Camber the Heretic (Legends of Camber Series #3)

Camber the Heretic (Legends of Camber Series #3)

by Katherine Kurtz

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504031202
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 03/08/2016
Series: Deryni Series , #3
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 495
Sales rank: 300,269
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Katherine Kurtz was born in Coral Gables, Florida, during a hurricane. She received a four-year science scholarship to the University of Miami and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. Medical school followed, but after a year she decided she would rather write about medicine than practice it. A vivid dream inspired Kurtz’s Deryni novels, and she sold the first three books in the series on her first submission attempt. She soon defined and established her own sub-genre of “historical fantasy” set in close parallels to our own medieval period featuring “magic” that much resembles extrasensory perception.
 
While working on the Deryni series, Kurtz further utilized her historical training to develop another sub-genre she calls “crypto-history,” in which the “history behind the history” intertwines with the “official” histories of such diverse periods as the Battle of Britain (Lammas Night), the American War for Independence (Two Crowns for America), contemporary Scotland (The Adept Series, with coauthor Deborah Turner Harris), and the Knights Templar (also with Harris).
 
In 1983, Kurtz married the dashing Scott MacMillan; they have a son, Cameron. Until 2007, they made their home in Ireland, in Holybrooke Hall, a mildly haunted gothic revival house, They have recently returned to the United States and taken up residence in a historic house in Virginia, with their five Irish cats and one silly dog. (The ghosts of Holybrooke appear to have remained behind.)
Katherine Kurtz was born in Coral Gables, Florida, during a hurricane. She received a four-year science scholarship to the University of Miami and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. Medical school followed, but after a year she decided she would rather write about medicine than practice it. A vivid dream inspired Kurtz’s Deryni novels, and she sold the first three books in the series on her first submission attempt. She soon defined and established her own sub-genre of “historical fantasy” set in close parallels to our own medieval period featuring “magic” that much resembles extrasensory perception.

While working on the Deryni series, Kurtz further utilized her historical training to develop another sub-genre she calls “crypto-history,” in which the “history behind the history” intertwines with the “official” histories of such diverse periods as the Battle of Britain (Lammas Night), the American War for Independence (Two Crowns for America), contemporary Scotland (The Adept Series, with coauthor Deborah Turner Harris), and the Knights Templar (also with Harris).

In 1983, Kurtz married the dashing Scott MacMillan; they have a son, Cameron. Until 2007, they made their home in Ireland, in Holybrooke Hall, a mildly haunted gothic revival house, They have recently returned to the United States and taken up residence in a historic house in Virginia, with their five Irish cats and one silly dog. (The ghosts of Holybrooke appear to have remained behind.)

Read an Excerpt

Camber the Heretic

The Legends of Camber of Culdi, Volume Three


By Katherine Kurtz

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1981 Katherine Kurtz
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-3120-2



CHAPTER 1

For of the Most High cometh healing, and he shall receive honour of the king.

— Ecclesiasticus 38:2


Rhys Thuryn, perhaps the most highly respected Healer in all the Eleven Kingdoms, paced back and forth in the Earl of Ebor's sleeping chamber and tried to decide what to do next. On the bed beside him, the earl tossed and writhed in unrelieved agony, perspiration drenching his high forehead and dampening the reddish-blond hair and beard, even though the room was chill on this last day of January, in the year 917.

Cinhil himself had sent Rhys to Ebor. When word of the earl's accident reached the king, he had nearly worked himself into a coughing fit in his anxiety, barely able to gasp out the words when Rhys appeared in answer to his summons. Nothing would appease him but that Rhys go to Ebor at once. No other Healer would do. What if the earl were dying?

Despite Cinhil's agitation — and perhaps a little because of it, though another part of him was chilled at the news — Rhys had demurred at first. Even though the king was somewhat improved now that Camber had returned from Grecotha, Rhys still did not like the idea of being several hours away when Cinhil might need him. The king was not going to get well this time. At best, Rhys might be able to ease his discomfort in these last days or weeks. The sickness in Cinhil's lungs was beyond the ability of Rhys or any other Healer to cure. Neither he nor Cinhil harbored any illusions about the eventual outcome of his illness.

