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Camber the Heretic

(The Legends of Camber of Culdi #3)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  5,557 ratings  ·  45 reviews
King Cinhil, who had assured peace between the Deryni and humans in Gwynedd, was dying. And the regents who were set to rule in the place of his sickly son were evil men who could very well undo all that Cinhil had accomplished. Once they ruled, no Deryni would be safe. The only hope lay in a discovery that blocked off all Deryni talents, enabling them to go underground an ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 506 pages
Published November 1981 by Del Rey/Ballantine (first published January 1st 1981)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  5,557 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Gary Sundell
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
917 is a bad year to be Deryni. An underage prince assumes the throne. The regents with one exception are anti-Deryni. While there are hopeful moments in this book. It is grim and violent at times. The Deryni series remain one of my favorite fantasy series of all time.
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Well. Remember how I said there were no real villains in Saint Camber? That's because they've all decamped to here ...

The story picks up about a dozen years after Camber's canonization. Camber himself (very much alive and unsaintly) is still continuing in the role he took on midway through the previous book, and has established the Camberian Council to try to work from the shadows to mitigate tensions between the humans (some of whom still remember Deryni oppression and/or look enviously at
Mar 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I had read the Chronicles of the Deryni before I read any of the Legends of Saint Camber. When I finally did read the Camber books, this was the first one I read, and talk about being completely lost!!!!!!
BESURE to read Camber of Culdi, and Saint Camber first or you will have no clue what is going on in this book.

That being said, the Camber books are some of her best work. By the time you get into this book, the back lash against the deryni is growing, and it is so hard to read
Nov 01, 2016 marked it as dnf
Again, reading with Judith Tarr on

I've been getting around and getting around and getting around to going back to this one. But I was talking with a friend at Christmas who pointed out that there's no point in immersing myself in grimness if I don't feel up to it. The world is grim enough at it is.

I decided she was right. I've read this before. I know what happens next and it all pretty much sucks. I also don't know that I need to read about greedy, power hungry, rac
I've read the books in the trilogy several times. It is a series I encountered in my teens. I will admit to enjoying the entire Deryni canon, however I have a particular fondness for the earlier pre-Kelson eras. This book never seems to fail in regards to depth, or as I've found, complexity. To find the writing fresh, relevant, and still entertaining after decades is the mark of good writing.
While this book is not a light-hearted read, or deals with topics that are entirely cheery it does refle
Dec 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Minor spoilers, although if you've read the first two, it's not really blowing much.
Anyway, so this book takes it's time (a lot of time) with no real action and a lot of talking and walking around and describing. Whenever there's a Mass, I actually feel like I'm at Mass in real time. And then suddenly this dude gets his hand chopped off and another dude gets a sword in his eye and there's genocide, genocide everywhere!
Some reviews complain that the original Deryni series that these a
Oct 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
So it has come to my attention that sometimes I have to be slapped in the face to notice the obvious.
LONG before I ever read the X Men, I found through these novels that things such as racism and bigotry can be masked in literature to teach us white males that just because it doesn't happen to you doesn't mean its not happening.
I wont go through reviews on all of these novels -- much like Robert Jordan, its about the first six-eight that are incredible, and then the quality tails off noti
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
King Cinhil, the former monk, and also the only heir to the throne of Gwynedd, has finally come into his own with three young sons. Upon Cinhil's death however, the long feared chain of events caused by the fear of the Deryni race is set into motion. Cinhil has been protected thus far by Camber, and his family, but a small group of well-connected humans, who will now be regents to the future king of Gwynedd, will do anything to seize power and destroy the Deryni the fear so much. Can Camber and ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful ending to the Camber of Culdi series. I am glad that I started here, as getting the background history on the Deryni situation has really changed my view as I started the Chronicles of the Deryni series that I started.

I didn't realize how attached to the characters I was until a few of the main ones died off, and I felt totally depressed and bereft about it. I guess I didn't finish on hating Camber as much as I did at the start. I like that Katherine's characters are magi
Paul Calhoun
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A satisfying - if sometimes remarkably bloody - end to Camber's kingmaking days. I read this series first, and haven't gotten to the others in the series yet, but given the ending, I presume he isn't done just yet. I have to say that the Catholicism was a welcome and fascinatingly integrated part of the series so far, and the best treatment of it I've ever read. A lot of authors will introduce a sort of Catholic-lite religion to their setting, with the flavor of monks or priests. Kurtz goes all ...more
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to adore this series. It doesn't hold up for me 40 years later. Camber has made a messy, messy situation for himself over the last few books -- living under a secret identity, creating a king that didn't want to be king, not addressing the resentment that had been building for decades against his magic-using ethnic group -- and this is the chapter where all that crashes down on him. Reading this as an adult, it seems very fair, that ruining of so many of his plans....
Kurt Springs
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review was first published on Kurt's Frontier.

