessity (considering the curse of the dweomer tablet),


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The Gold Falcon: Starts a new Deverry sequence

The Gold Falcon by Katharine Kerr

With The Gold Falcon, Katharine Kerr is starting a new phase in the Deverry series. We move on fifty years or so from the climactic ending of The Fire Dragon, and times have changed. The Horsekin have started marauding the Deverry border, killing the men and enslaving the women. There is a fragile alliance between the Deverry folk, the Rhiddaer, and the West Folk (Kerr’s version of elves). And Alshandra’s repute as a goddess is growing,


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The Spirit Stone: Don’t miss out on this epic!

The Spirit Stone by Katharine Kerr

The Spirit Stone is the fifth book in the Dragon Mage sequence by Katharine Kerr. The events in this book follow on directly from those in The Gold Falcon. The joint armies of Westfolk, Deverry men, and Mountain Folk are mustering in order to put Zakh Gral (the Horsekin fortress) to the sword. This time round we leave the stories of Branna and Neb, who remain behind at the dun. Instead Salamander and Dallandra come to the fore — dealing with a group of Gel da Thae who have been banished for using dweomer by those who follow Alshandra;


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The Shadow Isle: Penultimate Deverry

The Shadow Isle by Katherine Kerr

We’re finally reaching the end of the Deverry saga with The Shadow Isle, the penultimate book in the series. There is a sense of Katharine Kerr pulling together all those strands to finish off the series effectively, but some mysteries are still to be resolved. One thing I am glad of is that I don’t actually know what Kerr will do to finish the story — although the Horsekin are currently ‘evil’, there has been enough switching sides and distinctions made between Horsekin and Gel da Thae for us to realize that no one is outright evil and everybody can be redeemed.


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The Silver Mage: Disappointing end to Deverry

The Silver Mage by Katharine Kerr

In The Silver Mage, the fifteenth book in the very long-running Deverry series, Katharine Kerr seeks to wrap up those last few plot points and bring the sequence to a resounding end.

Oh dear. I’ve followed this series faithfully, to the extent of doing a full re-read in preparation of the release of this final book, and I am more than disappointed with the way Kerr has finished things off.

This series has been limping along for a while,


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License to Ensorcell: Unusual, not without issues

License to Ensorcell by Katharine Kerr

Nola O’Grady is a psychic who works for a government agency that officially doesn’t exist. Her agency is called in when there’s a case involving the forces of Chaos – like the one that Israeli agent Ari Nathan is currently trying to solve for Interpol. Someone is murdering werewolves, and somehow traveling between the scenes of the crimes without being seen by any witnesses. Nola and Ari are thrown together on the case and soon learn that the victims all knew each other and that Nola’s late brother Patrick was murdered by the same culprit.


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Water to Burn: Intriguing world, sparkle-free romance

Water to Burn by Katharine Kerr

Katharine Kerr’s License to Ensorcell was an uneven but unique entry into the urban fantasy subgenre. It began as an interesting paranormal whodunit with some annoying acronyms, then took a sharp turn and became a story of alternate universes (also known here as deviant world levels). The addition of the alternate-universe material made License to Ensorcell more original than many of its peers and introduced a poignant subplot involving the heroine’s teenage brother, but also made the mystery make less sense.


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Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New Myths

Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New Myths by Jennifer Roberson

Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New Myths is an anthology for everyone who loves re-takes on the Arthurian legends, and especially those readers who loved The Mists of Avalon and are seeking more of the same sort of retellings, laced with gender politics, religious issues, and romance.

As in all anthologies, some of the stories are to my taste, some aren’t, and there is probably something for everyone.


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Next SFF Author: P.B. Kerr
Previous SFF Author: Elizabeth Kerner

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