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(Deverry #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  14,261 ratings  ·  471 reviews
Even as a young girl, Jill was a favorite of the magical, mysterious Wildfolk, who appeared to her from their invisible realm. Little did she know her extraordinary friends represented but a glimpse of a forgotten past and a fateful future. Four hundred years-and many lifetimes-ago, one selfish young lord caused the death of two innocent lovers. Then and there he vowed nev ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 454 pages
Published November 1st 1993 by Spectra (first published September 1986)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  14,261 ratings  ·  471 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book over twenty-five years ago and have just finished my first re-reading of it.

Re-reading can be a troubling experience. Many of the fantasy books I loved from my teens and twenties have not withstood the test of time. They've grown dated either by style and focus, or simply by the quality of the writing. And of course as much as general reading tastes and expectations have changed, I've changed too. Dump a few decades on a man and that'll happen.

*However*, I'm very pleased t
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: epic fantasy fans
Kerr's Deverry series is a classic in the epic fantasy field, and it's no surprise why. World building is excellent, detailed and consistent; she does an amazing job of bringing early, almost primitive, Welsh culture to life, albeit a culture with more magical tendencies than our own. From a village tavern to the women's hall in a lord's dun, to riding patrol through a forest, it feels earthy and real. The magical system is a kind of sophisticated spiritualism that is vital to development of the ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Epic fantasy readers
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) by: Carol
Daggerspell is an epic fantasy novel built on the idea of reincarnation. If we have failed to fulfill our destiny in one life, we are compelled to return to this life in another form to do that. As I read this novel, I was confronted with my feelings about that inalienable destiny. There are some people that you have in your life that seem only to bring pain and hardship, and the comfort is that when you leave this life, you leave that pain they cause you behind. In this novel, that is not the c ...more
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a decent book- not spectacular, overwhelming or underwhelming. It was a good read that kept me fairly entertained. It was technically a reread, but since I recalled virtually nothing from my previous reading, it read like a first read. It is typical of the fantasy genre with the exception of the way the author uses reincarnation to weave the storyline through the lifetimes of the characters.
There is one character that is able to follow the others through various incarnations and track
Oct 20, 2009 rated it did not like it
So I'm maybe 100 pages into this book and I don't know... My first mistake was reading this after Robin Hobb a woman who can really suck me in. I understand her characters and what they think and feel and most importantly why they make the choices they do.

I don't understand any of the choices these characters make. The book reads like its some weird out of body experience. I feel like a shadow or ghost reading about these characters. I get a vague sense of their emotions sometimes but mostly it
Blodeuedd Finland
I loved this series long ago, though I never did finish it cos the library never did get them all. I jumped at the chance to review the audiobook to get back into this world. I did not remember everything (srsly it was years ago, I read them in Swedish so I had to be like 11-13.) I loved Rhodri and I wanted him and Jill to be together foreeeever. That is all I know.

In the present we have Nevyn, an 400 year old "mage" who travels the land trying to right a wrong. This time (being older and all),
Barry Mulvany
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That was a surprisingly good book. It's set in a Celtic/Gallic kind of alternate world in a fairly primitive society. Nobles and lords might only a have a few men at arms and a large battle involves only a few hundred people. It is quite cool to see these small scale battles rather than ones involving thousands of people. We have around five or six main POV characters, from nobles to mercenaries to healers.
What is really interesting is that in this world people have a 'Wyrd', a kind of fate tha
Aria  Tatiana
The Deverry saga is a long fantasy saga, but the great thing is that the it is organized in cycles, the first one being the first 4 books ("The Deverry cycle"). And at the end of a cycle, you get a real ending.
So if you hesitate to buy this book, thinking that you'll have to wait too long to know the end, don't. You'll have a real ending at the end of book 4.

The story is set in an alternative 11th century, Kerr imagining a celtic culture having survived and evolved into the Middle Ages thanks to
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
* This was my Care of Magical Creatures read for the OWLs Readathon as it has a land animal on the cover *

I picked this book up really hoping for a classic fantasy that defied some of the classic fantasy tropes I have seen so many times. It's written by a female author, and therefore I hoped to see more ladies at the forefront and doing something different, but actually we only really have one lady who's different from the rest and she is called Jill.

