“From whatever angle you approach it, River of Stars is a major accomplishment, the work of a master novelist in full command of his subject. It deserves the largest possible audience.” - The Washington Post
“Kay has the uncanny ability to depict the grand sweep of historical events through the eyes of those living through them…What’s even more amazing is how through his careful rendering of character and environments we are drawn into this history…River Of Stars is an exceptional piece of work.” - Seattle Post Intelligencer
“Here you’ll find all the scheming and skulduggery that give “Game of Thrones” its zest, refined to the subtlest of arts. Kay invokes a world of stylized manners and deadly gambits, infused with an aesthetic founded on the most exquisite appreciation of the beauty and melancholy of the natural world.” - “River of Stars”: Picture “Game of Thrones” in China (Salon.com)
"There's a reason that each new fantasy novel by Guy Gavriel Kay is met with so much excitement by a core of devoted readers. These are books in which everything happens--epic battles, forbidden love, violent deaths--yet the threads of story inexorably tangle us in something that goes much deeper. Each book is a journey for the reader, compressed so that the level of intensity remains at the highest setting even in its quietest moments; and what happens on that journey can challenge your perceptions of the world and break your heart . . .With River of Stars, Kay transports readers to a dazzling court and the ravages of war, with language almost impossibly multilayered in its nuance and tone, offering a series of insights that exquisitely build on each other. Even more than in previous books, each sentence seems shaped to further enhance the book's themes, recalling the craftsmanship of the man-made peony blossom that is a recurring image throughout. Here, too, emotional intensity is amped up more than ever, the shattering catharsis even more complete... one of Kay's richest creations to date..." - Huffington Post
“River of Stars exhibits all of Guy Gavriel Kay’s many strengths as a writer: characterization, plotting, dialogue, poetry, the intricacies of the imperial court, and exciting battle scenes.” - Vancouver Sun
"This is stunning stuff from one of fantasy fiction’s finest. From one of fiction’s finest, frankly." - Tor.com
“An elegant, imaginative inhabitation of Song-dynasty China of 1,000 years ago by prolific historical novelist Kay ... Lucid and lyrical, and skillfully written...” - Kirkus Reviews
“Exquisitely rendered alternate historical fantasy ... a flawed, complex culture, meticulously researched and recreated in powerful prose.” - Publishers Weekly
Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor—and alienates women at court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.
In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars.