Children of Earth and Sky: Guy Gavriel Kay

★★★★

It’s been three long years since River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay’s last novel, so the publication of Children of Earth and Sky is quite an event and a cause for some celebration. From a personal point of view, the new book is made even more exciting by its setting. While Under Heaven and River of Stars took me out of my historical comfort zone – unfolding in the alternate-universe empire of Kitai, which drew on the dynastic splendour of medieval China – Children plunged me into the knotty political world of my very favourite period: the Renaissance.

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The Lions of Al-Rassan: Guy Gavriel Kay

★★★★★

There are some books which leave you sitting in silence after you’ve finished them, staring into space. This is one of them. You may remember that I’ve mentioned it before: it’s one of my favourites; and so, when I heard that Helen was planning to read it for the first time, I asked if she would mind me re-reading it along with her. It hasn’t lost any of its impact. Poignant and powerful, it’s a sweeping medieval epic, tempered with nostalgia for two lost worlds: a glorious civilisation already on its deathbed; and a utopia of religious tolerance, which perhaps only ever existed in the imagination.

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River of Stars: Guy Gavriel Kay

★★★★

Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that I only became aware of Guy Gavriel Kay’s books two years ago. In that time I’ve devoured several of them and two shot immediately to the top of my ‘favourites’ list. This means, however, that River of Stars is the first book that Kay has released since I became an aficionado; and the anticipation has been almost unbearable. Hard copies of the book haven’t yet been released in the UK – the British release date is in the summer – but Harper Collins have compassionately made the e-book available at the same time as those in other territories, so that we don’t all go completely mad. Looking on the bright side, this means that we Britishers get double the excitement of the release, first in e-book form and then in hard copy.

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A Song for Arbonne: Guy Gavriel Kay

★★★★

This is the sixth book I’ve read by Guy Gavriel Kay and it is once again set in his distinctive parallel world with its single sun and twin moons – white and blue – though the names of the countries and the gods aren’t the same as in his other books.  Like the vast majority of his novels, A Song for Arbonne takes place in a context closely mirroring a historical period from our own world: in this case, Southern France in the age of the troubadours.

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