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SFF Author: Katherine Kurtz

You can find a pronunciation guide and suggestions about the reading order for the Deryni saga at Katherine Kurtz’s website.



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Deryni Rising: Classic high epic fantasy

Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz

Katherine Kurtz is truly a mistress of fantasy — she’s been writing high epic fantasy for 40 years and should be considered one of the post-Tolkien “parents” of our genre.

The setting of the Deryni saga is an alternate medieval Europe (clearly analogous to our medieval England and Wales) and the Deryni are a magical race who look just like, and can interbreed with, humans. They have been persecuted for years by the Church (clearly meant to be our medieval Catholic church) and most people with Deryni blood choose to hide and/or deny their lineage and magical powers.


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Deryni Checkmate: Church vs. State

Deryni Checkmate by Katherine Kurtz

Deryni Checkmate, first published in 1972, is the second novel in Katherine Kurtz’s epic fantasy series that’s set in a world called Gwynedd (loosely based our own medieval UK) where some people have inherited magic from a race called the Deryni which has interbred with normal humans. The church of Gwynedd considers magic anathema and is using its wealth, power, and influence to rid the world of Deryni magic. Thus, Kurtz’s story is clearly inspired by our own middle ages when the Roman Catholic Church dominated Western religious and political systems and,


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High Deryni: I plan to continue

High Deryni by Katherine Kurtz

High Deryni, originally published in 1973, is the third novel in Katherine Kurtz’s DERYNI CHRONICLES. In the first novel, Deryni Rising, young Prince Kelson, who has inherited some Deryni magic, took his dead father’s throne after fighting an evil sorceress. In the second novel, Deryni Checkmate, tensions rose after the Church (obviously based on the medieval Catholic Church of our world) excommunicated Alaric Morgan and Duncan McLain, two of Kelson’s relatives and advisors.


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The Bishop’s Heir: King Kelson must squash a rebellion

The Bishop’s Heir by Katherine Kurtz

The Bishop’s Heir is the first book in Katherine Kurtz’s trilogy called THE HISTORIES OF KING KELSON but it’s a direct sequel to High Deryni, the third book in her CHRONICLES OF DERYNI trilogy. (Did you get that?) To get the most out of The Bishop’s Heir, you really need to read THE CHRONICLES OF DERYNI first. This review of The Bishop’s Heir will contain a couple of spoilers for the original trilogy.


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The King’s Justice: King Kelson must squash a rebellion, part two

The King’s Justice by Katherine Kurtz

The King’s Justice is the second book in Katherine Kurtz’s THE HISTORIES OF KING KELSON trilogy, which is part of her DERYNI CHRONICLES. It’s the fifth book about young King Kelson. You really ought to read the books in this order: Deryni Rising, Deryni Checkmate, High Deryni, The Bishop’s Heir and THEN this book, The King’s Justice.


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The Quest for Saint Camber: An exciting DERYNI story

The Quest for Saint Camber by Katherine Kurtz

Even though The Quest for Saint Camber is the third novel in Katherine Kurtz’s THE HISTORIES OF KING KELSON trilogy, it’s actually the sixth novel about King Kelson and it’s part of her larger DERYNI CHRONICLES. You should read the books about Kelson in this order: Deryni RisingDeryni CheckmateHigh DeryniThe Bishop’s Heir,


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King Kelson’s Bride: Wraps up Kelson’s story

King Kelson’s Bride by Katherine Kurtz

Katherine Kurtz published Deryni Rising, her first novel about young King Kelson, in 1970 and published The Quest for Saint Camber, which seemed to be the final story in the HISTORIES OF KING KELSON in 1986. Then, eleven years later, she published King Kelson’s Bride, a story that ties up many loose ends and answers a few questions about how life turned out for Kelson Haldane. There will be spoilers for the previous books here,


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In the King’s Service: Not among her best, but still pretty strong

In the King’s Service by Katherine Kurtz

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, Alaric, et. al. (beginning with Deryni Rising). Though I suppose it could be read independently, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it and advise people new to this world to start with her first trilogy (or possibly go chronologically starting with the Camber series depending on taste).


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Childe Morgan: Fills in the gaps

Childe Morgan by Katherine Kurtz

Katherine Kurtz’s first Deryni series introducing the land of Gwynneth and its young, just-made King Kelson and his advisor Alaric Morgan is a justifiably acclaimed fantasy classic. Since that first trilogy, Kurtz has given us several series of books dipping into Gwynneth’s far history as well as Kelson’s near future. While, as is true of just about any such multi-volume fantasy series, there have been some stumbles here and there, for the most part Kurtz has maintained the high level of quality set by that first trilogy,


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The King’s Deryni: A masterful conveyance of a medieval world

The King’s Deryni by Katherine Kurtz

I first encountered Katherine Kurtz’s DERYNI series back in high school with Deryni Rising, the first of her more than dozen novels in the long-running series. The newest entry, The King’s Deryni, is the third in the CHILDE MORGAN sub-series, and it brings her original readers full circle, since it ends just a few years before Deryni Rising begins. As with any series of this length, the quality of each book,


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Lammas Night: Magical smack down on the Führer

Lammas Night by Katherine Kurtz

Within neo-pagan circles, there is a persistent legend that numerous British witches and occultists banded together during World War II, using magic to keep Hitler from invading Britain. I’m not convinced there was a huge organized effort, but I’m sure there were occultists in Britain at the time, and it would surprise me more if no one had tried to lay the magical smack down on the Führer. Katharine Kurtz uses this legend as the basis for Lammas Night.


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Next SFF Author: Ellen Kushner
Previous SFF Author: Lynn Kurland

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