The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
Paperback – 512 pages
Publisher – Roc Trade (April 5, 2005)
Average Customer Review on Amazon – 4 stars
Editorial Review from Publishers Weekly:
In this wonderfully imaginative historical fantasy from Kay (A Song for Arbonne), seemingly random deeds connect Erling (Viking) raiders and Anglcyn (English) and Cyngael (Welsh) princes: If only Bern Thorkellson hadn’t stolen that horse in a desperate act of vengeance against his sorry fate; if only Dai ab Owyn hadn’t stepped outside the safety of Brynfell right at the moment when the Erlings attacked; if only Ivarr Ragnarson hadn’t been born ill-formed and downright cruel; if only Aeldred hadn’t been king of the Anglcyn; if only Thorkell Einarson had murdered only one man and not the second; if only Alun ab Owyn hadn’t stepped into that pool on a moonless night and seen the Queen of the Elves in procession. At first glance, each individual’s act appears to be a normal human response. It’s only later, as the characters’ paths cross, that the pieces come together to weave a dazzling tapestry of conjoined fates. Solid research, filtered through vibrant prose, serves to convey a sense of how people really lived and died in Viking and Anglo-Saxon times and how they might have interacted with the realm of magic on a daily basis. Readers of lighter fantasy should be forewarned—the novel contains a lot of gruesome killing and the fairy world plays a relatively minor role, as do women.
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Chapter One Excerpt:
A horse, he came to understand, was missing. Until it was found nothing could proceed. The island marketplace was crowded on this grey morning in spring. Large, armed, bearded men were very much present, but they were not here for trade. Not today. The market would not open, no matter how appealing the goods on a ship from the south might be.
He had arrived clearly at the wrong time.
Firaz ibn Bakir, merchant of Fezana, deliberately embodying in his brightly coloured silks (not nearly warm enough in the cutting wind) the glorious Khalifate of Al-Rassan, could not help but see this delay as yet another trial imposed upon him for transgressions in a less than virtuous life.