Guy Gavriel Kay. I’m as surprised as you are seeing as he’s an author seemingly universally loved by anyone who’s into fantasy fiction but there you go. As shallow a reason as it is, I’ll confess to not being too impressed by some of the cover art (a long time ago now) and never got round to picking his work up.
All that’s about to change though. In keeping with my resolution to read new stuff I rescued my advance copy of ‘Under Heaven’ (from one of the many boxes lying around the house at the moment) and will be reading it whenever I can get away from cleaning and unpacking etc. It appears to be a standalone work and that seems like as good a place as any to get started. Here’s the blurb...
It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father's last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.
You give a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You give him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor.
Wisely, the gift comes with the stipulation that Tai must claim the horses in person. Otherwise he would probably be dead already...
Reading time has been severely curtailed of late but it looks like that will be changing imminently. Emergency surgery on Friday night has resulted in two weeks off work so plenty of time for reading (not sure what all this is going to do to my blogging schedule though, please bear with me!) Keep an eye out for a review of ‘Under Heaven’ hopefully very soon.
In the meantime though, I’d like to hear what your experiences of Kay’s work have been like. Are you a fan or did you give him a try and think, ‘never again...’? Does Kay only write historical fantasy or does he write regular fantasy as well? Is ‘Under Heaven’ a fair enough place to begin or is there a ‘classic’ work of his that you think any newcomer of his should pick up first? If ‘Under Heaven’ works for me I can see myself finding more of his books to read so all comments are very welcome! :o)