Friday, February 20, 2009

Guy Gavriel Kay

Many authors write books in the genre that are full of action, magic and adventure. A few of these authors carve niches for themselves by having different views that set them apart. Fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay is a unique voice in the fantasy genre. His books create vivid fantasy worlds and stories that live on in a reader's thoughts and hearts for a long time.

The “Fionavar Tapestry” trilogy mixes Celtic, Arthurian and other mythologies for a deeply moving Epic Fantasy. Five college students from our world are transported to the world of Fionavar. They each must play a role in the battle to stop the evil power trying to take control of this world. There is tragedy and triumph throughout the books. The trilogy consists of: The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire and The Darkest Road.

Later Mr. Kay turned to historical fantasy with magic and mythic elements. These books take place in some historical period or alternate historical period but have fantastic events happening and interesting characters.

Tigana is set in an alternate medieval kingdom sort of like Italy. The kingdom of Tigana is under a curse due to the soldiers killing the sorcerer’s young son Stevan. Many of the characters fight to free the kingdom from the curse so they can regain their memory. This book is different from the usual battles between good and evil. There are many shades of gray. Mr. Kay produces a beautiful book of depth, plot and character.

Inspired by medieval France, Mr. Kay wrote his next book A Song for Arbonne. The book’s plot weaves around the the themes of art, religious strife and courtly love. The story is vivid take on a time that is romantic to modern day readers. Kay proves his talents again in writing a memorable story for readers.

In his next book, The Lions of Al-Rassan, readers are treated to an alternate medieval Spain with cultures similar to the Moors, Christians and Jews of that period. The author uses the legends based on EL Cid and others to frame a powerful story in this alternate world. There is no obvious magic in the book, but the reader gets Kay's usual depth of character and themes as his other books.

Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors belong to the duology called the "Sarantine Mosaic". Crispin is a mosaicist (an artist that makes pictures from colored tiles) who travels to Sarantium and gets caught up in political intrigue. This is a rich story of characters and themes set in an alternate Byzantine empire.

Next, Mr. Kay explores the ancient world of the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, and Celts in Last Light of the Sun. This alternate historical fantasy follows the struggles of three people’s as they learn to coexist in a different Britain. Bern Thorkellson must come to grips with his past as he travels to a new land. King Aeldred struggles to control his capricious children while dealing with threats to his kingdom. The Celtic-like character, Alun ab Owyn, must deal with the strange fairy creatures he encounters. Mr. Kay weaves a dark book of a bloody period in the world’s history.

Mr. Kay’s most recent book is Ysabel, which won the World Fantasy award. This book is a Mythic Fantasy set in modern day Provence, France. Nick Marrinner is a fifteen year old boy who travels with his father to the region. He must face mythic creatures from the Celtic and Roman battles of the past that threaten him and his family. The author demonstrates his great writing skills to present readers with a thought provoking, memorable book.

Whether writing Epic Fantasy or Historical Fantasy, Guy Gavriel Kay is a fantasy author of high quality. He weaves complex themes and subjects like mosaics, poetry, and music into fantasy worlds of unforgettable beauty. His use of mythic elements makes each book a powerful read. Each of his books should be read by lovers of fantasy. More information can be found at the web site dedicated to him at:

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