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Camber of Culdi

(The Legends of Camber of Culdi #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  4,983 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Magic and mysticism come alive in this magnificent historical fantasy from the New York Times–bestselling author of the Chronicles of the Deryni.

Long before Camber was revered as a saint, he was a Deryni noble, one of the most respected of the magical race whose arcane skills set them apart from ordinary humans in the medieval kingdom of Gwynedd.

For nearly a century,
Kindle Edition, 314 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (first published January 1st 1976)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,983 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths .

Camber of Culdi was originally published in 1976, following on the heels of the thrilling exploits of the young King Kelson Haldane in The Chronicles of the Deryni trilogy. In Deryni chronologically terms, however, this novel is the oldest, going back in time to shed light on the mysterious Saint Camber, who is reviled and revered in equal measure by the populous of the Kingdom of Gwynedd in Kelson’s time. And here readers come face-to-face with this Deryni
Gary Sundell
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Others have described the plot. In the timeline of the Deryni novels this is the earliest.
I read this when it was first released about 40 years ago. I liked it just as well this time as well. I had forgotten many of the plot elements. It was good coming back to this after so many years.
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves magic. kings, princes and politics
Re-read. As good as it was the first time, this is what fantasy should be like. And sorry, against this--very much so--most of the current similar efforts still suck donkey balls.
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
So sometime back in the early 1980s I became aware of Katherine Kurtz' Deryni books -- mostly likely through an article in Dragon Magazine (which I read religiously), although I had probably also seen the books on the shelf in the local bookstore. When I found out that the Camber books, although written after the original Deryni trilogy (Deryni Rising, Deryni Checkmate, High Deryni) were prequels set a hundred years before the original trilogy, I decided I had to start there. (I had to! They ...more
3 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews

King Imre is a Deryni, a magic-using descendant of the race that overthrew human kings some generations back. As he begins to abuse his powers, Earl Camber of Culdi and his family, also Deryni, plot a return to the human lineage.

I loved Katherine Kurtz' Deryni books when I first read them back in the seventies. Alaric Morgan and Duncan McLain rediscover ancient magics! There's a secret council! A young man finds he has secret powers! The books were great fun. In
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is really the first book, chronologically. I love this series and it may well be my all-time favorite. It introduced me to magic and sword and sorcery and alternate worlds, and Katherine Kurtz's works for this series (The Deryni and Gwynedd) are really really good. The characters she draws I want to know (well, the ones that aren't villans), the land she creates is a place I want to live, the magic she describes is magic I would love to know.

For me, the best way to read this series is in
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fun re-read. I first read this back . . . oh, 25 or 30 years ago, I think, and really enjoyed the mix of church politics and court intrigue in a land not entirely dissimilar from medieval Europe. Kurtz has this ability to create characters you really get attached to -- and then kill them off in horrible ways.

I'm tempted to continue on through the series now, chronologically, since I've never read the most recent trilogy in the series.
Rui Mateus
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, own, 2019
I really loved how Katherine Kurtz managed to put this huge story into 300 pages. It doesn't drag but it's not too fast-paced either, it's just perfect. This Deryni world really is something
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I. ADORE. Terry Brooks.

Back a few years…and by “a few,” I mean sixteen years ago…I was living in a new town. I didn’t know anyone, I was far away from family and friends and lonely as all heck. One day, I was driving around, trying to familiarize myself with the town, when I passed a library. I pulled over immediately, went inside, discovered the Shannara books there by Terry Brooks, and have been a fanatic fan of his ever since.

But what do you do, when you’ve read every book that the author has
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley
4.5 stars

Although I've read this series before, it's been a number of years, so this was a relatively fresh read for me.

For those completely unfamiliar with the Deryni series, it's alternative history/fantasy set in the early medieval period in Gwynedd (what we know as northern Wales) and presented as a historical record. Instead of Norman conquerors, the locals have the Deryni - sorcerors. Although sometimes their interests align, these two races are more often in conflict. One has the power,
James Swenson
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Legends of Camber of Culdi are intriguing for their setting: a fantasy Earth where humans live uneasily alongside the magic-using race of Deryni. The names of the places and the existence of magic demonstrate that this is not our world, but humans and Deryni alike worship the familiar Christian God with rites and sacraments indistinguishable from those of the Catholic Church. Religion serves to animate and motivate the characters -- memorably, the human heir-in-exile, Cinhil, who is ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Every once in a while I get the urge to revisit old favourites and Katherine Kurtz's Deryni novels are definitely faves of mine. I think the Camber books and the Heirs of Camber books are some of Katherine's strongest work.

