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The Harrowing of Gwynedd (The Heirs of Saint Camber #1)

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,798 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Evil times had come for rthe Deryni, the humans with strange, magical powers. The Regents of the boy-king Alroy sought their destruction. And now Bishop Alister Cullen was dead, depriving the Deryni of their greatest friend. But no one could be sure he was really dead. His body lay unchanged and incorruptible. As those questions remained unanswered, the effort to save Dery ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published September 13th 1989 by Del Rey (first published 1989)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 04, 2014 Clare rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Finally!!! I thought I would never get this book done. Most stories do not start at the very beginning, but this book just throws the reader into a maelstrom of political and religious turmoil and lets them fend for themselves. Granted, there is an index in the back, but to toggle back and forth while reading makes it a tedious task. The fact that it took me so long to reach the end of this book knowing that it is just the first part of a series, it is a sure bet that I will not be reading any m ...more
Much like “Camber the Heretic,” which chronologically comes before this one, this is not an attention-keeping tome but even worse. I suppose readers who are not fascinated by the ritualistic episodes, which can go on for ten or twelve pages, will have to endure those elements in the narrative or just scan through them as I do. Kurtz revels in their magical mysticism but only sometimes does she conjure up the unexpected.

These are some of the events played out or brought into play in this volume:
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K.P. Taskila
Mar 12, 2011 K.P. Taskila rated it it was ok
This is an odd meld of both Christian faith and the author's own mystical world. It's odd and one I'm not particularly thrilled with. It's too literal to be taken as mere fantasy, and too many liberties to be accepted as a historical piece.

It's well written but I am unfamiliar with the characters and world to be invested in it. I'm going to complete this book but probably won't pick up others in the series. I got this book for free in the free books pile at Penguicon. Others may like this sort o
Macey O'Brien
I loved all of KK's Deryini tales - but this one - oh my - I have described the ending as having the same emotional punch as losing your best friend - A great read - but I would not suggest this as a stand alone - please read other Camber of Caldi books first...get to know Evaine and Michael and of course Camber...
May 19, 2016 Noah rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This trilogy is starting to look better than the first trilogy already. There's more of a division between good and evil, so the character's actions make more sense than they did in the first one. Because of that, it is easier to identify and care about the characters. I hope things continue in this vein.
Jan 10, 2015 Wayne rated it it was amazing
This series is excellent. The merging of religion and magic is done very well. Really challenges you to think. I can see a lot of parallels to modern day racism and homophobia.
Aug 25, 2008 Tanya rated it it was amazing
Harrowing of Gwynedd is the first book of the Heirs of Saint Camber, but it really feels like a sequel to Camber the Heretic. This novel is really about the search of Evaine, Cambers daughter, undertakes to bring her beloved father back from the spell he cast at his death. This book is more intelectual than some of the others, as the Deryni are in hiding trying to come up with solutions to perserve their race. The ending is one I have read several times just to try to grasp what the author invis ...more
May 05, 2010 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2010
Politics, religion, and a magical race deemed evil by those not of that race (Deryni). What I really love about Katherine Kurtz and the Deryni series is that you never know what to expect. She has no problem killing off anyone at anytime if it serves the story. She has her fair share of happy endings, but sometimes her most endearing characters meet unpleasant ends.

This particular book had a little too much (Catholic) Church ritual details throughout for my taste, but this is easily overlooked.
James Swenson
May 28, 2013 James Swenson rated it liked it
This is volume 1 of the "Heirs of Saint Camber" trilogy, continued in King Javan's Year and The Bastard Prince. Start with Camber of Culdi.
Feb 15, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
In this first book of the second of the Camber trilogies, or however you keep track of these things . . . well, things really, really start to suck. And the truth of it is: you care so deeply about these characters that you cannot stop reading. They are as real as any person you've ever met, so when they die, you sob for days. Or when they lose a hand. Or an eye. Or are tortured . . . (I'm just warning you, as a friend. These books are not for the faint of heart.)
Sep 11, 2011 Aysha rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Aysha by: Nicholas Black
The whole book was very fitting of its title of 'Harrowing'. I'm definitely feeling a lot of anguish over the events plaguing Gwynedd sofar and I hope that all will not fall to ruin forever, but a part of me certainly feels it will.
Mar 22, 2015 Richard rated it it was ok
hard to follow i almost fell a sleep reading a book from boredom
K.C. May
Aug 24, 2012 K.C. May marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Dec 19, 2012 Jossalyn rated it liked it
love the combination of high religious ritual, the saints specific for certain qualities, and magic.
first read 7/91
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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 Heirs of Saint Camber (3 books)
  • King Javan's Year (The Heirs of Saint Camber, #2 )
  • The Bastard Prince (Heirs of Saint Camber, #3)

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