Starred Review. Kay (The Last Light of the Sun) departs from his usual historical fantasies to connect the ancient, violent history of France to the present day in this entrancing contemporary fantasy. Fifteen-year-old Canadian Ned Marriner accompanies his famous photographer father, Edward, on a shoot at Aix-en-Provence's Saint-Saveur Cathedral while his physician mother, Meghan, braves the civil war zone in Sudan with Doctors Without Borders. As Ned explores the old cathedral, he meets Kate Wenger, a geeky but attractive American girl who's a walking encyclopedia of history. In the ancient baptistry, the pair are surprised by a mysterious, scarred man wielding a knife who warns that they've "blundered into a corner of a very old story. It is no place for children." But Ned and Kate can't avoid becoming dangerously entangled in a 2,500-year-old love triangle among mythic figures. Kay also weaves in a secondary mystery about Ned's family and his mother's motivation behind her risky, noble work. The author's historical detail, evocative writing and fascinating characters—both ancient and modern—will enthrall mainstream as well as fantasy readers. (Feb.)
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In Kay's eagerly awaited new book set mostly in twenty-first-century Aix-en-Provence, 15-year-old Ned Marriner is spending a spring vacation with his celebrated photographer father during a shoot of the Cathedral of Saint-Sauveur. His mother, a physician with Doctors without Borders, is in the Sudan, so Ned and Dad are extremely worried. Exploring Saint-Sauveur, Ned meets American exchange-student Kate Wenger, who knows a lot about the history of Aix. The two surprise a knife-carrying, scar-faced stranger in the cathedral, who tells them, "I think you ought to go. . . . You have blundered into the corner of a very old story." Ned and Kate, then the rest of his family, including the aunt and uncle from England and his mother, are drawn into an ancient conflict with the shades of Celtic spirits. Kay characterizes Ned superbly as he matures amid fantastic circumstances until he is able to make the final sacrifice; reader disbelief is unimperiled, and psychobabble unindulged. Outstanding characters, folklore, and action add up to another Kay must-read. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
I think this book gets a bit of a hard time. If you like Guy Gavriel Kay, and you've read the Fionavar trilogy, there's lots here to enjoy. Read morePublished 8 days ago by CalltheDoctor
The first few chapters were promising, but spending several dozen pages trying to develop a spoiled teenage boy into the protagonist of the story is making this book more of a... Read morePublished on March 23 2011 by Kokanee
I just can't finish this book. It started out decently, but about 130 or so pages in it just tanked. Read morePublished on May 4 2010 by D. Joyce
Having read the other reviews, I realize what I have to say it going to seem redundant, but I wanted to say it nonetheless: this is not Kay's best work. Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2009 by Why Not
Kay is a graceful writer, polished and fluent beyond words. I own all of his previous books (except for his poetry collection) and there is not a weak one in the bunch. Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2007 by A reader
As an avid fan of the Summer Tree and the Fionavar Tapestry I was startled (and in some ways delighted) to find that Ysabel is in fact a sequel to this wonderful fantasy tale (or... Read morePublished on June 17 2007 by EBT
I have never read one of Guy Gavriel Kay's novels before. I was intrigued by the reviews, but I am not quite as thrilled as I thought I would be. Read morePublished on March 21 2007 by Reader of all sorts.