Final installment (The Harrowing of Gwynedd, 1989; King Javan's Year, 1992) of bestselling author Kurtz's latest fantasy trilogy set in the medieval, Celtic-flavored kingdom of Gwynedd chronicling the power struggle between the enlightened Haldane kings, with their magic-powered Deryni allies, and the forces of oppression, malevolence, and darkness. For six years, following the treacherous murder of his brother Javan, King Rhys Michael -- feigning wine-soaked mediocrity -- has been the puppet of the merciless Archbishop Hubert Maclnnis and his self-proclaimed ruling Regents' Council. But then the pretender to Gwynedd's throne, Marek of Festil, provocatively attacks and occupies a remote border castle, and Rhys Michael sees an opportunity to assert his independence. Meanwhile, his hidden Deryni allies prepare to overthrow the Regents. Rhysel, a Deryni posing as Queen Michaela's maid, awakens Rhys Michael's latent Deryni powers before the King rides forth to confront the Deryni-powered Marek. In the subsequent magical duel, Rhys Michael sustains a hand injury which, denied proper Deryni healing, festers. Foreseeing his own death, he prepares a decree commanding loyal Kheldour lords to protect his infant son, Owain. Sure enough, the Regents suspect Rhys Michael of plotting against them. The big question, then: Can the Kheldour lords and their covert Deryni allies thwart the ruling Regents and save Owain? A satisfying conclusion with a persuasively grim backdrop, well-controlled fantasy elements, a solid cast, and realistically medieval dark plots and foul deeds.