Author: Katherine Kurtz
Book: Camber the Heretic (The Legends of Camber of Culdi #3)
Published: March 2016
Publisher: Open Road Media Science Fiction & Fantasy
Winner of the 1982 Balrog Award
The kingdom of Gwynedd’s fragile peace is ending. King Cinhil is dying. The strife that has existed between the humans and the magical Deryni is boiling to the surface. His heir is a boy of twelve with ambitious regents set to rule until (or if) he comes of age. They are determined to eliminate the Deryni, even those that helped the boy’s father. Chief among them is Camber of Culdi, sainted for his sacrifice for the good of all people. (In the previous book, he changed his form into that of Bishop Alistair Cullen, so he’s still lead character.) Now, Camber is reviled as a heretic and must find a way to protect his people from the genocidal ambitions of the regents and their puppet king.
Katherine Kurtz has written an alternative history fantasy novel based loosely on medieval Europe. The names seem based on Welsh. This is the third book in the Legends of Camber of Culdi. Full disclosure, I have not read the first two.
In this alternative medieval Europe, there is a magical race known as the Deryni. The book hints that they were once on top and used their magic powers to oppress humans. At the time of this book, humans distrust the Deryni, and the Catholic-like faith that both adhere to is on the verge of outlawing them. There are also Deryni who seem to go out of their way to prove the prejudices right. Saint Camber and the Cambrian Council helped King Cinhil to the throne, and he has kept the peace. Unfortunately, he is dying. The kingdom of Gwynedd hangs on the edge of disaster, as the regents who will rule until one of Cinhil’s sons is ready for the throne seem bent on genocide.
The story should be exciting, and the concepts explored by Katherine Kurtz are interesting. However, there is no action, with a great deal of things describe in exposition. She is telling rather than showing, and it is a long book.