Review – Lord of Emperors

Lord of Emperors (The Sarantine Mosaic, #2)

Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Guy Gavriel Kay might write the must fundamentally human fantasy there is. His stories are steeped in all the love, loss, ambition, and confusion that fills even the most mundane life, yet writ large on lives that echo through the history of this faux-Europe he draws with such deft strokes.

Lord of Emperors finishes the Sarantine Mosaic duology with all the inevitability of history, with triumph and defeat and pain and joy. It is not an easy end, nor one without tears, but it is a grand ending and one I could not stop reading.

One of the most compelling parts of any Kay book, and this one is no different, is how he cuts to the heart of those who do extraordinary things to find why and how they can accomplish such. The genius racer, the great artist, the emperor: all are still simply human, mortal and fallible, but some part of them transcends those limits, and this is what Kay so deftly examines.

In Lord of Emperors, we are shown the kind of will and drive that allows a man, a racer, to ignore near mortal injury and even his own chance at winning to create a perfect race for his team. The artist, Crispin, faced with a loss nearly as great as when plague took his family from him, can do nothing but what he has done, and creates. The emperor… Well, I will not spoil that.

Every book of Kay’s I reads becomes another favorite. This is no exception.



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Review – Sailing to Sarantium

Sailing to Sarantium (The Sarantine Mosaic, #1)

Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Guy Gavriel Kay never fails to write exquisite prose, in my experience, and this book is no different.

Yet another venture into “Europe a quarter turn to the left,” this is the story of a man on the road from Varena to the imperial capitol of Sarantium (an alternate version of Byzantium) to decorate the newly built sanctuary of Jad there with a grand mosaic. But this book is also about mystery, about what there is behind the veil and how we here in the world are to understand our place in it.

There is, of course, almost unbearable humanity in the story, and an aching meditation on art and the artist.

It is beautiful, and heartfelt, and exciting.



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