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by Guy Gavriel Kay

Download Sarantine Mosaic #1 Sailing To Sarantium fb2, epub

ISBN: 014301434X
Author: Guy Gavriel Kay
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Canada (April 15, 2003)
Pages: 576
Subcategory: Literature
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 124
Size Fb2: 1911 kb
Size ePub: 1331 kb
Size Djvu: 1683 kb
Other formats: lit txt lrf doc

Sailing to. Sarantium. Book 1 of the sarantine mosaic.

Sailing to. My mother guided me to books as a child and then to the belief I could write my own. She still does that.

Guy Gavriel Kay, the international bestselling and multiple award-winning author of The Fionavar Tapestry. Sailing to Sarantium confirms, yet again, Kay’s status as one of our most accomplished and engaging storytellers. For some time now, Guy Gavriel Kay has been recognized as one of the finest writers of high fantasy in the world. Kay has constructed his novel as a literary mosaic of great intricacy and delicacy.

Sailing to Sarantium. The Sarantine Mosaic by. Guy Gavriel Kay (Goodreads Author). Aside from the early attempts at writing Tolkienesque high fantasy, all of Guy Gavriel Kay’s books, while nominally part of the fantasy genre, have clearly defined historical backgrounds. But whereas in Tigana the inspiration from Renaissance Italy merely helped set up the style of the world, Sailing to Sarantium at times seems more like a historical novel set in the 6th century in the Byzantine Empire.

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The Sarantine Mosaic is a historical fantasy duology by Canadian writer Guy Gavriel Kay, comprising Sailing to Sarantium (1998) and Lord of Emperors (2000). The titles of the novels allude to works by poet W. B. Yeats

The Sarantine Mosaic is a historical fantasy duology by Canadian writer Guy Gavriel Kay, comprising Sailing to Sarantium (1998) and Lord of Emperors (2000). Yeats. Book One of The Sarantine Mosaic.

Guy Kay. Sailing to Sarantium . Publisher: HarperPrism, 1998. Valerius the Trakesian has great ambition. Rumored to be responsible for the ascension of the previous Emperor, his uncle, amid fire and blood, Valerius himself has now risen to the Golden Throne of the vast empire ruled by the fabled city, Sarantium. Guy Gavriel Kay’s magnificent historical fantasies draw from the twin springs of history and legend to create seamless worlds as vibrant as any in literature. Sailing to Sarantium begins THE SARANTINE MOSAIC, a new and signal triumph by today’s most esteemed master of high fantasy.

Sarantium is the golden city: holy to the faithful, exalted by the poets, jewel of the world and heart of an empire. The artisan Caius Crispus accepts a mysterious summons from the emperor and sets off on a journey toward the distant city. But before Crispin can reach Sarantium, with its taverns and gilded sanctuaries, chariot races and palaces, he must pass through a land of pagan ritual and mortal danger.

In this first volume of the Sarantine Mosaic, Guy Gavriel Kay weaves an utterly compelling story of the allure and intrigue of a magnificent city and the people drawn into its spell.


The Sarantine Mosaic is the best book(s) I've read this year. I'm familiar with some of Kay's other work, which I enjoyed, but for some reason it's taken me a while to get to this duology. Like his other books, Kay integrates some wonderful language and writing in a semi-fantastical historical context... which means it's sometimes a struggle to get started (adjusting to a number of similiar-sounding character and place names, for example), but momentum builds and the reader can settle in to enjoy some truly rich content.

I never really thought the story of a mosaicist would be all that interesting--perhaps why I avoided this for a while--but there's much more to this tale than just art. Political intrigue, action and personal relationships and romance are all crucial to an engrossing story.

Of the two books, I preferred Book One slightly, as Book Two spends more time on supporting characters in order to move the plot forward to what is a pretty satisfying conclusion. This is probably my favorite work by Kay to date (having read Tigana and Lions previously), and is highly recommended.
Guy Gavriel Kay is a Canadian fantasy author who is probably best known for his Fionavr Tapestry trilogy, which I read a few years ago. That series is a relatively conventional entry in the genre which follows a group of five friends who move back and forth between our Earth and a parallel world where magic and other common fantasy tropes exist. However, most of his work is in a particular sub-genre which can best be described as "historical fantasy"; he sets his novels in fictionalized versions of actual historical periods populated by characters who are adopted from world-famous people of extreme significance such as the 8th Century Tang Dynasty in China, medieval Italy and medieval Spain.

The Sarantine Mosaic is the name given to his diptych of novels Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors. They are based in a world where the "Lord of Emperors" Valerius II and his beautiful empress Alixana rule in a fabled city called Sarantium where the populace is completely obsessed with chariot races and there are multiple competing religious beliefs, with worship of the Sun God Jad being the most prominent. This is a thinly veiled fictionalization of the 6th century Byzantine period in which Justinian II ruled with his queen Theodora in Constantinople as part of the Eastern edge of the Roman empire.

