Monday, April 12, 2010

Review of UNDER HEAVEN by Guy Gavriel Kay

Acclaimed bestselling fantasy writer Guy Gavriel Kay returns to his roots in Under Heaven, a sweeping vivid adventure set in a fantastical world that closely resembles China during the glory and fall of the 8th century Tang Dynasty. Kay's signature talent for interweaving various characters, motifs and storylines are on full display here, as we enter the life of Shen Tai, a general's second son, whose two years spent burying the bones of those who died on a long-forgotten battlefield as mourning for his father is cut short by the unexpected visit of an illicit assassin and potentially lethal gift of two hundred horses from an impervious queen.

As Shen Tai grapples with the immensity of the responsibility thrust upon him and embarks on a journey back to the intrigue-laden imperial city, we are immersed in a time and place of deep spiritual reflection, sudden violence, implacable tradition, and haunting fragility. A host of characters that includes Shen Tai's female warrior protector, an exiled poet, Shen Tai's ennobled sister, a bewitched barbarian prince, and a doomed concubine all come together to enrich Kay's meditation on the nature of mortality and ephemeral longing in an imperfect world.
Fans of historical fiction and fantasy will not find a more perfect blending of the two genres than Under Heaven. This is an epic novel by a master storyteller whose gift for evoking richly imagined universes that reflect our own is truly unparalleled.

To learn more about Guy Gavriel Kay and his work please visit his website. Under Heaven is published by ROC in the U.S., Viking Penguin in Canada, and Harper/Voyager in the UK. (Author photo: Beth Gwinn)

No comments: