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  1. #1
    Lord of the Wild Hunt Mithfânion's Avatar
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    Under Heaven: New Guy Gavriel Kay

    So the new Kay book is called "Under Heaven", comes out in April 2010 and here is the synopsis:

    The world could bring you poison in a jeweled cup, or surprising gifts. Sometimes you didn't know which of them it was...

    Penguin Group (Canada) is pleased to announce the new novel from World Fantasy Award Winner and international bestseller Guy Gavriel Kay

    UNDER HEAVEN will be published in April 2010, and takes place in a world inspired by the glory and power of Tang Dynasty China in the 8th century, a world in which history and the fantastic meld into something both memorable and emotionally compelling.

    In the novel, Shen Tai is the son of a general who led the forces of imperial Kitai in the empire's last great war against its western enemies, twenty years before. Forty thousand men, on both sides, were slain by a remote mountain lake. General Shen Gao himself has died recently, having spoken to his son in later years about his sadness in the matter of this terrible battle.

    To honour his father's memory, Tai spends two years in official mourning alone at the battle site by the blue waters of Kuala Nor. Each day he digs graves in hard ground to bury the bones of the dead. At night he can hear the ghosts moan and stir, terrifying voices of anger and lament. Sometimes he realizes that a given voice has ceased its crying, and he knows that is one he has laid to rest.

    The dead by the lake are equally Kitan and their Taguran foes; there is no way to tell the bones apart, and he buries them all with honour.

    It is during a routine supply visit led by a Taguran officer who has reluctantly come to befriend him that Tai learns that others, much more powerful, have taken note of his vigil. The White Jade Princess Cheng-wan, 17th daughter of the Emperor of Kitai, presents him with two hundred and fifty Sardian horses. They are being given in royal recognition of his courage and piety, and the honour he has done the dead.

    You gave a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You gave 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.

    Tai is in deep waters. He needs to get himself back to court and his own emperor, alive. Riding the first of the Sardian horses, and bringing news of the rest, he starts east towards the glittering, dangerous capital of Kitai, and the Ta-Ming Palace - and gathers his wits for a return from solitude by a mountain lake to his own forever-altered life.

  2. #2
    Reader Moderator NickeeCoco's Avatar
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    It sounds fantastic. I don't know anything about that period or that far east, for that matter. I'll have to brush up, just so I can get the play on history. It also reminds me of the Sarantine Mosaic duology, at least in the sense of some lowly guy doing his thing and then gets entangled in court affairs. This is a book that I will purchase and begin reading the day it's released.

  3. #3
    Omnibus Prime Moderator PeterWilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickeeCoco View Post
    It sounds fantastic. I don't know anything about that period or that far east, for that matter. I'll have to brush up, just so I can get the play on history.
    Let me make a brief argument against it and in favor of a reading/learning experiment. First, GGK is definitely "top shelf." Second, my formal education was a degree in history. To be able to read GGK's work, without having been familiarized, or tainted (depending upon the point of view), with 8th-century history of China, is a one-time only opportunity. If you find your interest piqued, then go through some historical accounts of 8th-century Chinese history and return to re-read Under Heaven. Then, you'll see: 1) how much you liked Kay's handling of it, 2) whether or not your view of his book changes and 3) if your understanding of the various meanings embedded throughout the book transform or evolve.

    As an aside, while studying at University, I found ancient Chinese history rather compelling.

  4. #4
    Reader Moderator NickeeCoco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterWilliam View Post
    Let me make a brief argument against it and in favor of a reading/learning experiment. First, GGK is definitely "top shelf." Second, my formal education was a degree in history. To be able to read GGK's work, without having been familiarized, or tainted (depending upon the point of view), with 8th-century history of China, is a one-time only opportunity. If you find your interest piqued, then go through some historical accounts of 8th-century Chinese history and return to re-read Under Heaven. Then, you'll see: 1) how much you liked Kay's handling of it, 2) whether or not your view of his book changes and 3) if your understanding of the various meanings embedded throughout the book transform or evolve.

    As an aside, while studying at University, I found ancient Chinese history rather compelling.
    I don't know. . . I studied Classical Civilizations in University and so when the Sarantine duology came out, I really enjoyed finding the elements of Justinian and Theodora and the whatnot. I had read El Cid (in English translation) before reading Lions of Al-Rassan. . . I'm just one of those nerds who likes to see something as she reads and be able to say "I know about that!"

    However, I totally see your point.

  5. #5
    Rogue Warrior
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    This new one sounds pretty cool.

  6. #6
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    Is this in an alternate/fantasy world like his others, or on actual Earth?

  7. #7
    Lord of the Wild Hunt Mithfânion's Avatar
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    I think it's alternate, like all his other novels. The first line says "inspired by The Tang dynasty of 8th century China".

  8. #8
    Illustrious Gambler saintjon's Avatar
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    I can't wait. GGK is a national treasure.

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