Best Guy Gavriel Kay book?

Brian G Turner

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I'm looking for some historical-based fantasy, and Guy Gavriel Kay has come back up on my radar again.

While the Sarantine duology was reasonably enjoyable for the storytelling, I could never forgive him as a reader for simply using Byzantine history and then putting his name on it instead.

However, I'm tempted to forgive and try something else by him - especially if I don't know which actual story he may be stealing. :D

So far, Under Heaven and Tigana look like they may be interesting (I'll save Lions of Al Rasan for later).

Any comments on which book is GGK's best?
 

svalbard

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The above three are amongst his best. Try Last Light of the Sun. It is set in a world reminiscent of 10/11th century Wales, England and Denmark.
 

Hex

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I used to love Tigana but I haven't read it for years. Under Heaven is wonderful and may well be his best -- though his books are so different it's hard to rank them like that. It's certainly one of my favourites.

I found Last Light of the Sun unbearably gruesome but you're keener on grimdark than I am, so I doubt you'd find it as difficult.

I think many of his stories borrow history and tell stories on top of it. I don't think he tries to hide that's what he's doing!

A little further away from straight history, you might have a look at Ysabel?
 

Grunkins

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Lions of Al Rassan gets my vote for overall best. Tigana and Song for Arbonne are close seconds.
 

Lady of Winterfell

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I have only read Tigana and Last Light of the Sun. It took me 5 months to finish Tigana, and the only reason I did was because I kept expecting it to get better based on everyone else's opinion of the book. I wasn't all that taken with it, but I am in the minority on that.

I personally enjoyed Last Light of the Sun a lot more.
 

williamjm

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While the Sarantine duology was reasonably enjoyable for the storytelling, I could never forgive him as a reader for simply using Byzantine history and then putting his name on it instead.

However, I'm tempted to forgive and try something else by him - especially if I don't know which actual story he may be stealing. :D

So far, Under Heaven and Tigana look like they may be interesting (I'll save Lions of Al Rasan for later).

Any comments on which book is GGK's best?
If you want something less based on historical events then you might prefer Tigana or A Song For Arbonne which may take some inspiration from medieval Italy and France but don't follow real-world history or have versions of real-world characters.

Under Heaven is good (as is the loose sequel River of Stars which is set a few centuries later), it is very heavily based on Chinese history, but unless you know more about medieval China than I do you might not notice.
 

Brian G Turner

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I've read Song for Arbonne, which I found a bit light and unsatisfying - I've started Tigana, which has taken a long time to get started, but now I've reached the premise of what Tigana is it sounds a bit more promising, and hopefully I'll enjoy more.

I do have Under Heaven as well, which I bought for research into Chinese cultural attitudes. I fear it might be a light on detail like Arbonne was, but I'll read it anyway.
 

Rafellin

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For a single book, it has to be Tigana.

Beyond that, The Fionavar Tapestry - an absolute masterclass in weaving everything into a high fantasy of power and depth.
 

williamjm

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I've read Song for Arbonne, which I found a bit light and unsatisfying - I've started Tigana, which has taken a long time to get started, but now I've reached the premise of what Tigana is it sounds a bit more promising, and hopefully I'll enjoy more.

I do have Under Heaven as well, which I bought for research into Chinese cultural attitudes. I fear it might be a light on detail like Arbonne was, but I'll read it anyway.
I think Under Heaven/River of Stars are a lot more detailed than Arbonne or Tigana are in terms of the world-building and they do often focus more on the culture than the plot so you might like them.

Beyond that, The Fionavar Tapestry - an absolute masterclass in weaving everything into a high fantasy of power and depth.
At its best it has some of Kay's best writing, although I'm not sure I'd really say it was the sort of historical fantasy Brian seems to be looking for, it owes more to Tolkien and mythology than history.
 

Rafellin

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At its best it has some of Kay's best writing, although I'm not sure I'd really say it was the sort of historical fantasy Brian seems to be looking for, it owes more to Tolkien and mythology than history.
Good point, mea culpa for lack of attention.
 

BAYLOR

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He's a great writer but, I think Tigana is his best book.(y)
 
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