Guy Gavriel Kay
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View our feature on Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven.In his latest innovative novel, the award-winning author evokes the dazzling Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China in a story of honor and power.
Inspired by the glory and power of Tang dynasty China, Guy Gavriel Kay has created a masterpiece.
It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father's last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.
You give a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You give 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.
Wisely, the gift comes with the stipulation that Tai must claim the horses in person. Otherwise he would probably be dead already...
souls. There are young children in her own family, amazingly. There is music. She teaches herself not to be afraid of horses, and eventually she rides one, a moment never to be lost. There is sadness, there are memories. Qin stays, is made welcome in her father’s home at first, and then in hers. Hwan stays. She is wealthy enough to need a steward to run a household. Zhong Ma goes home. He is young, proud of his journey, and of being a Kanlin. She gives him a letter to carry back. It takes her
trained to be an assassin?” The usual, irritating mistake. “I trained to learn how they think, their disciplines, and how they handle weapons. They are usually guards, or guarantors of a truce, not assassins. I left, fairly abruptly. Some of my teachers may still feel kindly towards me. Others might not. It was years ago. We leave things behind us.” “Well, that’s true enough.” Tai drank his wine. “They think you used them? Tricked them?” Tai was beginning to regret mentioning it. “I just
him so much. Anger was too easily his portion. He’d gone to Stone Drum Mountain, in part, because of that. He’d left for the same reason, in part. She met his gaze, eyes defiant. They were still in the reception pavilion, no one else nearby. “Yes,” she said. “It is also that.” Kanlins, he recalled, were enjoined not to lie. What was he going to say? It was unexpected on her part, given how controlled she was, otherwise. An embracing of folk legends, ancient tales, but she certainly wasn’t
offered them? Zhou forced himself to be calmer, if only for the horse. He looked up at stars, the waning moon, racing clouds. He was saluted by the next set of guards as he approached their station. He nodded vaguely to them, a straight-backed, broad-shouldered, impressive man. It occurred to him, undermining any movement towards tranquility, that if he was—and he was—contemplating having his enemy ruined or killed, it was possible that Roshan was shaping similar thoughts about him. These
Fortress Wujen Ning, a soldier at Iron Gate Tazek Karad, an officer on the Long Wall Kanlin Warriors Wan-si Wei Song Lu Chen Ssu Tan Zhong Ma Artists Sima Zian, a poet, the Banished Immortal Chan Du, a poet In Xinan, the capital Spring Rain, a courtesan in the North District, later named Lin Chang Feng, a guard in the employ of Wen Zhou Hwan, a servant of Wen Zhou Pei Qin, a beggar in the street Ye Lao, a steward Beyond the borders of Kitai West Sangrama