(Deverry Cycle #1)

Mass Market Paperback, 454 pages

English language

Published Nov. 1, 1993 by Spectra.


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4 stars (2 reviews)

Even as a young girl, Jill was a favorite of the magical, mysterious Wildfolk, who appeared to her from their invisible realm. Little did she know her extraordinary friends represented but a glimpse of a forgotten past and a fateful future. Four hundred years-and many lifetimes-ago, one selfish young lord caused the death of two innocent lovers. Then and there he vowed never to rest until he'd righted that wrong-and laid the foundation for the lives of Jill and all those whom she would hold dear: her father, the mercenary soldier Cullyn; the exiled berserker Rhodry Maelwaedd; and the ancient and powerful herbman Nevyn, all bound in a struggle against darkness. . . and a quest to fulfill the destinies determined centuries ago. Here in this newly revised edition comes the incredible novel that began one of the best-loved fantasy series in recent years--a tale of bold adventure and timeless …

7 editions

reviewed Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr

Traditional sword and sorcery, with enough twists to keep me interested

4 stars

I think it is fair to say the setting is inspired both by Tolkien and the Celtic (e.g. Mary Stewart) take on the King Arthur/Merlin myth.

There are some interesting plot twists that also serve as character development.

As someone who grew up around the time the book was written, I found the "New-agey" take on magic a bit jarring. Reincarnation plays a big role, as do things like "the astral plane" and "auras". It might be just me, but it feels like that terminology ties the book to the 1980s a bit.

Full credit to Kerr for giving her female protagonists agency and complexity in a way that works in a traditionally patriarchal setting.

Terrific gritty Celtic fantasy

5 stars

Kerr is among the best at fantasy storytelling and world-building. This book is the first of her Deverry cycle, in which she follows a group of souls through various incarnations in an early Celtic-type world. The story centers around a group of mercenaries called "silver daggers" for the distinctive weapon each fighter carries, obtainable only after being sworn to the band.

Other characters include a wizard, Nevyn; the young daughter (Jill) of one of the silver daggers. Adventure, magic, politics...they're all here in abundance and well-told. Highest recommendation!


  • Fiction
  • Fiction - Fantasy
  • Fantasy
  • Fantasy - Epic
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  • Fiction / Fantasy / General
  • Fantasy - General