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Under Heaven Hardcover – Mar 30 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Canada; 1st Edition edition (March 30 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670068098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670068098
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 953 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #120,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Haslam on April 27 2010
Format: Hardcover
It feels wrong on many levels to review a novel by Guy Gavriel Kay, as he is a writer of a such skill, talent and dedication. Really, who am I to evaluate his work? But as a reader it's good to know what you will enjoy vs. what you will not.

Simply put, if you have ever enjoyed a Guy Gavriel Kay novel you will not only enjoy this one, you will be glad that he wrote it. Guy exploded onto the fantasy novel scene with the Fionavar Tapestry series, and followed it up with the masterfull "Tiganna". It would be hard for any author to reach those heights reliably and repeatedly. But he managed it again with "The Lions of Al Rassan" and perhaps somewhat less successfully with "A Song for Arbonne". But as a reader I felt dissappointed with "Last Light of the Sun" and "Ysabel". While they retained the poetry expected of GGK they lacked the immediacy of his earlier work. They were poetic as expected, but the pacing seemed off, the stories somehow less gripping. Reading them was like watching a movie that was beautifully shot but where nothing of real substance takes place.

But with "Under Heaven" Guy is able to present us with a story that is both poetic AND immediate. It's complex but accessible, substantial. Truly a pleasure to read. Enjoy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick St-Denis TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 31 2010
Format: Hardcover
It doesn't habitually take this long for me to write a review, but I needed time to let Under Heaven sink in properly before doing so. I needed time to gather my thoughts to come up with something that would fully encompass how I felt when I reached the last page of Guy Gavriel Kay's latest. And yet, though I've given this much thought, I'm woefully aware that this pathetic review can never do justice to just how grandiose Under Heaven truly is. Simply put, this is one of the very best novels I have ever read.

Indeed, Under Heaven showcases a Guy Gavriel Kay at the top of his game. No stranger to quality books and memorable reads that remain with you long after you've reached their ending, the author has set the bar rather high throughout his career. To be honest, I doubted that Kay could ever produce a work that would surpass Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan. Of course, I should have known better than to think that Kay had already reached his peak. And with Under Heaven, Kay came up with his best work thus far.

Here's the blurb:

UNDER HEAVEN will be published in April 2010, and takes place in a world inspired by the glory and power of Tang Dynasty China in the 8th century, a world in which history and the fantastic meld into something both memorable and emotionally compelling. In the novel, Shen Tai is the son of a general who led the forces of imperial Kitai in the empire's last great war against its western enemies, twenty years before. Forty thousand men, on both sides, were slain by a remote mountain lake. General Shen Gao himself has died recently, having spoken to his son in later years about his sadness in the matter of this terrible battle.
Read more ›
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By Dianne Richardson on Feb. 7 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I should have bought this book new as I have most of the books by this author on my shelf.
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Format: Hardcover
This is my unpretencious opinion, as an avid fantasy, fiction and occasionally historal book reader, in the hope that it will help readers decide or not to give this book a try. I personnally almost always read reviews before buying a product or in this case, a book.

While the story was intriguing, complex and hinted at mysteries and mystical twists, their themes were not resolved ...leaving the story with many unanswered questions and unresolved plots. I'd even dare to wonder why some of the details were even mentioned if they added no real substance to the story. This could be answered by the assupmtion that the story might have been initially made to involve these themes more, but were in the end left out due to lack of space and/or time ...And that's exactly how the end of the story feels like ..like it's been rushed ...That the author didn't have time to finish it ...that he was rushed by his publisher to complete the book at a certain time and/or wasn't allowed to exceed a certain number of pages. It's unfortunate, because it had a lot of potential and I really enjoyed the journey, expecting the themes that were introduced to be addressed but that didn't happen ..it fell flat, and didn't procure satisfaction at the end of it.

That is why I give it 3 stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Johnson on April 6 2010
Format: Hardcover
Having just finished Under Heaven, I can say that it easily rivals Kay's best works, and is in fact my new favourite book. After the dividing Ysabel, Kay returns to the historical fantasy he is best known for with awesome success. All the reasons I've loved Kay's other books, the superb characterization and flawless storytelling.. The royal courts are so convoluted, very reminiscant of his Fionavar Tapestry series. The chinese-influenced setting is perfect for Kay's style.

Easily 5/5 stars. Possibly his best novel, which is amazing considering the awesomeness of Tigana. An absolute must-read!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By P. Corbett on March 4 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Under Heaven is another delight for Kay fans. Once again he has created a delicately detailed world not quite in a known time and place. Following Shen Tai's journey, physical and spiritual, as he is caught up in a time of upheaval and thrown into the highest company by an unexpected gift is a wonderful glimpse into that world that is, yet is not, the Tang empire. The characters all have depth and their lives slowly resolve into a complete picture as the story rounds out to the end.
I'll give it all a few days to settle into my brain and then begin to read it again to savour the details anew.
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