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Camber of Culdi (Her the Legends of Camber of Culdi ; V. 1) Hardcover – Jun 1979

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (P); 1st, First Edition, First Printing edition (Jun. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345280318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345280312
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,150,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Blackhorse47 on 12 Dec. 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Two hundreds years before King Kelson, the Festillic kings ruled. Corrupt and twisted, they've controlled Gwynedd for a century after massacring the rightful Haldane dynasty. But the massacre was incomplete and the grandson of a Haldane lives. He's a monk and unsuited to either a warrior or a regal life and so the cleric Camber must convince him to choose a different path for the sake of the land.

The feeling of a genuine period of early medieval history being detailed that is to be found in most of Kurtz's writing is displayed well here. You may know the conclusion to the story from the volumes that are set later on in the timeline, but despite that there's still new avenues and surprises. I'm guessing that Camber is the author's favourite, as she gives him more importance and influence than any other character in the saga. So, by knowing what will happen to him, his role as the lead in a trilogy seems at first to be odd, but the solution is elegant.

Although the charismatic Camber leads, the unsuitable Haldane heir also shines. He is both restricted by and ruined by his responsibilities. He wants to devote time to the ecclesiastical life to which he is more suited, but he must do what is necessary, whatever the pain he will suffer. Aside from the characters, it is the sense of history that most empowers this series, as the changes set in motion by Camber are corrupted by people who are less worthy. For me this is the strongest of the trilogies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Nov. 2000
Format: Hardcover
After a fairly typical fantasy beginning Katherine Kurtz develops this into a gripping and enjoyable read primarily through the strength of her characterisation. Despite the title, no one character is exclusively developed at the expense of the others; rather we see a range of personalities (though the baddies are a bit more 2-dimensional than our heroes). The physical detail of the author's description is also one of the great pleasures of this book. The construction of her pseudo-Mediaeval world is perhaps not hugely original in concept but is nonetheless well-realised, and will be further so in subsequent books. Definitely a feel-good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Jan. 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A wonderful blend of medieval knighthood and gallantry, with magic. The earliest book of the Deryni series, giving the tale of the downfall of the Furstan rulers and reinstatement of the Haldane lines which runs through all the later books by Katherine Kurtz.
Highly enjoyable, but perhaps not as a first book, read the Kelson series first (Deryni Rising,etc).
More please.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
What an Interesting Thought Out Work of Fantasy 26 Jan. 2001
By Jason Gonella - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While most people start with "Deryni Rising", this book is what brought me into the Deryni epic, about the legendary Saint Camber, appearing as a regular man. Or as close to that as a Deryni can get, actually.
This book has action, adventure, suspense, political intrigue, and sacrifice, the last often lacking in pulp fantasy. The system of magic is based on the Ceremonial Magic of Europe, and should also be familiar to the reader.
Gwyned is clearly a anglo/celtic/welsh country, a setting close to home to almost anyone who speaks English, so you are able to step right into the mindset of the characters. That makes it an easy read on it's own.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
review on the deryni world...... 23 Jun. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Katherine kurtz has always been my favourite athor. Her combination of the medieval world and her deryni characters is really weel detailed and researched. There is lots of character developement and conflict. Her ideas are original and full of ingenuity. Anyone who lies History and magic will love her books!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Camber is real enough to sit beside me while I write this... 15 Mar. 2006
By Adelina Cavanagh - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Or so it seems. I've been a fan of Katherine Kurtz' work for quite some time. I read this book first, since it was chronological in her canon, but it was not her first book of the Deryni series. The feeling of mystery and mysticism are very strong in all Kurtz' works, but I find her Camber series books to be the most intriguing. The characters of Camber and his family are so beautifully and intricately described that you can almost feel their presence in the room with you as you're reading. The plot and all its convoluted intrigues are finely wrought and believable, as long as you suspend belief, of course, in the ordinary course of things. Kurtz' world, so much like ours of the medieval period, fools you for a moment into thinking it's just a Dark Ages religious story. Then the magic is woven, subtly, lovingly, into the story. The religious aspects are very detailed and clearly are based on Catholic theology, but diverge when the magic enters. But the magic only heightens the solemnity of the faith, not detracts from it. Some people have criticized Kurtz and others like her for toying with the Catholic faith, but I see she means no disrespect, but instead, reveres the faith. Most of all, her Deryni stories are moral tales denouncing religious and ethnic persecution. This is really the essence of her work. Read them for the power of faith over prejudice.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A conflict of loyality verus justice. 8 Mar. 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Camber of Culdi is a story about a plot to overthrow the tyrannic King Imre of Festil, and replace him with the last survivor of the Haldane line, who happens to be a middle aged monk. Eighty years before, it was the Festils who overthrew the last Haldane king. More importantly, this book introduces us to Camber, the man behind the legend; an aging, wise, and moderate person, whose family has served the Festils loyally for generations, and only joins the plot, after his son is murdered by Imre. This book combines a conflict of loyality verus justices, with reason against radicalism. It is well written and its plotline is quite believeable. It is a great book for pure escapism. Read it and enjoy
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Classic historical fantasy book that almost hides its age. 8 April 2005
By frumiousb - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a re-read for me. I had been a fan of the Deryni books many years ago and had read most of the series. When I saw Camber of Culdi on the shelf, I picked it up out of curiosity to see if it would inspire me to circle back around and pick up the books that I hadn't yet read.

I am pleased to report that this first book in the series holds up well under time. Kurtz is a master at creating a sense of foreboding. Unlike many writers in the fantasy genre, you always have the feeling in her world that you might not be getting a happy ending. This is a rare talent, and gives her work its own kind of attractive tension.

For the modern reader the largest drawback of Camber of Culdi is its length. The books were released at a time when the average book length was significantly shorter than now, and the result was often multi-book series. The titles in these series often have the feeling of being either a little bit overstuffed or a little bit thin. I really enjoyed Camber of Culdi. However, as a modern reader used to being served my fantasy in larger chunks, I felt frustrated that it was forced very quickly to a kind of resolution. Had Kurtz been working in a longer form, I think we would have seen some much more interesting development of the political and religious threads which are among the major strength of the book.

If you have not read any of the Deryni books, be sure to begin here. The necessary background is laid for the rest of the series and you will miss it if you do not have it. This book should appeal to fans of historical fantasy or people interested in the link between religion and magic. Although adult situations are implied, it should be both suitable and enjoyable for teenagers.
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