A Song for Arbonne Mass Market Paperback – May 3 2005
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|Mass Market Paperback, May 3 2005||
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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.
"A master weaver of complex tales.... Kay has once again created the best of all possible worlds."--Maclean's
"Elegant, sweeping and colorful ... one of those books you wish would never end."--San Francisco Chronicle
"A stunning tale of intrigue and power.... A triumph for Kay."--Times-Colonist (Victoria)
"For anyone who appreciates that rarest of literary treasures: the ideal novel."--Charles de Lint --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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").
The primary character, the mercenary Blaise is a man at odds with himself, his family and what his position means to the world at large. Blaise's native land, Gorhaut, is ruled by the amoral King Ademar and the even less scrupulous High Elder and Chief Counsellor, Galbert, who also happens to be Blaise's father. Blaise is a mercenary on a self-imposed exile besmirching his father's name and place in Gorhaut due to a treaty Galbert set up prior to the events of the novel.
In opposition to the male dominated Gorhaut is the female ruled Arbonne. While Arbonne does not overtly oppose Gorhaut, rather Galbert has a vendetta against the woman ruled land. Arbonne has echoes of Avalon in that it is surrounded by mystery and ruled by the Goddess. The novel begins with Blaise arriving at to the courts of Arbonne in his attempt to secure the troubadour Evrard as part of his job for a local duke. Blaise becomes involved in the eventual struggle between Arbonne and his once home nation of Garhaut. As the novel progresses, Blaise and the reader learn more about Arbonne, each characters ultimate connection to Arbonne and how they will play a role in Arbonne's destiny.
The strengths in this novel are Kay's magnificent descriptions of all things chivalric.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Knights,honour,glory, unfrequented love. A true tale. A again Guy leads us along a long and winding road. Very, very good.Published 16 months ago by Michael's Kindle
I'm a Kay fan in general, and enjoy all of his work, particularly his books that contain an alternate vision of history. Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2008 by Jack Blatant
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... Read morePublished on April 24 2003 by Andrew Plimpton
The beginning was a little slow, and the names were difficult at first for me. However, this is a great book. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2003 by Reviewer
I was a little bit reluctant to read such a long book when i wasnt terribley interested after reading the back cover. But i read it anyway. OH MY!! Read morePublished on Dec 14 2002