Katherine Kurtz fans have been waiting six years for another Deryni novel, and nearly fifteen for a Kelson-era one. Perhaps the anticipation got too great - this is a novel that all Deryni fans will be pleased to have read but, despite being a good novel, it may leave them mildly disappointed.
For those who have not read any of the previous Deryni novels, the Deryni are a race with magical powers living in a world similar to medieval Britain. There is a history of bad relations between Deryni and humans, and for the two centuries before Kelson's time, Deryni have been a persecuted minority in Kelson's kingdom of Gwynedd. But Kelson is half-Deryni himself.
But in this novel, unlike all previous ones, there is next to no human-Deryni conflict. To all appearance, Gwynedd has accepted the gradual reemergence of Deryni. The conflict in the story arises from Kelson's visit to the former enemy (and Deryni-ruled) kingdom of Torenth - with influential Torenthis still determined to destroy both him and Lajos, the present king of Torenth. And even that conflict is less important to the novel than almost any previous ones in the series.
In fact, the main conflicts of the novel are internal personal ones - including Kelson's reluctance to seek a third potential bride after two failures in previous novels, his mother Jehana's continued distrust of Deryni powers (including her own). By the end of the novel, Kelson is married and the reader is convinced that the marriage will indeed be a happy one - but this particular storyline could have done with some extra development.
Still, the book generally reads well and answers a number of questions that Deryni fans have been asking for years. Newcomers to the series may find the many references to previous novels somewhat confusing - but the best answer to that is the rewarding task of reading the previous novels.