Whatever Happened to Katherine Kurtz?

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, she was an important fantasy/sf author. Her classic Deryni trilogy (Deryni Rising, Deryni Checkmate, and High Deryni) were extremely popular fantasies set in an alternate medieval world where psychics strove to live good Christian lives, and to prove that they did nothing against God’s law while doing magic. It was heavily SCA-influenced, but in a good way. Her second trilogy attempted to portray the history of the world, with a saintly wizard/psychic founding a religious order. The problem was that the book’s strength was in having a church with rules, while she increasingly messed with that in her books. But it is still one of the few fantasy series that deals with religion in a serious way.

She kept doing prequels and sequels that weren’t all that interesting, and then she pulled a Red Wedding decades before George R.R. Martin. (Bleh.) After a while, she switched to writing contemporary fantasy about Templars doing magic and such. Like a lot of her older fans, I couldn’t actually bring myself to read them, beyond the first few pages. I did read Lammas Night, but I didn’t like it. There was also a cute book called St. Patrick’s Gargoyle. My dad recommends it, but I couldn’t get into it.

Well, apparently she is still writing some fantasy/sf. A book called The King’s Deryni came out in 2014. Most of her Deryni books are available reprinted on Kindle from Open Road, but Ace apparently still has the ebook rights to the original trilogy. Ain’t none of her ebooks cheap. (Which is why there’s still a place for used paperbacks.)

At some point, she did that “weird sf author fascination with getting ordained in a religion” thing. From what I understand, she was once a “bishop” in the “Antioch Rite” of the Apostolic Catholic Orthodox Church, which is an offshoot of the Old Catholics. (Schismatic group that broke off after Vatican I, and just got more liberal after that. The Old Catholics were the ones who “ordained” poor Sinead O’Connor.)

Anyway, Kurtz is currently a “bishop” of the Celtic Christian Church, which is a schismatic group founded by one of those Catholic priests who ran off to get married but still wanted to be a priest. When none of the popes or Orthodox patriarchs acquiesced to the idea, and after tons of exposure to Matthew Fox’s crappy books, they started their own group. (Though to be fair, it would seem that the situation was exacerbated by a lot of their pals being women who were abused or betrayed by priests who claimed they wanted to marry them.) The (recently deceased) founder of the group actually got three valid-but-illicit schismatic bishops to consecrate him; so you have one of those unhappy situations where there’s at least one or two valid-but-illicit priests, and then a bunch of pretend-priests, all setting up shop together. Anyway, “All Angels Jurisdiction” consists of Kurtz and five clergypeople.

At some point Kurtz started an “Order of St. Michael,” which was basically some kind of Third Order religious group/club/interfaith group. (Which was how come there were open neopagans in it.)

So yeah, that’s what she’s been up to.

She has a website called Rhemuth Castle, which is all about book stuff. (And yeah, most people really don’t have much interest in a writer’s personal life or work drama, so that’s well done.)


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