The main character we follow is Caius Crispus (who is better known as Crispin), a mosaicist who has recently lost his wife and child to the plague. His aging mentor is summoned to the capital of Trakesia (Sarantium) to create a mosaic for the Emperor but they agree to have Crispin go in his place, since he has nothing really tying him to his hometown of Varena, in the land of Batiara. The first book, Sailing to Sarantium, is primarily about his eventful journey from Batiara to Trakesia, but then it gets even more interesting when Crispin arrives in Sarantium and is immersed into the complex politics of the palace and the capital city. Another key aspect of the books is Kay's portrayal of the chariot races in the Hippodrome as well as the obsessive enthusiasm the city has for the two rival factions: the Blues and the Greens.

One of the strongest features of Kay's writing is his ability to incorporate many details and intricate backstory to construct and communicate a very clear picture of the culture of the fascinating time and place he sets his books. In fact, some would argue that he devotes so much of his text towards the atmospherics in The Sarantine Mosaic that the plot and story development suffers. There's no question that events sloooowly unfold, but the atmosphere generally hooks you so completely that even though I kept on putting the books down to read other more rapidly plotted books (such as Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict novels), I repeatedly returned to Kay's work because I cared about Crispin and I wanted to return to Sarantium to find out what happened to him. It literally took me around 6 months to finish both books but I am glad that I did. I very rarely read more than one book at a time, but somehow I was able to do this with the The Sarantine Mosaic, which is a testament to Kay's clarity of exposition that even after returning to the books after a long break one can immediately be re-engrossed.

In the second book Lord of Emperors (which resumes right where the first book ends) story takes a central role as Kay starts deploying all the characters he has introduced to produce a gripping series of events which surprises and emotionally impacts the reader. Crispis is the main character, but there are at least four women in his orbit who are all extremely important in Sarantium: Alixana, the Empress of Sarantium; Gisele, the exiled Queen who escaped an assassination attempt back in their common hometown of Batiara and is now relatively powerless in her country's longtime enemy's capital city; Shirin, the daughter of Crispin's mentor who has become the most desired woman in Sarantium as the primary dancer aligned with the Greens (one of the city's two rival chariot racing cohorts); and Styliane, the blonde, beautiful wife of the commander of the Sarantine Army who is also daughter of the previous Emperor and is widely considered the second most important woman in the capital city, a sort of Empress-in-waiting. The ways in which the lives and stories of these women (and the men who love them) intersect and develop is quite affecting.

In fact, after I finished the books I really think that The Sarantine Mosaic is ripe for a filmic adaptation. I'm not sure it would work well as a television series (there's not enough plot for that) but as either a major motion picture or a "short" miniseries of 6-8 hours I think it would work very well; there's a lot of sex, politics, romance, betrayal and beauty which would be compelling to most viewers.

Title: Sailing to Sarantium.
Author: Guy Gavriel Kay.
Paperback: 560 pages.
Publisher: Harper Voyager.
Date: January 5, 2000.

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).


Title: Lord of Emperors.
Author: Guy Gavriel Kay.
Paperback: 576 pages.
Publisher: Harper Voyager.
Date: February 6, 2001.

OVERALL GRADE: A/A- (3.83/4.0).

Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favorite authors. His work is either historical fiction, or based in a historical alter-verse that is fully fleshed out in terms of economics, politics, culture, art, etc... This two part series is one of his best. Interesting characters that evolve over time as they experience the interesting challenges of the story. Well structured plot lines that are never predictable. You don't ever know what to expect from the next page, let alone the next chapter. A fabulous beach read if you like something to sweep you away into another world with people you would actually like to meet.
I have never read a book by Guy Gavier Kay that I didn't love. His characters are so well developed you think you know them personally. Kay always builds his books around multiple great characters that you must work your mind to keep track of them all. When I read his books it is like reading good poetry. Beautiful writng, complex plots, and although this is book one with a follow up book to finish the over all story, Kay never leaves you hanging in his books. You can read it as a stand alone novel. He gives rich details of the time period and, enough action to keep you turning the page. If you read one Kay book you will be hooked, and searching out more of his books. He is an adult fantasy writer, without the usual foul language or explicit sex. Great read!
I just can't say enough good things about GGK's writing. As an avid and voracious reader especially sci fi and fantasy, there are very few authors that I will read-- read anything they have written... knowing I will not be disappointed. GGK is one of those few. I love just about everything he has written... at first, his alternate-history type stories were a bit harder for me to get into. But i am glad I stuck with them... they are very rewarding and insightful. This book was a roman(?)esque backdrop.. rich world and well developed characters. I raced through the book, and then was sad when it was finished.

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