The King’s Deryni by Katherine Kurtz (Berkeley Publishing Group, 2014)
Although this fantasy novel is clearly part of a world with multiple previous books, it is well enough explained to stand alone. The bigger problem is the premise: an “idealization” (as it says on the cover) of Europe in the 12th century, but in a world where people have powerful magic. It makes an awkward combination. The requisite map of the “eleven kingdoms” has an uncanny resemblance to western Europe, but without the English Channel. Though the names of the kingdoms are obviously made up, they have cultures (and character names) that are based on places like Scotland, France, and Germany. Throughout the book there are many references to real medieval Christian practice (Latin prayers, archbishops) interspersed with “Deryni” magical training. The story and characters are interesting, although everyone seems absurdly young. I would have more respect for a fantasy novel based on a world less obviously borrowed from our own.