Guy Gavriel Kay has a new book coming out next week!
A new GG Kay book is always cause for celebration and this one is no exception. Start lining up at the bookstore: Children of Earth and Sky goes on sale on May 10.
Not familiar with this award-winning, international-bestselling, Canadian author’s books? (Seriously? What have you been reading all this time?) Kay’s books combine history and fantasy with a distinctive storytelling voice, compelling characters, and unique settings.
Many of the books are interrelated; they take place in the same universe, although at different times throughout the history of that universe. Children of Earth and Sky is set in Renaissance Europe, and is one of his best.
I would recommend Children of Earth and Sky to anyone, but I especially recommend it if you love epic sagas, historical fiction with enough detail to make it utterly believable, a hint of fantasy to lift it from the ordinary, and if you love books with a large cast of relatable characters journeying to far flung locations engaging in heroic adventures. There is love and hardship, war, and intrigue, and of course, a map at the beginning, essential for any good historical fantasy book worth its weight.
Can’t wait until May 10 to start reading?
Then start with his earlier works in the meantime. There’s something here for everyone:
Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors take place in Byzantium in the 6th century at the time of Justinian I: roman empire, chariot racing, political intrigue, artists, romance, and pagan magic. These might be my faves.
The Lions of Al-Rassan: Andalusian Spain during the time of El Cid in the 11th century. More political intrigue (present in all of Kay’s books, and something he always does well), religious conflict between three warring groups (think Jews, Christians and Muslims, only fictional), heroics, romance… This one’s got it all.
The Last Light of the Sun: Saxon England at the time of Alfred the Great in the 9th century. Vikings! Faeries! Revenge! Set in the same historical world as Lions and the Sarantine Mosaic books, as well as Children of Earth and Sky.
A Song for Arbonne takes its inspiration from medieval Provence, with troubadours and courtly love, feuding dukes and warring religions.
Ysabel is a contemporary fantasy book about a boy who accompanies his father to Provence and becomes enmeshed in an ancient story of Romans and Celts. This book won the 2008 World Fantasy Novel award and was the one that got me hooked on Kay’s books.
Tigana leans more towards fantasy than history, and deals with warring sorcerers and a rebellious country whose name and history have been magically erased from the minds of its inhabitants.
Under Heaven (Tang Dynasty China during the 8th century) and River of Stars (several hundred years later, during the Song Dynasty). These two historical fiction novels are filled with dynastic struggles and palace intrigue, rebellions and battles.
Finally, there are the three books that make up the Fionavar Tapestry (The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire and The Darkest Road), Kay’s earliest works. Five U of T students are magically whisked from modern day Toronto to Fionavar to fulfill their destinies and complete their quests. The books are LOTR-esque, with Arthurian characters and Norse mythology mixed in.
Those should keep you busy until Children of Earth and Sky comes out. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy from Penguin Random House, and I loved it, but I read it too quickly, and now I have to wait impatiently for Kay’s next book… which means I’ll just have to start re-reading all his other books to pass the time.