Darkspell (Deverry Series #2)

Darkspell (Deverry Series #2)

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Overview

On the long roads of Deverry ride two mercenaries whose fates like hidden deep in that of their own land.  But Lord Rhodry, exiled from the dragon court of Aberwyn, has yet to discover his true parentage, and his swordmaster-lover, Jill, has barely glimpsed her awesome powers.  Meanwhile, the ancient sorcerer Nevyn, held back by his vows from boldly intervening in their lives, can only watch and wait as Rhodry and Jill move ever closer to danger.  For as the two struggle to recover the Great Stone, the mystic jewel that guides the conscience of the kingship of Deverry, malevolent dark masters are weaving terrifying spells against them—and displacing messengers of death.

Katharine Kerr has extensively rewritten Darkspell, incorporating major changes in the text, making this her definitive edition.  Here the epic saga that began with the Daggerspell continues—a tale of might and magic, lust and glory, dark danger and poignant desires that echo from Deverry's sapphire waters to its secret mountain caverns.  It's a spellbinding story destined to please fantasy lovers everywhere.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553568882
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/28/1994
Series: Deverry Series , #2
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 414
Sales rank: 383,212
Product dimensions: 4.24(w) x 6.85(h) x 1.07(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Katharine Kerr first became involved in the field of fantasy through role-playing games, feeling so intrigued that she began writing articles for gaming magazines and for some time was a contributing editor to Dragon magazine. This interest soon led her into the field of fantasy writing, with her first Deverry novel, Daggerspell, appearing in 1986. Since then, Kerr has written many more fantasy and science fiction novels. Her Deverry series has hit The Times (London) and the Australian bestseller lists.

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE
AUTUMN, 1062
 
Every light casts a shadow. So does the dweomer. Some men choose to stand in the light; others, in the darkness. Be ye always aware that where you stand is a matter of choice, and let not the shadow creep over you unawares.…
—The Secret Book of Cadwallon the Druid
 
Back in the eleventh century, when the far-flung kingdom of Deverry lay sparse and tentative across the lands men claimed in the king’s name, Eldidd province was one of the most sparsely settled areas of all. Particularly in its western reaches, towns were rare, and in the west Dun Gwerbyn was something of a governmental seat, even though its high stone walls circled barely five hundred thatched houses and three temples, two of those little better than wayside shrines. On a hill in the center of town, however, stood the dun, or fort, of the tieryn, large and solid enough to be impressive in any province at that time. Inside a double set of earthworks and ditches, stone walls sheltered stables and barracks for the tieryn’s warband of a hundred men, a collection of huts and storage sheds, and the broch complex itself, a four-story round stone tower with two shorter towers built on to the sides.
 
On one particular morning, the open ward round the broch was abustle with servants, carrying supplies to the kitchen hut or stacks of firewood to the hearths in the great hall, or rolling big barrels of ale from the sheds to the broch. Near the iron-bound gates other servants bowed low as they greeted the arriving wedding guests. Cullyn of Cerrmor, captain of the tieryn’s warband, assembled his sen out in the ward and looked them over. For a change they were all bathed, shaved, and presentable. He himself, a burly man well over six feet tall, had put on the newer of his two shirts for the occasion ahead.
 
“Well and good, lads,” Cullyn said. “You don’t look bad for a pack of hounds. Now, remember: every lord and lady in the tierynrhyn is going to be here today. I don’t want any of you getting stinking drunk, and I don’t want any fighting, either. This is a wedding, remember, and the lady deserves to have it be a happy one after everything she’s been through.”
 
They all nodded solemnly. If any of them forgot his orders, he’d make them regret it—and they knew it.
 
Cullyn led them into the great hall, an enormous round room that took up the full ground floor of the broch. Today freshly braided rushes lay on the floor; the tapestries on the walls had been shaken out and rehung. The hall was crammed with extra tables. Not only were there plenty of noble guests, but each lord had brought five men from his warband as an honor escort. Servants sidled and edged their way through the crowd with tankards of ale and baskets of bread; a bard played almost unheard; over by their hearth the riders diced for coppers and joked; up by the honor hearth the noble-born ladies chattered like birds while their husbands drank. Cullyn got his men settled, repeated his order about no fighting, then worked his way to the table of honor and knelt at the tieryn’s side.
 