Yeah, there's stuff in here that might be problematic these days - I mean, it was originally published in 1976 - but I can deal with that. I'm happy to say that although I notice the problems over 40 years later (with a few rereads between), they don't impinge on my enjoyment
This is a well written book by a lady who really knows her medieval culture. By that I mean that even though this is a secondary world, her scholarship enabled her to bring all sorts of small details to make it real.
Now it's not an action-packed story, so if you're looking for epic battles and sword fights, this isn't it. But the characters are well done, the world building is deep, and the read is satisfying.
I felt the end came about a bit too quick, but that's me.
Jeff J.
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I decided I wanted to reread the Deryni series from Katherine Kurtz which I loved when I was younger. After some research I discovered, to my delight, that the original six books has grown to 16 ( plus a couple of short story collections). Rather than read them in order of publication I plan to read them in chronological order and began with this title, which is actually the fourth book published. It was as good as I remembered and I look forward to future titles.
Jul 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Umpteenth re-read: still as enjoyable as ever.
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this when I read it many moons ago (early 80s at the latest)--so I'm giving it four stars based on foggy memories of that love. I don't know if this would be my kind of book now.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
the christian religious magic was interesting, but I'm bored of books about kings
Stephen Simpson
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Came into this completely cold - had never heard of it or the author (it was part of a Humble Bundle).

Nothing all that special or new here. I suppose I'll put a (view spoiler)
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
About Time...

Another Kindle daily deal, one I knew had been around for many years, yet never read. It took a while to get into the story, but once I did, I enjoyed it. The plot dragged in some places, but not impossibly. Overall, a decent book, but I'm not really interested enough to read the rest of the series. Worth the $1.99 deal, though!
Andria Potter
DNF'D. At 15%.

Y'all. I just couldn't bring myself to care to read this. :'( I wanted to but I just did not care about the plot, characters, or setting at all.

May try again in the future.

But I *highly* doubt it.
Michael Farrell
Not much meat in this sandwich. Only two and half stars from me.
James Oden
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Katherine Kurtz does a great job of weaving a tale that is both entertaining and insightful. She juxtaposes the political intrigues and jealousies found in any seat of power against the responsibility of those who govern towards those they govern. She also explores the psychology of rebellion, and the conflict between faithfulness towards one's rulers and righteous rebellion against tyranny. In the story she shows both sides views and rationalizations, and how those who would rebel against ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Tale from a Beloved Fantasy World

It's been many years since I've read the Deryni books. They were some of my first fantasy stories, and while I remember that I enjoyed reading all of them, the plots have been forgotten.

Since the books have been in print for a long time, I can now read them in chronological order and fully appreciate the medieval fantasy world of both magic and religion that Ms. Kurtz developed so fully.

Camber and his family are wealthy and powerful yet have a finely
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a fantasy story that withstands the test of time. My boyfriend had a whole stash of old fantasy books in the basement and I made him dig them all out. I admit I have only really gotten into the fantasy genre within the last two years, and I am so happy that I did!

This is what I would consider a classic fantasy story. I have to say that I am not necessarily morally on board with the main character, Camber, as he has some pretty high handed ideals when it comes to how to deal with
Jun 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Reread with Judith Tarr and

I'm definitely enjoying my reread of the Deryni books, but an in-depth, 21st century look at these books is also showing up problematic elements that I never noticed as a teenager and early-20s reader.

I'm kind of sad about that, as I still have hugely fond memories of them and the world building and the details are still fantastic. I want to reread them and find all that love again, and while there's a lot of good feelings, I can't all out fall in love with
The characters in this first book of the "second" trilogy were as friendly to get to know as those of the first trilogy. Except the new-king was annoying, and unmonklike while supposed to be super-monkish. He's really just selfish, which makes me wonder whether the author even knows any monks. I mean, he's really whiny.
Jun 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, fantasy
This was good, if a bit short. I also think that I would have enjoyed it much more if it had been in audio as I listened to the Kelson arc via audio and really liked it. Regardless, I'll be reading the next book as soon as I can get a copy.
Sep 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I liked it, but was disappointed by the sequels. Even then, the first trilogy is better than later additions.
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for Eurocentric medieval political intrigue and family in-fighting, etc, there's an obviously better choice in the Song of Ice and Fire. If you're looking for mages finding their way through a realistic world, I'd recommend Kingkiller Chronicle. If you want some exploration of religion clashing against religion and/or political power in your science fiction/fantasy then I'd recommend the Books of the New Sun or Long Sun, or again for a medieval setting go with Mists of Avalon. ...more
Marion Hill
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 Stars

Sometimes an article can make you read a novelist you have seen in used bookstores for years. This article from the Strange Horizons website gave spotlight to Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni novels. I had seen the Deryni novels in my local used bookstores here in San Antonio for a while. I will admit I never had no desire to read them and dismissed the series as typical epic fantasy. However, I read the aforementioned article and learned that Kurtz’s impact on the genre was a lot more
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Katherine Kurtz is an American fantasy novel writer. She is best known for her Deryni series. She currently lives in Virginia.

Other books in the series

The Legends of Camber of Culdi (3 books)
  • Saint Camber (The Legends of Camber of Culdi, #2)
  • Camber the Heretic (The Legends of Camber of Culdi, #3)