In The King's Service

    • 4.1 • 15 Ratings
    • $2.99
    • $2.99

Publisher Description

In this first book of an all-new Deryni trilogy,  New York Times bestselling author Katherine Kurtz takes readers back in time--before King Kelson's bride...before King Kelson's birth... when the magical Deryni blood was sought by the most powerful men and women in the kingdom of Gwynedd. Back when a man named Donal ruled over all.

GENRE
Sci-Fi & Fantasy
RELEASED
2003
November 4
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
368
Pages
PUBLISHER
Penguin Publishing Group
SELLER
PENGUIN GROUP USA, INC.
SIZE
1.8
MB

Customer Reviews

KevinRubin ,

The Magical World of the Deryni, but could be better...

“In the King’s Service” is the first Katherine Kurtz book I’ve read in over 20 years. And while she was amongst my favorite authors as a teenager in the 80’s, I found this pretty disappointing. I don’t know if her writing had changed by the 21st century or I’d just become a more discerning reader.

This begins a trilogy, the “Childe Morgan” of her Deryni series that takes place a generation before the first trilogy she wrote, which is several generations after the earliest trilogy, going by in-world chronologic order.

It begins with some of royal court life in Gwynedd, during the reign of King Donal, the grandfather of Kelson, the main character of several other trilogies, and early on has the birth of Kelson’s father, the future King Brion.

Much of the novel follows the point of view of Alyce, a Deryni, with some magic powers, and just a teenager for most of the book, as she goes from her parents’ court to the royal court and a few years in a convent for schooling, and then back to the royal court and her marriage. She occasionally gets to use her Deryni powers but most of that, her training takes place in between the novel’s scenes.

With her and some chapters from the point of view of an older Deryni woman, the Lady Jessamy, this has a lot more details about wealthy, nobel women’s lives, including dresses and gowns and flowers, in Gwynedd than I recall from earlier novels, which were mostly from mens’ points of view.

A number of characters are introduced but die before they can really set things in motion, so they accomplish pretty much nothing but pad out the narrative. And she seemed to lose track of key characters that I would expect to be in some scenes, but weren’t even mentioned.

There’s meetings of the secretive “Camebrian Council” that’s supposed to do a lot of manipulation of humans and Deryni alike behind the scenes to try and achieve their goals of peaceful existence, but in this novel they don’t really end up causing anything to happen. They just talk and observe and offer explanations to each other that clarify things for us readers.

Overall, it was ok, and certainly fun to go back to Kurtz’s Gwynedd after so many years. But as a novel it left some to be desired. I do want to continue with the trilogy, of course, and find out how we get from this to King Kelson…

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