Jul. 12th, 2007

alobear: (Default)

I'd read Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay before, but the only thing I could remember about it was that it's very good.  I was hoping, on selecting it from the shelf, not to be disappointed, as I was by his Fionovar Tapestry when I reread it a couple of years ago.  Luckily, Sarantium was just as good as I'd remembered.

It's about a mosaicist who travels to a city styled on Ancient Rome to take up an imperial commission.  Doesn't sound all that exciting, but there's plenty of political intrigue, religious conflict, international relations and stirring action.

The book is, quite deliberately, like a mosaic itself, intricately put together so that a glorious over-riding picture emerges from lots of small scenes and interesting characters.  It might be said that there are rather too many characters to keep track of, but paying attention brings the reward of noticing many important little details.

Two gripes - I don't like the way the narrative occasionally switches from past to present tense, and the authorial pronouncements of foreboding are really annoying.

However, overall, an excellent book with what I hope is an excellent sequel.

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