HarperPrism, $6.50, ISBN 0-06-105927-7
Fantasy, 1999 (Reissue)
The Deer’s Cry is a prequel to seven books before it, and it’s my first introduction to Patricia Kennealy-Morrison’s world of Keltiad (trivia: she’s the widow of Jim Morrison of The Doors). And I can’t help feeling like I’m stuck in a fun party without any knowledge of what’s going on. It’s horribly bewildering – the character list in the Appendix is four pages long, and some aren’t even in the novel! Add about 34 pages of glossary and I’m ready to run screaming out of Keltiad.
I’m sorry I can’t provide a clear synopsis – yes, I’m that befuddled, but I can say it’s about the arrival of the forefathers of the characters in the previous Keltiad books to the world of Keltia, the main star being Brendan from our own world. The book tells of Brendan’s young days as a shepherd all the way to his triumph. There’s some not-so-subtle parallels to Christianity, especially concerning a character Patraic, and some Christians may get offended, but me, no way.
The writing can be either gracefully lyrical at times, whimsical, the words sheer music to the mind, or totally corny and overly bloated at others. Ms Kennealy-Morrison runs a thin line between being a bard spinning a haunting story or being annoyingly condescending to the reader. Yes, the book has its sheer moments of beauty, but when the author plugs her religious beliefs and philosophy none-too-subtly at some chapters, I feel really condescended upon.