cover image King Kelson's Bride: A Novel of the Deryni

King Kelson's Bride: A Novel of the Deryni

Katherine Kurtz. Ace Books, $22.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-441-00732-5

The latest entry in the bestselling Deryni series is, like its predecessors, set in a land analogous to medieval Wales and featuring the Deryni, a human minority with magical powers. It also resolves the longstanding question of when King Kelson Haldane of Gwynedd is going to get married. He has missed two opportunities, one due to a lady's death and the other to family treachery. He has no wife and no heir save his uncle and cousins, but the old rivals and users of corrupt Deryni magic in neighboring Torenth do have heirs. They also have as many ambitions and as few scruples as ever, so the intrigues fly thick and fast when Kelson seeks to wed Araxie, daughter of the Hort of Orsal, another ruler from the Haldane line. Overcoming these complications (which include the usual magical sequences, at which the author remains as polished and expert as ever) brings Kelson and Araxie together, until what began as an alliance of state warms into a love match--which readers who have followed Kelson this far will agree he deserves. The sympathetic characters are almost too nice, the pacing is often leisurely and a certain lack of the gritty details of medieval society is apparent. Even so, Kurtz, one of the founders of modern historical fantasy, after nearly 30 years continues to be one of its most accomplished practitioners. (June)