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Sailing to Sarantium (The Sarantine Mosaic, Book I) [Hardcover]

Guy Kay
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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About the Author

Guy Gavriel Kay is the author of six previous novels: The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire and The Darkest Road (which comprise The Fionavar Tapestry), Tigana, A Song for Arbonne and The Lions of Al-Rassan. His work has been translated into fourteen languages. Tigana won the 1991 Aurora Prize for the best English-language work of speculative fiction. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intricate, Intriguing, Compelling Nov. 15 2004
If the only fiction writing you can enjoy is a Tolkien knock-off, then don't buy this book. On the other hand, if you love a little intrigue, brilliant and witty conversations, fully developed characters with complex motivations, and if you have any interest in history and the royal courts of the past, then this is the book/series for you.
I love the way his characters grow and develop over the course of the book. I love the fact that there isn't a single stock-character to be found. I adored the main characters. I thrilled at every brilliant plot-twist.
Oh, and if you loved the charriot scene in the movie Ben Hur, you will be totally blown away by the race he describes here. I'll say no more. This is one of the fantastic moments in the book that simply can not be given away.
Guy Gavriel Kay has done a fantastic job of creating a whole new genre of fictional writing. His unique blend of actual historical elements, magic, gods, and fantasy along with his intricate plots and fascinating characters are a refreshing change from the formulaic fantasy novels and poor writing skills that clog our bookstore shelves these days.
This book is worth every penny. It is a treasure to be read and re-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Sarantium Mosaic is one of my favourite stories. It is a fantasy novel, yet the world it describes feels authentic and real. Guy Gavriel Kay has accomplished this in several ways. His characters have depth and complexity, subtlety and grace. They experience the full range of emotions, including an exquisite blend of joy and sadness that tears at your own heart as you read. His setting has cultural richness; he has drawn heavily on the Byzantine Empire for inspiration. The plot is full of intrigue, with many twists and turns to keep you guessing as to what is coming next. There is magic present, yet it is applied lightly enough that you almost believe that it could happen in real life. This is a story that invites you to loose yourself in it again and again.
My only warning to first time readers is that it takes a couple of chapters to get your bearings, and to not feel lost in all the people and places. Don't give up too quickly, it is well worth the effort.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not like the Fionavar Tapestry Feb. 22 2004
By A Customer
I was really disappointed with this duology. The first books I read from Guy Gavriel Kay were the 3 books from the Fionavar Tapestry and I found them wounderful as they were a little Tolkien-like. However, the Sarantine Mosaic is completely different, being mostly if not solely based on political intrigue.
A simple mosaicist is at the center of things, helping Queen, Emperor and Empress against his will. I didn't find his adventures to reach the capital and the interaction between the characters very entertaining. The two books are full of descriptions, which can be interesting to a certain point as it tells the reader more about the byzantine empire, but it becomes annoying after a while. The action is very slow-paced.
If you want to read this book because you liked the Fionavar Tapestry, DON'T! If you like political intrigue or want to learn more about the byzantine empire, then GO AHEAD, but I don't guarantee that you'll like it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A slow boat to China...err...Sarantium Oct. 25 2003
This book was recomended to me by someone who said that it was better than George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" books. They could not have been more wrong. This book takes forever to get going, and when it does, it ends, forcing you to read the second book even if you don't want to. It has virtually no fighting, or battles, and is mostly political intrigue. But even if thats the kind of book you like, it falls short there too.
On the plus side, the book gives you an interesting and one would hope, well researched looked into the Byzantine empire. But aside from that, this book did not impress me. I'm only glad I didn't pay full price for it. Don't waste your time getting into this series, you'll regret it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It is not the destination, but the journey.... Feb. 17 2004
By Miko
I find with each book Kay writes, he becomes even more brilliant. While the Sarantine Mosaic Duology may not be for everyone, it is for those who enjoy beautifully developed characterization and cleverly woven storylines. Sailing to Sarantium is a wonderful beginning to the tale; I would suggest buying it and Lord of Emperors together, so the anticipation of the second book will not eat away at you while you wait for it ship.
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