The Shadow Isle

I’m making another stab at reading Katherine’s Kerr’s The Shadow Isle, the penultimate book in her long-running Deverry Saga.

I started reading the Deverry books in the late ’80s, and I loved them. They managed to avoid being too Tolkeinesque while remaining typically fantasy. They were far, far better written than Tad Williams and David Eddings, earthier than Feist’s Riftwar Saga and more homely than David Gemmel’s muscular Drenai Saga. There was a time during the Exiles series, the second quartet of Deverry novels, when I and my friends would wait anxiously for the publication of a new novel, phoning each other if we found a new release (come to think of it, we did the same with Gemmel’s books).

The atmosphere of Deverry influenced my early experiences gaming in Hârn greatly. It helped that my players then were also fans.

Given Kat’s convoluted timeline, following around a dozen core characters through multiple reincarnations, it was always a little difficult to keep track of the story. But that just gave us an excuse to re-read the whole saga up to the current volume, just to refresh out memories.

But I have to admit, I’ve completely lost track by now, and even though my library is out of its boxes, it still isn’t organised. The complete Deverry saga is in the house somewhere – it’s just a question of finding all the volumes.

But since I can’t read the whole thing again at the moment, it’s causing me some difficulties remembering who was once who, and what they did to others in the past. And as the series has grown, it’s become a longer and longer task to start over even if I could find them all. Perhaps if I could just assemble the Dragon Mage section of the saga…

Anyhow, I did have a go at starting The Shadow Isle a few months ago, but got interrupted before I’d become immersed (Deverry is great for immersion). I’m hoping I’ll get to immersion-point this time, because I noticed the last Deverry novel, The Silver Mage,  in the bookshop a few days ago, and I desperately want to read that and finally, after more than 20 years, reach the end of the saga and find out what Rhodry’s weird is, and what happens to him and the new incarnations of Jill and Nevyn.

And once I’ve read that, I’m going to make a concerted effort to track down all the individual volumes scattered around the house so I can sit down and read the whole thing again.

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