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Deryni Checkmate (The Chronicles of the Deryni #2)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  2,786 ratings  ·  38 reviews
More than thirty years ago, Katherine Kurtz changed the face of fantasy with the Deryni Chronicles. Revolving around the politics and passions of a world suspicious of magic, the novels were the first steps in Kurtz's remarkable career. Now, in hardcover for the first time, here is a newly revised and expanded edition of the second book in the classic series, Deryni Checkm ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 6th 2005 by Ace Hardcover (first published January 1st 1972)
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Mike (the Paladin)
If you read my review of Deryni Rising you know I didn't spend a lot of time on the fictional (fantasy) depiction of the church. That will not be possible here.

The book itself follows the events having to do with the church demanding that Deryni (all Deryni) renounce their powers and abilities, or be excommunicated. The actions of a rabid and hate filled persecutor will also play a role in the story, which does not complete with this volume.


Kat  Hooper

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 Cathol
Federica Leva
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Opening note before I begin: I read the revised and expanded edition of this one because it's all the library had. I would have preferred to read the original edition, but, well, you can't always get what you want.

This is the The Empire Strikes Back of the Chronicles of the Deryni. Deryni Rising was a young boy becoming a man and winning a battle of good versus evil in the classic structure laid out by the monomyth. One of the things that bothered me about that book, though, was the focus on go
Carol Gibson
This is the second book in the first series of the Deryni books. With this one we start to see Katherine Kurtz growing as an author we also see the story and the plot evolving from a simple fantasy to a richer novel with political intrigue. Katherine Kurtz no longer feels it necessary to hide the fact that the powerful church is the Catholic church and this adds a richness to the story. Her knowledge of medieval history and the working of the priesthood lends a realism to the novel.

Unlike a lot
Lisa (Harmonybites)
The Deryni books are great sword and sorcery fantasy. What makes them unique is that they're a blend of historical fantasy and high fantasy. What marks a book out as high fantasy is a completely imaginary world with no links to real history--legend maybe, but the ties are tenuous, even when like Tolkien's Middle Earth, Lackey's Valdemir or Pierce's Tortall, they have a pseudo-medieval feel.

This on, the other hand, is Christian Europe--yet not quite. Gwynedd is recognizably Britain--more so than
Usually the middle book or movie in a series is the book nobody likes. It serves to provide backstory or to fill in additional information to bridge the gap between the first book in a trilogy and the second. That is not the case here.

Deryni Rising starts the story of King Kelson. Katherine Kurtz could have ended the trilogy right there and the story would have been fine (no cliffhangers). Instead, she chose to continue the story of King Kelson with a focus on Morgan, Kelson's chief Deryni/advis
Carrying on with my High Fantasy binge - this continues 4 months after the previous book, where Alaric Morgan and Duncan McLain fall foul of the Archbishops of Gwynedd. Because Alaric has never denied his Deryni ancestry, the religious heirarchy denounce him as evil and manipulative, and ultimately excommunicate him (and his Duchy) from the Church.

I must admit I never realised how steeped in religion this book is/was: it takes Christianity as a given, and uses its precepts as a base for the acti
Fred D
These comments apply to all 3 books of the original Deryni Trilogy, Deryni Rising, Deryni Checkmate, and High Deryni. I really enjoyed this series. I liked Kurtz's writing style, and she did a great job creating and describing the fantasy world of Gwynnedd. I could see a lot of Welsh influence in the world she created. I think the series teaches a good lesson about tolerance of minorities and overcoming ignorance. However, the story line seemed to have some anti-religious undertones which I wasn ...more
I enjoyed reading Deryni Checkmate, Book 2 in the Deryni series, more than I had enjoyed Book 1 (which I had already found engaging).
There is more suspense and action, more dramatic tension, the plotlines get more intricate and complex, and of course we get to know better the main characters, who become more familiar. I found the final climaxes (note the plural form) also much more captivating and emotional than the climax in Deryni Rising.

Religious extremism remains a central theme in this sec
David Zerangue
This was the second installment of The Chronicles of the Deryni. There were plenty of people who did not care for this book as much as the first one and I can only imagine it was due to a lack of real action, magic casting, etc. However, as I suspected, Ms. Kurtz uses her books to build her world so this installment was great in explaining more of the world we find ourselves in. I thought it was a good read. There was one segment within the novel that I felt was just fluff; almost a tangential s ...more
Fantasy Literature

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 Cathol
Not as good as the first book. It doesn't deserve a 2 star, but maybe 2.5
My review of the first book applies to the second also.

