This is a personal page of
David Casperson
Associate Professor
Computer Science
University of Northern British Columbia
Last modified: 2016-10-04
I have read:
  • The Fionavar Tapestry:
    • The Summer Tree
    • The Wandering Fire
    • The Darkest Road

  • Tigana
  • A Song for Arbonne
    (and La Chanson d’Arbonne)
  • The Lions of Al-Rassan
  • The Sarantine Mosaic
    • Sailing to Sarantium
    • Lord of Emperors
  • The Last Light of the Sun
  • Under Heaven
  • Beyond this Dark House
  • Ysabel

Guy Gavriel Kay

The official Guy Gavriel Kay website is Bright Weavings. Although not created by GGK, Bright Weavings has his blessing.

Guy Gavriel Kay's writing splits roughly into three.

High Fantasy

The first part consists of his first work, the High Fantasy Fionavar Tapestry. Whilst his stated aim is to avoid the dreadful regurgitation of Tolkien found elsewhere, it is a bit too rich for my taste.

Historical Fantasy

The second part is his historical fantasy: Tigana through The Last Light of the Sun, excepting Beyond this Dark House, which is a book of poetry.

It should be noted that Kay's historical fiction is unlike most other's combinations of fantasy and history. He does not write alternative history (suppose that Dukakis had won the presidency…); nor even Connie Willis’ history-based fiction. Instead, Kay write stories that are firmly rooted in a historical time and place, but where elements of fantasy intrude, and where he feels free to re-write history to suit plot needs.

The Lions of Al-Rassan

For instance, though The Lions of Al-Rassan is loosely based on Spain at the time of Christian ascendancy, Kay freely admits to condensing 150 years of history into one character's life-time.

It has been a while since I have read the Lions.

Although GGK calls them Kindath and Asharites and Jaddites in a country called Esperanza, this is clearly the story of the relationship between the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians in Spain around the time that the Christians regain control.

Kay tracks the interwoven lives of one person from each of these major groups. This is an explicit argument for religious tolerance cleverly buried in one of his most touching stories.

(For an exploration in far more depth, find the Three Glasses of Wine: The Accommodation of Culture in The Lions of Al-Rassan on Bright Weavings.)

Tigana

The first of the post-Fionavar novels, this remains one of my favourites. The historical setting in this case is pre-Italy Italy.

The Sarantine Mosaic

A symphonic story.

Ysabel

Kay's second last novel breaks from the style of his historic fantasies, though not with his fascination with history.

Under Heaven

Set in historic China.

Links
  • back to David's science fiction and fantasy page.
Home

Sf pages
Epics and Empires
Guy Gavriel Kay
Lynda Williams