Wednesday, December 01, 1999

Review: "Tigana" by Guy Gavriel Kay

"One man sees a riselka,
his life forks there.
Two men see a riselka,
one of them shall die.
Three men see a riselka,
one is blessed, one forks, one shall die."

I found the most striking thing about this book to be, not the richly textured setting, or the intricate plotting, or the superb writing, but instead the simple ending that seemed to open up a whole new vista to be explored.

Guy Gavriel Kay, and this book in particular, have been highly recommended to me by many people for quite some time now. After reading Tigana, I wish I had listened to those people sooner.

This is a remarkable epic of a people whose name has been stripped from them. A conquering sorcerer stripped the name from the land after his son was killed in the province, and now only natives of the province and wizards can hear the name - Tigana. But a group of the people, led by the rightful prince of Tigana, is about to set in motion a chain of events that could bring the name back to the world - or doom it to be lost forever. In the process, they have to throw off the yoke of another conquering sorcerer to free the land.

This book reminded me greatly of Tolkien's sense of epic adventure. Not to say it was a knock-off of Tolkien, quite the contrary. It simply reminded me of his work through the richness of the world and the cultures that Kay presents - the grandeur, if you will. His world, as well as his story, is brilliantly imagined and flawlessly carried out.

This is not a book to be entered into lightly, though, if you don't have a lot of time to read. The chapters are very long, and its hard to find a good place to put it down. It will keep you up past your bedtime for a couple of nights.

Kay is a writer that I'm going to have to spend more time with in the future.