But neither did the king harbor any hesitation about the urgency of assistance for his injured earl. Gregory of Ebor, though a full Deryni adept of remarkable ability, had nonetheless won Cinhil's great respect and friendship in this past decade on the throne; he had been appointed Warden of the Western Marches only two years before. Rhys would go — and go, he did.

But now that Rhys was here with Gregory, he had to admit that he was uncertain how to proceed. He knew Gregory very well, as Gregory knew him. For the past five years, Gregory had been a member of the powerful and very secret alliance of Deryni known as the Camberian Council, so-called at the insistence of Archbishop Jaffray, also a member, who had felt the name appropriate as a reminder of the ideals the group strove to uphold. Rhys and Evaine were members, as were Joram and Jebediah and Camber himself — though Jaffray and Gregory, of course, did not know that last.

Over the eight years of their existence, the Camberian Council had done much to police the ranks of less responsible Deryni and to keep the peace between the races, Deryni and human; and Evaine's continued research, now supposedly in conjunction with Bishop Alister instead of her father, had unearthed a wealth of hitherto lost knowledge of their ancient Deryni forbears. Grecotha, where Camber now made his home, had been and continued to be a mine of magical information. And Gregory, Earl of Ebor, had been a part of much of it.

Now Gregory lay in a delirium from which he seemed unable or unwilling to escape, neither royal patronage nor Camberian affiliation able to help him quell the unbridled energies which ran amok in his body and sometimes in the room. Even his eldest son and heir, a studious young man not unskilled himself in the channeling of Deryni might, had not been able to break the cycle. The floor before the fireplace was still littered with shards of smashed crockery and glass which none of the servants were bold enough to clean up — mute testimony to the potential danger of a High Deryni lord apparently gone mad.

Pensive, Rhys paused before one of the earl's expensive colored windows which had thus far escaped destruction and laid both palms flat against the sun-warmed glass, wondering idly how the earl had missed them. He and Evaine, his wife and working companion of nearly thirteen years, had tried on arrival to ease Gregory's pain and ascertain the extent of his injuries. The two of them were strong enough psychically that the earl could not breach their shields and do them serious threat in his incoherent condition.

But their patient had thrashed about so violently when touched that they dared not maintain the contact for a proper reading, lest he blindly begin flinging objects once more in his delirium. Nor was his thrashing doing his physical injuries any good.

The injuries to his body were easy enough to assess. A dislocated shoulder he surely had, by the angle of the arm inside the loose blue tunic; and most likely a fractured collarbone, as well, though Rhys could not be certain of that until his patient permitted a more thorough examination.

That left some other explanation to account for Gregory's irrational behavior — perhaps a severe head injury, though neither his son nor his steward could remember him hitting his head at the time of the accident. Still, a Deryni of Gregory's proven ability simply did not lose control for no good reason.

Rhys's amber eyes narrowed as he let them focus through the red and blue glass. With a resigned sigh, he ran one hand through unruly red hair and moved back toward the fireplace and his wife. Evaine sat huddled in her fur-lined travelling cloak, quietly watching her husband and the man they had come to heal.

"What are we going to do?" she asked, as he crouched beside his medical satchel and began rummaging inside.

Rhys shook his head and sighed again. "We're going to have to sedate him, first of all. We may even have to knock down his shields. I don't really want to do either one. He could have been a big help. We can't have him destroying the place while I try to work on him, though."

He extracted a green-sealed packet of folded parchment and read the fine script on the back, then closed the satchel and stood.

"We'll try this first," he said, carefully breaking the wax seal. "I wonder if that horse could have kicked him in the head? Pour me a small cup of wine to mix this with, please. The sooner we get it in him, the better."

With a nod, Evaine MacRorie Thuryn, only daughter of the sainted Camber of Culdi, rose gracefully and went to a low table nearer the fire, laying aside her cloak as she knelt. Though she was now thirty-five and the mother of three, her face and form were still those of a very young woman. The wool and leather of her riding dress clung to every gentle curve, the dove-grey setting off the fine blue eyes as no other color could. Her hair, shining like burnished gold in the firelight, had been twisted into a neat coil at the nape of her neck to keep it tidy for riding, but a strand near her face kept escaping from behind one delicate ear and added to her youthful image.

Carefully she poured half a cup of wine from a flagon on the table, holding it out thoughtfully to receive Rhys's powder. As always, when they were together, they were in a light rapport.

