After a long hiatus (The Quest for Saint Camber, 1986, etc.), Kurtz again takes up the saga of Kelson Haldane, king of the medieval, Celtic-flavored kingdom of Gwynedd. Having, last time out, vanquished Conall, the evil prince who usurped his throne and married his bride, Kelson finds no peace: Gwynedd is threatened by potentially hostile neighbors, so he must marry and produce an heir. The progressive, enlightened Haldane kings have magic-powered Deryni blood in their veins, so the mundane, reactionary forces of darkness work sedulously to destroy them. Kurtz's strengths lie in her patient accumulation of telling detail, well-articulated plots, and believable magics. Should bring the fans flocking, and attract newcomers too.