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Guy Gavriel Kay is the internationally bestselling author of twelve novels. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in the literature of the fantastic, is a two-time winner of the Aurora Award, and won the World Fantasy Award for Ysabel in 2008. His works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.
In a truly beautiful reading experience, encounter the footnotes of a time long ago, meet people capable of committing murder, of holding a stinging need for vengeance, of feeling deep abiding love and friendship. If you see the term fantasy and usually turn away, please don’t, instead choose to step inside and feel the connection to the Italian Renaissance, allow the people to become known, experience their emotions, appreciate the eloquence of the writing. I adore the work of Guy Gavriel Kay, and have done since I was a teenager, epic in scale, intimate in focus, these are books that have allowed me to step outside of myself and experience a different world, though one that feels recognisably ours. You can read this as a standalone, however if you have read some of his other novels, then the land in which this is set will call to you, and there are moments of awareness as you look around and feel the landscape, architecture and even at one point the half-forgotten presence of an age-old entity. I can recommend ‘A Brightness Long Ago’ with my heart and soul, it really is wonderful and so sits as one of my picks of the month.
From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates , a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the Grand Khalif at his request-and possibly to do more-and a beautiful oman, posing as a doctor's wife in her role of a spy. The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the clever younger son of a merchant family -with ambivalence about the life he's been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif-to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming. As these lives entwine, their fates-and those of many others-will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world...
Breathtaking in it’s intensity and exquisitely written, find yourself transported to a reimagined China during the decline of the Song Dynasty. The way the author writes is unmistakable, yet again he’s delivered a masterpiece combining lyrical subtlety and heartrending beauty. The purposeful principal cast, with their faults, their flaws, are sometimes outshone by the splendid secondary characters and the vivid yet small inconsequential stories that highlight the choices, decisions, pathways that pepper and alter lives. You will find yourself wanting to race ahead to discover what’s around the next corner, and simultaneously take a slow stroll through the poetic pages to enable you to savour every delicious word.
For the first time in one collection, the two internationally bestselling novels of The Sarantine Mosaic, one of Guy Gavriel Kays most loved works. Sailing to Sarantium Sarantium is the golden city: holy to the faithful, exalted by the poets, jewel of the world, and heart of an empire. Artisan Caius Crispus receives a summons from the emperor and sets off on a journey toward the Imperial City. But before Crispin can reach Sarantium, with its taverns and gilded sanctuaries, chariot races and palaces, he must pass through a land of pagan ritual and mysterious danger. Sailing to Sarantium, the first volume of the brilliant Sarantine Mosaic, weaves an utterly compelling story of the allure and intrigue of a magnificent city and the people drawn into its spell. Lord of Emperors Having finally achieved his journey to fabled Sarantium, Crispin the mosaicist wants nothing more than to confront the challenges of his art high on the scaffolding of destinybut in Sarantium no man may easily withdraw from the turmoil of court and city, or forget that the presence of the half-world is always close by. To the Imperial City there comes another voyager, this time from the east. Rustem of Kerakek, a physician, must find his own balance of family and ambition, healing and death, as he, too, is drawn into the deadly webs of Sarantium. In this concluding volume of the Sarantine Mosaic, Lord of Emperors merges page-turning adventure with a deeply moving meditation on art and power, and the eternal human struggle to leave a legacy.
Three spellbinding novels by internationally bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay. A Song for Arbonne Arbonne and Gorhauttwo lands as different as the sun and the shadowed moon. In the south, the olive trees and vineyards of Arbonne flourish, and the troubadours fill the air with songs of love and desire. To the north, the history of Gorhaut has been forged with blood and fire, and now a corrupt king and his ruthless advisor seek to conquer the warm, fertile lands of Arbonne. But the land of courtly love is also a land of passion, willing to wage a complex and courageous fight to survive. Inspired by the glorious world of the troubadours, A Song for Arbonne is a love song to medieval Provence. The Lions of Al-Rassan Home to three very different cultures, Al-Rassan is a land of seductive beauty and violent history. Peace among the Jaddites, Asharites, and Kindath is a precarious, elusive thing, made so by the ever-present shadow that divides the inhabitants but draws extraordinary individuals together. Ammar ibn Khairanpoet, diplomat, soldierRodrigo Belmonteaccomplished military leaderand Jehane bet Ishakbrilliant physicianfind their lives overtaken by a series of dramatic events that bring Al-Rassan to the brink of war. Hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, The Lions of Al-Rassan is an exhilarating story of love, divided loyalties, and what happens to men and women when passionate beliefs conspire to remakeor destroya world. The Last Light of the Sun For generations, the Erlings of Vinmark have taken their dragon-prowed ships across the seas, raiding the lands of less violent people, leaving fire and death behind. But times change, even in the hard north, and in a tale woven with consummate artistry, people of very different cultures find the threads of their lives unexpectedly entwined. Making brilliant use of saga, song, and chronicle, The Last Light of the Sun brings to life an unforgettable world balanced on the knife-edge of change.
Hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, a deeply compelling story of love, adventure, divided loyalties, and what happens when beliefs begin to remake - or destroy - a world. The ruling Asharites of Al-Rassan have come from the desert sands, but over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, their stern piety has eroded. The Asharite empire has splintered into decadent city-states led by warring petty kings. King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, aided always by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan - poet, diplomat, soldier - until a summer afternoon of savage brutality changes their relationship forever. Meanwhile, in the north, the conquered Jaddites' most celebrated - and feared - military leader, Rodrigo Belmonte, driven into exile, leads his mercenary company south. In the dangerous lands of Al-Rassan, these two men from different worlds meet and serve - for a time - the same master. Tangled in their interwoven fate - and divided by her feelings - is Jehane, the accomplished court physician, whose skills may not be enough to heal the coming pain as Al-Rassan is swept to the brink of holy war, and beyond.
The thrilling sequel to Sailing To Sarantium and the concluding novel of The Sarantine Mosaic, Kay's sweeping tale of politics, intrigue and adventure inspired by ancient Byzantium. Beckoned by the Emperor Valerius, Crispin, a renowned mosaicist, has arrived in the fabled city of Sarantium. Here he seeks to fulfill his artistic ambitions and his destiny high upon a dome that will become the emerror's magnificent sanctuary and legacy. But the beauty and solitude of his work cannot protect his from Sarantium's intrigue. Beneath him the city swirls with rumors of war and conspiracy, while otherworldly fires mysteriously flicker and disappear in the streets at night. Valerius is looking west to Crispin's homeland to reunite an Empire - a plan that may have dire consequences for the loved ones Crispin left behind. In Sarantium, however, loyalty is always complex, for Crispin's fate has become entwined with that of Valerius and his Empress, as well as Queen Gisel, his own monarch exiled in Sarantium herself. And now another voyager - this time from the east - has arrived, a pysician determined to make his mark amid the shifting, treachearous currents of passion and violence that will determine the empire's fate.
From the multiple award-winning author of Ysabel, Tigana and A Song for Arbonne, this powerful, moving saga evokes the Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse cultures of a thousand years ago. There is nothing soft or silken about the north. The lives of men and women are as challenging as the climate and lands in which they dwell. For generations, the Erlings of Vinmark have taken their dragon-prowed ships across the seas, raiding the lands of the Cyngael and Anglcyn peoples, leaving fire and death behind. But times change, even in the north, and in a tale woven with consummate artistry, people of all three cultures find the threads of their lives unexpectedly brought together... Bern Thorkellson, punished for his father's sins, commits an act of vengeance and desperation that brings him face-to-face, across the sea, with a past he's been trying to leave behind. In the Anglcyn lands of King Aeldred, the shrewd king, battling inner demons all the while, shores up his defenses with alliances and diplomacy-and with swords and arrows-while his exceptional, unpredictable sons and daughters pursue their own desires when battle comes and darkness falls in the woods. And in the valleys and shrouded hills of the Cyngael, whose voices carry music even as they feud and raid amongst each other, violence and love become deeply interwoven when the dragon ships come and Alun ab Owyn, chasing an enemy in the night, glimpses strange lights gleaming above forest pools.
The first part of The Sarantine Mosaic, Kay's sweeping tale of politics, intrigue and adventure inspired by ancient Byzantium. Rumored to be responsible for the ascension of the previous Emperor, his uncle, amid fire and blood, Valerius the Trakesian has himself now risen to the Golden Throne of the vast empire ruled by the fabled city, Sarantium. Valerius has a vision to match his ambition: a glittering dome that will proclaim his magnificence down through the ages. And so, in a ruined western city on the far distant edge of civilization, a not-so-humble artisan receives a call that will change his life forever. Crispin is a mosaicist, a layer of bright tiles. Still grieving for the family he lost to the plague, he lives only for his arcane craft, and cares little for ambition, less for money, and for intrigue not at all. But an imperial summons to the most magnificent city in the world is a difficult call to resist. In this world still half-wild and tangled with magic, no journey is simple; and a journey to Sarantium means a walk into destiny. Bearing with him a deadly secret, and a Queen's seductive promise; guarded only by his own wits and a bird soul talisman from an alchemist's treasury, Crispin sets out for the fabled city from which none return unaltered.