In this story we follow quite a few characte
Benjamin Thomas
This is actually a re-read for me. I had read the first two books in this series way back, probably over 25 years ago. At that time I was a neophyte when it comes to reading fantasy fiction and I don't remember liking either book very well. They were more complicated than the easier-to-read Dragonlance-style stuff I was into at that time and I think I had built up a sort of negative attitude towards them. But over the years, through one form or another, I have accumulated the entire series with ...more
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I enjoy about this is the vocab. It's just so Welsh, reminds me of home.

Characters have been set up, action started and appetites whetted. Initially, the time changes were confusing but you quickly get to grips with this. Part two to follow.
Stef Rozitis
Aspects of the world-building were cool (like the names and stuff), but apart from that there was little I could like about this book. Anyone who considers reading it might want a "trigger warning" that is glamorises abuse, rapey behaviours and portrays incest.

Over 500 pages is a big commitment to ask from a reader, and I would have liked the writing to be tighter and more to the point. There were several places where a word was used that seemed anachronistic to the time and type of culture bein
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this with a reading group and so have done a fair amount of pondering and typing about it already, so this review will be shorter than my usual.

The main thing I can say about it that I haven't elsewhere, is that Ms. Kerr's reach and her grasp are near perfectly matched. How often do you think "I can see what he/she was trying to do, but..."? I did not have that thought at any point reading this novel. I was especially impressed with how lean the writing is. Not in the sense of being spars
Aug 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, fantasy
40% DNF

What a slog. I don't care about any of the characters, I find the main premise of the entire story to be so flawed I just can't move past it (view spoiler). Anyway...I just didn't
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen

Another epic fantasy series that I can get into!!

Wonderful world building and I love how it flips back and forth....and the premise of the book??

So freakin' unique and out of the box!

I have been having such a hard time trying to find a decent epic/high fantasy that isn't one dimensional and with a female protagonist. I honestly think I read them all until I came across this series!
Feb 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the first book in Katharine Kerr's long-running series about Deverry and the Westlands. It introduces the three linked characters of Jill, Rhodry and Nevyn. This book - and indeed the series - is set up in such a way that it will jump from future to past and back again. It can make for complicated reading and an issue with pacing, but it genuinely brings the events to life.

The idea is that in the year 643 Galrion (who is to become Nevyn) makes a series of decisions that causes his lady l
May 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, magic, wizards
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve loved this book for over 30 years; I still do, although I appreciate (and look askance) at different things these days. But it’s a soaring saga well told, and I’m delighting in revisiting it.

An epic fantasy with a distinctly Celtic flavour and a unique narrative voice, it’s set in a richly-imagined alternate world, complete with Elves, Dwarves, magic (or dweomer) and fuck off swords. It explores ideas of choice, consequences and redemption over multiple lifetimes, introducing twists and tan
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this many years ago. While I didn’t love it as much as I did when I was in my twenties it was still an excellent read. I particularly loved the way the characters development carried on from one life to the next.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This book came highly recommended, so I’m sorry to say that despite its strengths, it has not inspired me to seek out the 15 sequels.

For a fantasy novel first written in the 80s, this has aged reasonably well, though not so well as another recent find of mine, the wonderful The Ladies of Mandrigyn. Daggerspell is listed as epic fantasy, though there’s no more than a hint of an Enemy--as opposed to a mere antagonist--in this volume. While Kerr incorporates some old-fashioned elements (I can’t rem
May 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sf
An interesting start to an epic fantasy series. The setting is a very well realised Celtic/Gaulish world. It follows a set of characters over centuries through their various rebirths and one character who lives through the whole period. Its pacing is not in a linear time.
I felt that Except for Nevyn and Brangwen/Jill the other characters haven’t been very well realised. Especially Rhodry who seems to be some kind of prophesised saviour comes off as very annoying and childish. Nevyn and Brangwen’
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-in-series
You ever read an older book, one that's been around for decades (30ish in this case) and say "If only I'd found you sooner".