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 Camb
Rui Mateus
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, fantasy, own
Family trees are the worst, especially if they have the date of death. That made it particularly hard to endure, waiting for the death of certain characters. But this was an amazing close to The Legends of Camber of Culdi. I hope the next books are not so grim
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, kobo
SO MUCH BETTER THAN SAINT CAMBER. Also so dark and depressing and about fighting for rights in a time with treacherous "leaders" who plunder the land. Soooo, um, there it is.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great story, but I'm much more sympathetic to the human characters than I was when I first read it.
Paca Sad
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I struggled through this series and whilst I found this the best of the three it was still very slowly aced and over descriptive
Kurt Springs
Review to follow.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I started reading the Deryni series quite a while ago. As I re-read this trilogy I wonder why I ever stopped. I look forward to reading all the books in chronological order.
Mandy Galileo
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great finish to the trilogy. Leaves hope in the middle of darkness.
Jeff J.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Third book (chronologically) is the Deryni series. A heavy body count sets the stage for the next generation of leaders. Love this series!
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017-rev, reviewed
2 stars, Metaphorosis reviews

Cinhil, the long established Haldane king, is finally failing. And with his declining health comes the rise of cynical human lords anxious to quell the Deryni minority for good. Cinhil's flawed children are little protection, and soon Camber and his intimates are struggling to save what few Deryni they can - through any means at all.

It irked me more in this book just how convenient the magic often is, and how poorly described. All we really know is that
===== Rather lackluster but essential reading for Deryni loyalists =====

This book is too long. Its lengthy descriptions of magic rituals, official ceremonies and experiments in “blocking Deryni powers” in members of the Deryni race, are likely to detract from most reader’s enjoyment. There are two other negative aspects to the book: 1. The detailed descriptions of the cruelty and gruesomeness of “human” attacks, warfare and persecution, the obliteration of Deryni individuals and orga
Douglas Milewski
Jun 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Reading Camber the Heretic (1981) by Katherine Kurtz, you know what you're getting. We have our same old cast of characters dealing powerlessly and ineffectively with the anti-Deryni backlash that was predicted in book 1. This ain't no feel-good fantasy.

Objectively, the primary characters have done a terrible job preparing over two books. Once the king dies, the nutcases get all the power and start running with it, pushing the genocide button with glee. Other than that, we get a one sided S
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: dad, fantasy
To be fair, the first two thirds of this book I'd give only two stars, while the final third I'd give four stars. So I split the difference and gave it three.

My biggest problem is this: the majority of this, the last in the Legends of Camber of Culdi series, is pretty slow going. It is just setting up the problem, and it takes forever. Once things finally start happening, the book is over. As is the trilogy. And the next trilogy picks up two hundred years later... which bugs me, because now I'm
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I often follow history and sometimes current events through the filter of novels that I've read, and I decided to re-read this because of a scene that popped into my head during the news coverage of Pope Benedict's resignation and the descriptions of how the new pope will be chosen. (view spoiler)

This book has a very powerful narrative, which makes me immediately want to re-read the next book (by internal chr
Aug 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, library
This one was rather grim with all of the persecutions and preparations for avoiding them.

I had a couple of issues with the narrative - once again, the blithe takeover of another human's mind and body doesn't seem to phase anyone, sure, they have qualms but they all just agree to it in the end. Also, I find that while the Deryni were admirably clever in preparing for their sad future in hiding; they overlooked a great deal in the here and now which might have done more for them in the
Penelope Green
Dec 18, 2016 rated it liked it
This trilogy just did not hold up on the re-read. Now not only were the protagonists all incredibly arrogant, they were all obsessed with secrecy for reasons that are never clear (or consistent) and frequently the actions taken were dumb and without good reason. It is never explained why certain decisions were made beyond a "required for the plot" and it kept throwing me out of the story.

Plus, if you're feeling victimised because people keep accusing you of running a conspiracy to cl
Nov 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Another popular author whose popularity escapes me. I liked elements of the Camber of Culdi series I found in this book but it didn't hook me.

It was only many years later, reading the essay "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie" in Ursula Le Guin's The Language of the Night that I think I got a handle on what subconsciously bothered me at the time I read it. Le Guin's essay discusses what makes fantasy "fantasy" and takes a passage from Kurtz's Deryni Rising to show what is most definitely not.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Similar to the other books in the trilogy, the story is intriguing enough to keep you going, but there's not many characters to sympathize with. Added to that, it doesn't really wrap up the trilogy well and leaves a kind of cliffhanger ending even though it is the last book in the trilogy. I'm still a bit torn as to how I feel about this book and about the entire trilogy as a whole.
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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)
  • Camber of Culdi (The Legends of Camber of Culdi, #1)
  • Saint Camber (The Legends of Camber of Culdi, #2)