With this rich, masterfully written extravaganza of myth and magic, the internationally acclaimed author of THE FIONAVAR TAPESTRY trilogy has created an epic that will forever change the boundaries of fantasy fiction. Set in a beleaguered land caught in a web of tyranny, Tigana is the deeply moving story of a people struggling to be free. A people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the tyrant King Brandin that even the very name of their once beautiful land cannot be spoken or remembered. But not everyone has forgotten. A handful of men and women, driven by love, hope and pride, set in motion the dangerous quest for freedom and bring back to the world the lost brightness of an obliterated name: Tigana.
Based on the troubadour culture that rose in Provence during the High Middle Ages, this panoramic, absorbing novel beautifully creates an alternate version of the medieval world. The matriarchal, cultured land of Arbonne is rent by a feud between its two most powerful dukes, the noble troubador Bertran de Talair and Urte de Miraval, over long-dead Aelis, lover of one, wife of the other and once heir to the country's throne. To the north lies militaristic Gorhaut, whose inhabitants worship the militant god Corannos and are ruled by corrupt, womanizing King Ademar. His chief advisor, the high priest of Corannos, is determined to irradicate the worship of a female deity, whose followers live to the south. Into this cauldron of brewing disaster comes the mysterious Gorhaut mercenary Blaise, who takes service with Bertran and averts an attempt on his life. The revelation of Blaise's lineage and a claim for sanctuary by his sister-in-law sets the stage for a brutal clash between the two cultures. Intertwined is the tale of a young woman troubadour whose role suggests the sweep of the drama to come.
An epic historical adventure set in an alternate 8th century China, from the author of the 2008 World Fantasy winner, Ysabel. Under Heaven is a novel of heroes, assassins, concubines and emperors set against a majestic and unforgiving landscape. Honour is beyond measure But its price may be an empire... For two years Shen Tai has mourned his celebrated father and lived like a hermit beyond the borders of the Kitan Empire. There, by a mountain lake, the bones of the soldiers killed in great battles between the Kitai and the Tagurans lie unburied and their wailing ghosts strike terror into the living. Tai has laboured alone, laying to rest the mingled dead of both empires, until a letter arrives. It contains the promise of a poisoned chalice: Tai will be given two hundred and fifty Sardian horses by the Tagurans, legendary steeds from the far west, as a reward for his courage and piety. Now, Tai must try to return alive from solitude to a glittering, dangerous court. For to give a man even one of the famed Sardians is to honour him greatly; to give him so many is a reward which would overwhelm an emperor, and could be Tai's death warrant.
Set in modern and ancient Provence, this exhilarating, moving novel casts brilliant light on the ways in which history - whether of a culture or a family - refuses to be buried. Ned Marriner, fifteen years old, has accompanied his photographer father to Provence for a six-week shoot of images for a glossy coffee-table book. Gradually, Ned discovers a very old story playing itself out in this modern world of iPods, cellphones, and seven-seater vans whipping along roads walked by Celtic tribes and the Roman Legions. On one holy, haunted night of the ancient year, when the borders between the living and the dead are down and fires are lit upon the hills, Ned, his family, and his friends, are shockingly drawn into this tale, as dangerous, mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, claiming and changing lives.
The concluding volume in Guy Gavriel Kay's stunning fantasy masterwork, now reissued with the beautiful original cover art by Martin Springett. The young heroes from our own world have gained power and maturity from their sufferings and adventures in Fionavar. Now they must bring all the strength and wisdom they possess to the aid of the armies of Light in the ultimate battle against the evil of Rakoth Maugrim and the hordes of the Dark. On a ghost-ship the legendary Warrior, Arthur Pendragon, and Pwyll Twiceborn, Lord of the Summer Tree, sail to confront the Unraveller at last. Meanwhile, Darien, the child within whom Light and Dark vie for supremacy, must walk the darkest road of any child of earth or stars. Guy Gavriel Kay's classic epic fantasy plays out on a truly grand scale, and has already been delighting fans of imaginative fiction for twenty years.
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