redbyrd_sgfic (redbyrd_sgfic) wrote,

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And Meanwhile, Back at the Castle-

Another book review.   My husband told me when I started this that I read more than I thought I did.  I've had to admit he was right. 

Childe Morgan by Katharine Kurtz

I went into this one with some trepidation after the Foster experience earlier in the week, so on one level I was pleasantly surprised.  This book did nothing to wildly offend me.  Of course it didn't do anything to wildly enthrall me either.  Similarly to the Foster, I read this because I started the series over 20 years ago, and still want to know the missing pieces.  (If you're getting the impression that I read a lot of bad fiction this way, you're probably right.)

This is the latest entry in the thirty-year-old Deryni series and the middle book of the current trilogy, for whatever that's worth.  The Deryni are magically talented folks living in a faux-medieval world and are persecuted and oppressed by humans, chiefly the Church.  For other readers of the series, this isn't so much a story as a "Modern Political History of Gwynedd" interspersed with the minutes of the Camberian Council meetings.  Pretty much all the action takes place off-screen and is related in an endless series of meetings.

But never fear, the unrelenting meetings are broken up by a number of wedding and court ceremonies.  These are described in loving detail along with the diverse personal details of the lives of the characters as they inexorably live, marry, have children and die so the series can approach the beginning state of the first trilogy (Deryni Rising, Deryni Checkmate, and High Deryni). 

In contrast to the first books, which portrayed Deryni as very scarce among the population, this book is fairly littered with them.  In fact a reader might be forgiven for picturing an entire castle full of Deryni with only an occasional normal person present.  And there are so many characters who are secretly Deryni but hiding their true identities, it's quite hard to keep straight who is 'out' and who's still in the closet.  And if they aren't Deryni they're with magic powers.  Or sometimes both. 

Plot, you ask?  Oh plot.  Well there certainly are plots, and stories and high drama.  Unfortunately almost none of them actually appear in this book, though some get a mention in passing. 

This is an inoffensive way to waste a couple of hours if you're a fan of the series and willing to sit through a (short) novel's-worth of backstory.  If you're just getting started in this series- read the first two trilogies (in publication order) and stop.  You'll have seen all the good stuff. 

Tags: books
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