"You're right, I suppose," she said, swirling the contents of the cup and watching the drug dissolve. "He's certainly making things worse by his thrashing. And if he starts throwing things around again — well, I don't know how much more this room can take."

Rhys sniffed the cup delicately, then gave her a wry smile.

"Have you no confidence in my potions, my love?" he chuckled. "I guarantee this will take the edge off."

"You have to get it into him first," Evaine countered. "Just how do you propose to do that?"

"Ah, there lies the Healer's secret!" He stripped off his Healer's mantle and tossed it in a heap on top of hers, then crossed to the door and flung it wide.

"Jesse, would you come in here, please, and bring a couple of your servants with you? I'm going to have to give him a sleeping draught before he'll let me touch him. Don't worry, I won't let him do anything dangerous."

Cautiously, a husky, olive-skinned youth peered around the doorjamb and then eased his way into the room, followed by three blue-and-white-liveried servants. Jesse, who had sent to Valoret for Rhys, was a quiet but intense young man whose concern — and healthy respect — for his sire's abilities was evident in every line of his bearing. Neither he nor his men made any effort to move closer to the great bed where the earl tossed and fretted, though they did glance surreptitiously in that direction.

Rhys took Jesse's arm and urged him and his men toward the bed with reassuring words.

"Now, this isn't going to be as difficult as it may seem," he said easily. "He's going to be all right, and so are you. Nobody is going to get hurt. Now, you men — I want you to pin his legs and his uninjured arm when I give the word. Sit on them, if you have to, but keep him still. My potion isn't going to do him any good if it isn't in him. Jesse, I need you to help me hold his head. If you can keep him from thrashing around, I'll worry about getting his mouth open so that Evaine can pour the stuff down. Do you all think you can manage that?"

Jesse looked dubious and a little scared. "You're sure he won't start throwing things around again? I mean, I don't suppose he would hurt me, but what about the servants?"

"You let me and Evaine worry about that," Rhys said, gesturing for the men to move closer. "Is everyone ready now?"

Reluctant but obedient, the men eased in gingerly around the bed and made assignments among themselves, watching as Rhys and Evaine took positions near the head and Evaine readied the cup. A moment they paused, one man surreptitiously crossing himself before the expected struggle. Then, at Rhys's signal, all of them pounced.

Pandemonium ensued. Gregory arched his body upward in reflex, almost throwing off even that array of physical force, and the bed began trembling from more than his movement. Rhys heard something smash against the floor behind him as he forced the earl's jaws apart, but he ignored that as he tried, at the same time, to apply pressure for temporary unconsciousness. Gregory let out a terrified animal gurgle as Evaine began pouring the drugged wine down his throat, but Rhys's skillful touch evoked a swallowing reflex once, twice, a third time, and then it was done.

Releasing Gregory's head, Rhys signalled the servants to withdraw to the safety of the doorway, then stood back with Evaine and Jesse and tried to dampen the effects of the earl's temporary wrath. A bowl and pitcher of water across the room toppled to the floor with a crash that made them all jump. Then a pair of swords over the mantel came careening through the air to clatter against the opposite wall, narrowly missing young Jesse's head.

Finally, the earl's pale eyes began to glaze, his head to cease its fitful tossing from side to side, as the drug at last took effect. He moaned several times, obviously still fighting, but it was evident that he was losing the battle. As the earl at last grew quiet, Jesse gave a great sigh of relief and shuddered, hugging his arms across his chest against more than physical chill.

"I told him not to ride that stallion," he whispered fiercely, almost to himself. "The animal is a killer. Valuable stud or not, he should be destroyed!"

"What, exactly, happened, Jesse? Were you there?" Rhys asked, beginning to relax a little. "Do you know whether he was thrown against something, or did he just hit the ground?"

The young man shivered again, closing his eyes as if that might keep him from remembering. "I was there. I wish I hadn't been. The stallion threw him into a fence, hard, and then I think he kicked him, though I can't be sure of that. It all happened so fast."

"But he was unconscious for a time?" Rhys urged.

"Either that or just stunned. The master of the horse said he thought it was just a dislocation and the wind knocked out of him, at first. But by the time they got him up here, he was moving the way you saw and raving with the pain. That was last night. Things started flying around the room shortly after that. Our household Healer is away for a few days, so that's why I sent for you."

