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A Song for Arbonne [Mass Market Paperback]

Guy Gavriel Kay
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 29 2005

Arbonne and Gorhaut—two lands as different as the sun and the shadowed moon.

In the south, the olive trees and vineyards of Arbonne flourish, as the troubadours fill the air with the music of love and desire. To the north, the history of Gorhaut has been forged with blood and fire, and now a degenerate king and his ruthless advisor seek to quench a thirst for conquest by sweeping down upon Arbonne. But the land of courtly love is also a land of passion, willing to wage a complex and cunning fight to survive.

Inspired by the glorious world of the troubadours, A Song for Arbonne is Guy Gavriel Kay's love song to medieval Provence.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Based on the troubadour culture that rose in Provence during the High Middle Ages, this panoramic, absorbing novel beautifully creates an alternate version of the medieval world. As in Tigana , it is a world with two moons. The matriarchal, cultured land of Arbonne is rent by a feud between its two most powerful dukes, the noble troubador Bertran de Talair and Urte de Miraval, over long-dead Aelis, lover of one, wife of the other and once heir to the country's throne. To the north lies militaristic Gorhaut, whose inhabitants worship the militant god Corannos and are ruled by corrupt, womanizing King Ademar. His chief advisor, the high priest of Corannos, is bent on wiping out the worship of a female deity, whose followers live to the south. Into this cauldron of brewing disaster comes the mysterious Gorhaut mercenary Blaise, who takes service with Bertran and averts an attempt on his life. The revelation of Blaise's lineage and a claim for sanctuary by his sister-in-law set the stage for a brutal clash between the two cultures. Intertwined is the tale of a young woman troubadour whose role suggests the sweep of the drama to come. Kay creates a vivid world of love and music, magic and death in a realm that resembles ours but is just different enough to enrich the fantasy genre. 25,000 first printing; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

GUY GAVRIEL KAY is an international bestselling author. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in the literature of the fantastic, is a two-time winner of the Aurora Award, and won the 2008 World Fantasy Award for Ysabel, a #1 bestseller in Canada. His works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.

Visit his Canadian website at www.guygavrielkay.ca and his authorized international website at www.brightweavings.com.

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First Sentence
Anselme, who has ever been acknowledged as the first and perhaps the greatest of all the troubadours of Arbonne, was of modest birth, the youngest son of a clerk in the castle of a baron near Cauvas. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars North and South with troubadors April 13 2011
By Brian Ashe TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As always since the Fionovar Tapestry, GG Kay writes thinly disguised history with a touch of magic. Or, you might say fantasy in a parallel universe close to our own. This is a tale of the South of France vs the almost Germanic North of France. Sort of like Eleanor of Acquitaine against Clovis or Charlemagne.

The South has troubadors, and courtly love, and damsels in distress: all the usual accoutrements of high medieval fantasy. It's not really Provence so much as Acquitaine, but the battle of Langue d'Oc vs Langue d'Oeil is fought again. The North has steel and warriors, and the will to use them.

Kay has engineered a clash of cultures in a rich pseudo-historical milieu, with strong characters you can believe and identify with. They, too, have doubts and feelings. Some of the northern killers are good people shaped by their culture; some of the southerners are thieves and villains. Although the readers' general sympathies are with the southerners, the northern point of view is equally well presented. It can be exhiliarating and heart-breaking by turns, reading this marvellous book.

Strongly recommended, as are most of Kay's works.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kay's vision of Provence Oct. 27 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a Kay fan in general, and enjoy all of his work, particularly his books that contain an alternate vision of history. In this book, we see Kay's take upon the cultural clash between the Langue d'Oc and the Langue d'Or. It has echoes of the Albigensian Crusade, as well as many other elements of medieval Provence.

There's a lot to enjoy in this book, from clever dialogue and plot twists to some well drawn characters. The one thing that makes me hesitate before picking this book up to reread it is not a criticism, but praise for the strength of Kay's characterization: the main character's father is so all-encompassingly horrific that he puts me off my food. And goodness knows, we can't have that.
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By Tami
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Here is a story, in the best sense. A book with many pages to read (a very good feature, in this case, so it doesn't end too soon). Although a paperback, and - in our days - cheap compared to other books, this story shows neither skrimping nor derivation from other stories. There are no misprints nor bad grammar nor spelling mistakes. Okay, with all that being true, what IS in this book?

I reveal no secrets by saying that it is a story about one land - a place very much like medieval Provence. It has grown distinct from neighbouring countries through the encouragement of the art of troubadours. Some battles occur, and there is magic, but not in the way of other books called "sword and sorcery". All is very much as our own real day-to-day world, with the strong feelings and agonies/ecstasies that come to us out of a world which shows no signs of anything exceptional. It is just a day-to-day world. And miracles occur! Life provides tremendous surprises!

If you perhaps find fulfillment in such stories as Moby Dick, or Romeo and Juliet, or The Jungle Book, or other similar classics, try this one. It IS another classic - that is just what it is. And its author has already participated in the editing of other classics (check the last lines of the forword for a book called "The Silmarillion").
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Fabulous Book from Guy Kay May 21 2004
By CanadianMother TOP 500 REVIEWER
I love A Song for Arbonne.
I admit that the book started out a little bit slowly, as action was frequently interrupted by characters musing over the past. But once the back story was sufficiently explained and the main plot really began, I couldn't put the book down. Kay completely surprised and delighted me many times (as well as made me cry), and the battle scene towards the end of the book was simply one of the best I've ever read--so emotionally charged and unpredictable, as battle truly is.
Even though the prose in this book might not be quite as perfect as in his more recent works (like The Last Light of the Sun, which is one of my favourite books EVER), nevertheless many of Kay's senteces here are pure poetry.
The ending of the book was utterly delightful and made me laugh out loud before closing the book with a smile on my face.
Another reviewer mentioned that this book contains graphic sex, which is simply not true. The book does contain a few scenes of sexuality, but they are very tasteful and well done and leave everything to the imagination. I honestly can't figure out how someone could be offended by Kay's tasteful and maturely written books.
There are a few of Kay's books I have not read, and I truly look forward to it because I believe he is a writer of the very highest calibre. He makes you laugh, and cry, and possibly even come away from his books a better person.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I'm not quite sure what to think. April 24 2003
This book definately had good aspects to it .It had a good deal of cultural development,much character development as well,very intrigueing plot ,but there were a couple things that were not very good.
1.There was a bit too much sex.Anyone who cannot bare excplicit sex will definately not like this.
2.There were many pointless characters.
3.There were many pointless paragraphs of discriptions.
4.Too many flashbacks.
But otherwise ,this is a very good book.I've had the Summer Tree reccomended to me ,so I will definately read that.
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