Tieryn Lovyan was something of an anomaly in Deverry, a woman who ruled a large demesne in her own name. Originally her only brother had held this dun, but when he died without an heir, she’d inherited under a twist in the laws designed to keep big holdings in a clan even if a woman had to rule them. Although she’d come to her middle age, she was still a good-looking woman, with gray-streaked raven black hair, large cornflower-blue eyes, and the straight-backed posture of one quite at home with rulership. That particular day she wore a dress of red Bardek silk, kirtled in with the red, white, and brown plaid of the Clw Coc clan.
 
“The warband is in attendance, my lady,” Cullyn said.
 
“Splendid, Captain. Have you seen Nevyn yet?”
 
“I haven’t, my lady.”
 
“It would be like him to just stay away. He does so hate crowds and such like, but if you do see him, tell him to come sit with me.”
 
Cullyn rose, bowed, and returned to his men. From his seat he could see the honor table, and while he sipped his ale, he studied the bride at this wedding, Lady Donilla, a beautiful woman with a mane of chestnut hair, clasped back like a maiden’s now for the formality of the thing. Cullyn felt profoundly sorry for her, because her first husband, Gwerbret Rhys of Aberwyn, had recently cast her off for being barren. If Lovyan hadn’t found her a husband, she would have had to return to her brother’s dun in shame. As it was, her new man, Lord Garedd, was a decent-looking fellow some years older than she, with gray in his blond hair and a thick mustache. From what the men in the warband said, he was an honorable man, soft-spoken in peace and utterly ruthless in war. He was also a widower with a pack of children and thus more than glad to take a beautiful young wife, barren or not.
 
“Garedd looks honestly besotted with her, doesn’t he?” Nevyn remarked.
 
With a yelp Cullyn turned to find the old man grinning at him. For all of Nevyn’s white hair, and a face as lined as an old leather sack, he had all the vigor and stamina of a young lad, and he stood there straight-backed, his hands on his hips.
 
“Didn’t mean to startle you,” he said with a sly grin.
 
“Here, I never saw you come in!”
 
“You weren’t looking my way, that’s all. I didn’t turn myself invisible, although I’ll admit to having a bit of a jest on you.”
 
“And I took the bait, sure enough. The tieryn wants you to come sit with her.”
 
“At the honor table? What a blasted nuisance. It’s a good thing I put on a clean shirt.”
 
Cullyn laughed. Usually Nevyn dressed like a farmer in shabby brown clothes, but today he’d actually put on a white shirt with Lovyan’s red lion blazon at the yokes and a pair of patched but respectable gray brigga. Still, he looked like a shabby townsman or maybe a minor servitor, anything but what he was, the most powerful master of the dweomer in the entire kingdom.
 
“Before you go,” Cullyn said, “have you had any, well, news of my Jill?”
 
“News? Why don’t you say the word ‘scrying’ right out? You’ll have to get used to sorcery sooner or later, Captain. Here, come along.”
 
They made their way over to the servants’ hearth, where an entire hog crackled, roasting on a spit so large that it took two kitchen boys to turn it. For a moment Nevyn stared intently into the flames.
 
“I see Jill and her Rhodry looking in good spirits,” he said at last. “They’re walking through a town on a nice sunny day, going up to a shop of some sort. Wait! I know the place. It’s Otho the Silversmith’s in Dun Mannannan, but he doesn’t seem to be in at the moment.”
 
“I don’t suppose you can tell if she’s with child.”
 
“She’s not showing the baby if she is. I can understand your concern.”
 
“Well, it’s bound to happen, sooner or later. I just hope she has the wit to ride home when it does.”
 
“She’s never lacked for wit.”
 
Although Cullyn agreed, worry ate at him. Jill was, after all, his only child.
 
“I just hope they have enough coin for the winter,” the captain remarked.
 
“Well, we gave them plenty between us, if Rhodry doesn’t drink it all away, anyway.”
 
“Oh, Jill won’t let him do that. My lass is as tight as an old farmwife with every cursed copper.” He allowed himself a brief smile. “She knows the long road well.”
 
Because the mattress was full of bedbugs, Rhodry Maelwaedd, formerly heir to Dun Gwerbyn, sat on the floor of the tiny innchamber. Nearby Jill sat in the light from the one tiny window. She was dressed in a pair of dirty blue brigga and a lad’s plain linen overshirt, and her golden hair was cropped short like a lad’s, too, but she was so beautiful, with her wide blue eyes, delicate features, and soft mouth, that he loved simply looking at her. Frowning in concentration, she was mending a rip in his only shirt.
 
“Ah, by the black hairy ass of the Lord of Hell!” she snarled. “This’ll just have to do. I hate sewing.”
 
“You have my humble thanks for lowering yourself enough to mend my clothes.”
 
With another snarl she threw the shirt into his face. Laughing, he shook it out, once-white linen stained with sweat and rust, as well, from his mail. On the yokes were embroidered the blazons of the red lion, all that he had left of his old life. But a month earlier his brother, Gwerbret Rhys of Aberwyn, had sent him into exile, far away from kin and clan both. He pulled the shirt on, then buckled his sword belt over it. At the left hung his sword, a beautiful blade of the best steel with the hand guard worked in the form of a dragon, and at the right, the silver dagger that branded him as a dishonored man. It was the badge of a band of mercenaries who wandered the roads either singly or in pairs and fought only for coin, not loyalty or honor. In his case it branded him as something even stranger, which was why they’d come to Dun Mannannan.
 
“Do you think that silversmith will be in by now?” he said.
 
“No doubt. Otho wouldn’t leave his shop for long.”
 
Together they went out into the unwalled town, a straggling collection of round thatched houses and shops along a river. On the grassy bank fishing boats lay bleaching, from the look of their cracked keels and gaping planks barely seaworthy.
 
“I don’t see how these people make a living from the sea,” Rhodry remarked. “Look at that mast. It’s all held together with wound rope and tar.”
 
When he started to walk over for a better look, Jill grabbed his arm and hauled him back. Two local men, hard-eyed and dressed in filthy rags, were watching.
 

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Darkspell 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
magemanda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second Deverry book and proves to be just as gripping as the first. Here we are dealing with a present time storyline of Jill and Rhodry's life on the road as silver daggers, and the danger they face from masters of dark dweomer. Jill discovers from Nevyn more about dweomer as he tries to gently encourage her to fulfil her Wyrd (destiny). We also go back in time to a previous incarnation of Jill and Rhodry and Cullyn (Jill's father). The three souls (and others) have been twisted together because of vengeance, a miscarriage of destiny and incestuous love. Here Jill is Gweniver - a lady who pledges herself to the Moon Goddess, and therefore will be unable to take to a life of dweomer. Nevyn resigns himself to watching her die in the service of the Goddess and going back to waiting for her soul to be reborn. There is also a quick backstory to the start of the Maelwaedd clan (Rhodry's people).I adored the whole story of Jill and Rhodry, and everything that happens in modern times. I found the masters of dark dweomer genuinely creepy, especially hearing what takes place during their rituals. It is lovely to see more of dweomer at work, including an entertaining piece of jewelry. I particularly like the way that Kerr ensures that there is always a downside to working dweomer.One of my favourite characters right now is highly peripheral - Jill's grey gnome (one of the Wildfolk) is extremely cute and Kerr does well to lend him so much character since he is unable to speak properly. I also like Ebany a great deal, and suspect we shall see much more of him.However, the success of these books depends greatly on how enjoyable the tale set in the past is, since it encompasses a large part of the novel. And I didn't get on with Gweniver - I found her naive and arrogant in turn. Very different from other past incarnations such as Brangwen (the first incarnation) and Lyssa (a gentle bard's wife). This is why I drop it half a star from the first book in the series.The strong Celtic feel again embued the book with a sense of almost historical fiction - the language and the lifestyle is a fantastic part of each novel. Once again, I would recommend highly.
Queensowntalia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Please see Daggerspell for my assessment of the series :) A must-read series!!
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Margerle More than 1 year ago
Darkspell is a fun fantasy read - good book for an afternoon in the park or at the beach. The plot is not as complex as other fantasy series, but is still worth the time.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm just finishing Daggerspell, and know that Katherine Kerr is an excellent writer. I am more than excited to pick up her next book (Darkspell), and get to reading it! She is one of the best authors I have read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! If you like fantasy, or magic(well, that's pretty much the same thing) you need to get this book. Katherine Kerr is a wonderful author. I love her books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have not already read the first book of this series,Daggerspell,I highly recommend that you do so.If not you will be very confused.I urge readers to continue on to read the rest of this series.It's terrific!