Even less female influence in this one, though I can easily imagine much of the dialogue occuring between two women rather than two men. I suppose I can excuse it by accepting that the magic bond between certain male figures creates an intimacy that would not exist otherwise. But seriously, the male characters don't hide anything. They really lay there feelings right ou
I was between three and four stars on this one. I loved the first one (Dernyi Rising) and love each of the characters. They are fun and interesting. The plot of the book is nice, but follows typical "trilogy format" (book 1 - introduce characters include provincial victory Book 2 - broaden the scope and make a big mess Book 3 - clean up the mess, kill one main character and good triumphs over evil.) Fun, playful, great religious/faith overtones that give the book a fun distinguishing factor. Hea ...more
Если первую я читала "ради образования" (и ради лола), то во второй книжке те же огрехи - дырки в сюжете, над которыми бы чуть-чуть подумать - и будет хорошо, Марти-Стью главный герой, Королева-мать (аааа!) - терпеть уже не выносимо.
Проскипала вторую половину, не вижу в себе сил закончить хотя бы первую трилогию.
These books are well written, but I never finished the series because everything is negative. This one is not as down as most, as the author did not kill off all the major characters, but no bright shining light from it either.
I've enjoyed reading the first three books in this series (although out of order). As my first real trip into the Fantasy genre, it's a well-written story. My only complaint about this series is that the writer does not fully develop the few female characters she includes in her books. As a female writer, I would have expected her to have more and stronger female characters.
Love the closeness and trust the main characters have for. each other.
Second in the trilogy. I'm re-reading these after many years. This one was a solid story as things start to really heat up. A group of priests breaks away from the main Church over the Deryni question and a religious zealot with his own mysterious powers wants to start a new Deryni persecution. The only thing that seemed a little off to me was the subplot of the marriage of Morgan's sister Bronwyn. It didn't seem to advance the story at all unless it pops up somewhere later in the third book.
slightly less than the first book
Mailis Viiand
Solid somewhat historic fantasy, characters dont pull you in immediately but half-way through i started to get in to it more. Lacks a bit of emotional connection and the feeling of epic drama might not be obvious, still the philosophical undertones and religious questions are irrelevant and timeless if you find in yourself the motivation the immerse yourself in the ideas.
Once again, I loved it! It was just as action-packed as the first in the set. It made me laugh, cry, and hide behind my hands when things got suspenseful (as weird as it sounds). The heroes are easy to love and, unfortunately, so are the expendable characters. I can't believe no one told me about this author sooner. She's great!
Neill Smith
In the second book of the introduction to the Deryni, Kelson must overcome the enmity of his mother and the ecclesiastical powers of his court to his Deryni powers in time to protect his kingdom from an anti-Deryni crusader and a neighbouring Deryni ruler intent of taking the crown and territory of Gwynned.
Not having been raised Catholic, I'm fascinated by all the Catholic church/life detail.

I could be reading politics into everything these days, but I pick up a hint of gay rights support in the description of the Deryni, condemned solely because of their unlucky birth as Deryni.
Tiffany Wacaser
Excellent! I loved the action, characters, magic and the world Kurtz created. I especially liked the dilemma Kurtz poses for Duncan, a priest but also Deryni. Can't wait to read the next installment.
The great thing about getting old is that I forget things. I've read this before (more than once) and I still only remembered things barely before they happened. Gotta love Morgan and Duncan.
A good continuation of the series; more political and slower than the first but enjoyable. The ending is somewhat of a cliffhanger so have the third book on hand.
Jun 03, 2011 Cera marked it as grazed  ·  review of another edition
I saw the doom coming from miles away and I just couldn't make myself finish it, especially since it was of the variety of 'man victimises woman!'. Bleah.
This second book of the trilogy is not as good as the first, but it is still well worth reading. It certainly sets things up for a rousing final book.
Good character development for a second in a trilogy. Shows bigotry and fear of what is not known (magic).
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Katherine Kurtz is American fantasy novel writer. She is most known for her Deryni series.
She currently lives in Virginia.
More about Katherine Kurtz...

Other Books in the Series

The Chronicles of the Deryni (3 books)
  • Deryni Rising (The Chronicles of the Deryni #1)
  • High Deryni (The Chronicles of the Deryni #3)
High Deryni (The Chronicles of the Deryni #3) Camber the Heretic (The Legends of the Camber of Culdi, #3) Deryni Rising (The Chronicles of the Deryni #1) Camber of Culdi (The Legends of Camber of Culdi, #1) Saint Camber (The Legends of Camber of Culdi, #2)

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