DAGGERSPELL is that book for me. I vaguely remember always seeing these books on the shelves at the used book stores I frequented, but it never occurred to me to pick it up. Having read this first one I wonder at why that was. This is basically every single trope I thirsted for as a tween/teen desperately seeking fantasy.

Jill, a young girl who's destined for great things an
Ruth Macleod
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favourites
Book 1 of 15 in total, the first in a long series it has a lot to live up to and a lot to accomplish, however it did just that. Daggerspell is probably one of my favourite books in this series as well as a favourite in general. Set in a sort of celtic time the world Katherine Kerr has created is both detailed and thoroughly real, you can immerse yourself in the culture seamlessly and the way she describes things such as the magic and peoples past lives is wonderfully detailed but still understan ...more
I'm Booked
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pure-fantasy
I really enjoyed this book! After reading epic fantasy series by Goodkind, Jordan and Martin I was burnt out by the genre; It seemed like every new book that I tried paled in comparison to the GOT series. Luckily, a fellow lover of fantasy recommended that I check out this series and I'm very glad that I did! I enjoyed it so much that I felt that I had to pay it forward, in the hopes that someone else might read these words and decide to pick up one of the best fantasy novels that I've read in Y ...more
Sarah Mac
Eh. It's alright. The Deverry universe is essentially Celtic reincarnation role-play fantasy, complete with elves & gnomes, though it also borrows heavily from standard Tolkien tropes. Some parts were good, other parts tedious as hell. The magic & the cheesy elvish stuff was fine (& frankly, I'm surprised how many people are put off by the bad-karma incest -- y'all so squeamish, it's more like Shakespeare than George RR Martin >:P). But the MCs were flat, the pacing was awful, & the lack of chap ...more
Shari  Mulluane
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Once you get used to the storytelling style, you will discover a tale that keeps you fully engaged in the unfolding events. Boring is not a word I could imagine using in conjunction with this book. It twists, it turns, it has action pouring off the pages and there is constant underlying question, will Nevyn ever find a way to make things right? Meanwhile you have plenty of entertaining characters, desperate wars, evil sorcerers, human tragedies and heart wrenching love stories, all designed to k ...more
Sep 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I just finished rereading this about nine years after the first time. I really liked it the first time I read it, but I'm having a hard time figuring out why. I didn't like it as much this time.

I was reading it on my Kindle before bed, so maybe I was tired and it was hard to focus. Whatever the case, there were a lot of boring bits. I'll continue on in the reread, and hope the books aren't all worse than I remember.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For 2020 starting a new readalong of the Deverry cycle and revisiting this book it’s amazingly innovative, fast paced and has some lovely character development. Well worth a look

Full review -
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
So happy I picked up this series again. It definitely has aged better than some of the other old fantasies I remember reading a long time ago.
Sotiris Karaiskos
As I have said, I always like to go back to the past of fantasy literature that I greatly appreciate to learn about the roots of all these more modern things that I am very much involved with. So I got to the beginning of this very long series and it looks like I'm going to go a long way in it. Following the traditional recipe and adding her own stuff, the author takes us into a fantasy world that has many similarities to Celtic culture, at least as we imagine it. There we come across a story th ...more
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Born in Ohio, 1944. Moved to San Francisco Bay Area in 1962 and has lived there ever since. Katharine Kerr has read extensively in the fields of classical archeology, and medieval and dark ages history and literature, and these influences are clear in her work. Her epic Deverry series has won widespread praise and millions of fans around the world.

Other books in the series

Deverry (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Darkspell (Deverry, #2)
  • The Bristling Wood (Deverry, #3)
  • The Dragon Revenant (Deverry, #4)
  • A Time of Exile (The Westlands, #1)
  • A Time of Omens (The Westlands, #2)
  • Days of Blood and Fire (The Westlands, #3)
  • Days of Air and Darkness (The Westlands, #4)
  • The Red Wyvern (The Dragon Mage, #1)
  • The Black Raven (The Dragon Mage, #2)
  • The Fire Dragon (Deverry, #11; Dragon Mage, #3)

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