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King Kelson's Bride    by Katherine Kurtz order for
King Kelson's Bride
by Katherine Kurtz
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2001 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

King Kelson's Bride continues a long running saga of the Deryni Chronicles that started with Deryni Rising, in which Kelson took the throne of Gwynedd on the death of his father. In this medieval land, the Deryni are a distrusted minority who have strong magical abilities. High ranking, conservative Church clerics were allied with members of the nobility against the return of Deryni to power, and Kelson has had to hide his own growing talents, aside from those that are accepted as part of his Haldane heritage.

Previous volumes chronicled Kelson's struggles, aided by the Deryni Duke Alaric Morgan and others, to come into his full power as a king and a Haldane. As this book starts, he has a secure hold on his own realm and is intent on settling his squire, the hostage king Liam-Lajos into his rule in rival Torenth - this in spite of the young man's murderous uncles. In addition, weddings are in the air and the pressure is on for Kelson to announce his own choice. He has been unlucky so far, with one of his betrothed murdered on their wedding day and another married to a traitor. For the good of the realm, Rothana now refuses to wed Kelson, who is heartbroken.

This story is an easier read than many in the series, which have not stinted on tragedy. It places Gwynedd in the center of a much wider world than readers were exposed to in the early novels. Along with the usual convoluted politics and treachery, the author shows us much more of Torenth and its magic, though this tale is lighter on ritual than her norm. The bad guys are defeated fairly easily, injuries are healed, and the author gives us gentle romance and weddings, with hints of more to come. Fans of the series will appreciate this happy ending to Kelson's struggles; those new to it should start at the beginning of this thrilling epic.

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