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In the often formulaic world of fantasy fiction, Guy Gavriel Kay stands out as an innovative and challenging writer. He not only pushes the genre's limits with his unique blend of high fantasy and historical fiction, he also expands his own boundaries as a writer by constantly exploring new directions. The Last Light of the Sun is no exception, as Kay leaves the courtly world of his recent novels for a harsh northern land populated with marauding sea raiders, grim kings struggling to establish some semblance of civilization, and a slowly dying faerie world. The Last Light of the Sun invokes the Britain of the Old English sagas, in which community is built upon honour and loyalty, and the end of the world is always but a battle away.
The book follows a large cast of characters from three different societies: the Viking stand-in Erlings, the Celtic Cyngael, and the Anglo Saxon-like Anglcyn. The three groups clash repeatedly and become more closely intertwined in each meeting, as characters fight, fall in love, and die, and complex family stories and quests are played out across generations and different landscapes. What makes the book truly remarkable is Kay's honest, unsentimental storytelling style. The characters in The Last Light of the Sun are real people, not stock fantasy characters, and the plot often takes unexpected, unconventional twists, resulting in a chain of events that more closely resembles real history than romantic tales. The Last Light of the Sun is one of Kay's bleaker works, largely because it's also one of his most real. But it is still an epic tale, and like the best epics it depicts not only heroes and mighty battles but also patterns of loss and change. It is a world upon which the sun is truly setting, but it is also a world about to be reborn into a new era, and Kay tells its story like the best bards of old. --Peter Darbyshire --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In this wonderfully imaginative historical fantasy from Kay (A Song for Arbonne), seemingly random deeds connect Erling (Viking) raiders and Anglcyn (English) and Cyngael (Welsh) princes: If only Bern Thorkellson hadn't stolen that horse in a desperate act of vengeance against his sorry fate; if only Dai ab Owyn hadn't stepped outside the safety of Brynfell right at the moment when the Erlings attacked; if only Ivarr Ragnarson hadn't been born ill-formed and downright cruel; if only Aeldred hadn't been king of the Anglcyn; if only Thorkell Einarson had murdered only one man and not the second; if only Alun ab Owyn hadn't stepped into that pool on a moonless night and seen the Queen of the Elves in procession. At first glance, each individual's act appears to be a normal human response. It's only later, as the characters' paths cross, that the pieces come together to weave a dazzling tapestry of conjoined fates. Solid research, filtered through vibrant prose, serves to convey a sense of how people really lived and died in Viking and Anglo-Saxon times and how they might have interacted with the realm of magic on a daily basis. Readers of lighter fantasy should be forewarnedthe novel contains a lot of gruesome killing and the fairy world plays a relatively minor role, as do women.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I have read an enjoyed much of Guy Gavriel Kays novels (excpeting the Finovar tapestry), and I must say that this latest book is not up to his usual standards. Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2005 by Craig
I'm not finished this book yet, but I'm ready to write a review none-the-less. For staters, I think that Tigana is one of the best fantasy novels ever written. Read morePublished on Oct. 1 2004 by S. Henderson
What I like about this author is the rich use of imagery. The use of the language is strong, and the storyline is emotionally engaging. A good read over-all. Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2004