"I see," Rhys said. "Well, I'm pretty sure he has a fracture and a dislocation. And given his psychic activities, there's probably more at work than that. Anyway, we'll see what we can do, now that he's manageable. You can wait outside, if you'd rather."

With a nod, Jesse swallowed and slowly backed toward the door, finally turning to flee with the servants. Rhys suppressed a smile with some effort until the door had closed behind them, then laid an arm across Evaine's shoulders.

"Well, love, shall we try it again?" he asked lightly.

Evaine took her place at their patient's head and laid her hands on his temples, Rhys moving in opposite, at the man's left. This time Gregory calmed immediately under her touch, slipping swiftly into an easy, profound sleep which was intensified by the sedative they had given him. A peaceful stillness descended on the room, dispelling the previous agitation of the man beneath her hands, as she centered and held their patient's consciousness for her husband's touch.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Camber the Heretic by Katherine Kurtz. Copyright © 1981 Katherine Kurtz. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

PROLOGUE But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. — I Peter 2:9,
I For of the Most High cometh healing, and he shall receive honour of the king. — Ecclesiasticus 38:2,
II And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. — Daniel 11:21,
III He that loveth his son causeth him oft to feel the rod, that he may have joy of him in the end. — Ecclesiasticus 30:1,
IV Judge none blessed before his death: for a man shall be known in his children. — Ecclesiasticus 11:28,
V For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it may tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come. — Habakkuk 2:3,
VI Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. — I Timothy 4:14,
VII Or ever the silver cord be loosed ... then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. — Ecclesiastes 12:6–7,
VIII Now I say, that the heir, so long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed by his father. — Galatians 4:1–2,
IX Woe unto thee, O land, when thy king is a child. — Ecclesiastes 10:16,
X But at present it is expedient for thee, and for thy house, to be grieved. — III Hermas 7:12,
XI Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? — Isaiah 28:9,
XII Show new signs, and make other strange wonders. — Ecclesiasticus 36:6,
XIII Strangers conspired together against him, and maligned him in the wilderness. — Ecclesiasticus 45:18,
XIV And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand. — Micah 5:12,
XV I will not be ashamed to defend a friend; neither will I hide myself from him. — Ecclesiasticus 22:25,
XVI For the elements were changed in themselves by a kind of harmony. — Wisdom of Solomon 19:18,
XVII A faithful friend is a strong defense: and he that hath found such an one hath found a treasure. — Ecclesiasticus 6:14,
XVIII The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. — Isaiah 40:3,
XIX There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous. — Nahum 3:19,
XX Let us see if his words be true: and let us prove what shall happen in the end of him. — Wisdom of Solomon 2:17,
XXI An enemy speaketh sweetly with his lips, but in his heart he imagineth how to throw thee into a pit: he will weep with his eyes, but if he find opportunity, he will not be satisfied with blood. — Ecclesiasticus 12:16,
XXII For the chief-priest has his proper services, and to the priests their proper place is appointed. — I Clement 18:18,
XXIII And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every stronghold. — Habakkuk 1:16,
XXIV They plundered the sanctuary of God, as though there was no avenger. — Psalms of Solomon 8:10,
XXV In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine. — Hosea 7:5,
XXVI So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. — Zechariah 3:5,
XXVII As for the illusions of art magick, they were put down, and their vaunting in wisdom was reproved with disgrace. — Wisdom of Solomon 17:7,
XXVIII It is the part of a brave combatant to be wounded, yet overcome. — Polycarp 1:14,
XXIX But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. — Isaiah 47:9,
XXX For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branches thereof will not cease. — Job 14:7,
EPILOGUE And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. — Isaiah 58:12,
Appendix I: Index of Characters,
Appendix II: Index of Place,
Appendix III: Partial Lineage of the Haldane Kings,
Appendix IV: The Festillic Kings of Gwynedd and Their Descendants,
Appendix V: Partial Lineage of the MacRories,
About the Author,

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Camber the Heretic (Legends of Camber Series #3) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
willowcove on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A truly great series, but the original trilogy is still the best.
Karlstar on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The conclusion of the Camber trilogy lives up to the 3 previous books, and possibly outdoes them. As usual, the portrayal of the noble, pious and loyal family of Camber and his allies is very well done. The plot is somewhat straightforward by today's standards, but still excellent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago