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Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay

Lord of Emperors (2000)

by Guy Gavriel Kay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Sarantine Mosaic (2)

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1,626304,455 (4.18)128
  1. 20
    Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World by Colin Wells (Busifer)
    Busifer: Reading this book makes you realize how much of what Kay wrote in The Sarantine Mosaic was lifted from 'real' history, but it also deepens your knowledge of the era and what it has meant to modern society.

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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Even though I have some misgivings about the ending, I still rate this book ten out of ten.
It's the characters. Kay gives us a wide range of characters, some of whom have ordered assassinations, started wars, hurt someone who was injured, betrayed husbands or lovers, etc. Yet, for all of them, there is an underlying humanity. We understand why they did what the did, even when we don't approve of it, and cannot hate them (with just one exception, whom even Crispin hates).
I love the relationship between the Emperor and the Empress. They have a deep love and total trust in one another. It's so rare to find closely married couples in fiction.
I love the description of the chariot race - Kay brings it to life on the page.
The politics and the food all come to life.
I've visited Hagia Sophia. In my mind's eye, it now has Crispin's mosaic on the dome.

The only thing that I fail to find totally convincing is the number of women who fall for Crispin, though at least (because he is still mourning for his late wife), he doesn't sleep with them all.

The woman he ends up with caught me by surprise. I can partly see why (understanding of each other's loss), but I'm not totally convinced. However, this is a book I will definitely want to read again, so I shall see how it strikes me the second time around. ( )
  JudithProctor | Mar 11, 2018 |
...Lord of Emperors offers everything a reader might wish from a Guy Gavriel Kay novel. Beautiful language, an eye for historical detail, the drama of history unfolding through the eyes of large and small players. I greatly enjoyed the setting in particular. The story itself is appropriately Byzantine, but in its treatment of his characters, the female ones in particular, it is perhaps a bit over the top. The slow afterburn that concludes the novel doesn't do it any favours either. All things considered it is a good but not exceptional novel.

Full Random Comments review. ( )
  Valashain | Mar 19, 2017 |
Simply beautiful. I'm gutted that it's over. proper review later on at kateofmind.blogspot.com ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
Made an attempt to read this book. Because I hadn't read the earlier books of the series, it made no sense. Got maybe ten pages in and gave up ( )
  gilroy | Nov 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guy Gavriel Kayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Birdsong, KeithCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Timing and turning in a widening gyre . . .
Aut lux hic est, aut capta hic libera regnat.
Light was either born here or, held captive, here reigns free.

---Inscription in Ravenna, among the mosaics
I think that if I cold be given a month of Antiquity and leave top spend it where I chose, I would spend it in Byzantium a little before Justinian opened St. Sophia and closed the Academy of Plato. I think I could find in some little wine-shop some philosophical worker in mosaic who could answer all my questions, the supernatural descending nearer to him . . .

W.B. Yeats, A Vision
For Sam and Matthew,
'the singing-masters of my soul.'

This belongs to them, beginning and end.
First words
Amid the first hard winds of winter, the King of Kings of Bassania, Shirvan the Great, Brother to the Sun and Moons, Sword of Perun, Scourge of Black Azal, left his walled city of Kabadh and journeyed south and west with much of his court to examine the state of his fortifications in that part of the lands he ruled, to sacrifice at the ancient Holy Fire of the priestly caste, and to hunt lions in the desert.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061020028, Mass Market Paperback)

For whatever reason, Guy Gavriel Kay just insists on getting better and better. Sailing to Sarantium outshone the already excellent Lions of Al-Rassan, and now Lord of Emperors--the stunning second half of the Sarantine Mosaic--somehow surpasses even its predecessors.

Emperors picks up the story of the overwhelmed but still tenacious Crispin, now Imperial Mosaicist to Valerius II and thoroughly steeped in the machinations of Sarantium--not to mention being personally entangled in the lives of the emperor, the empress, and now his own queen, the exiled Gisel. Lord of Emperors also sends a new protagonist sailing into Sarantium, an unassuming country doctor who--like Caius--has found himself thrust into a position of great potential and peril, a victim of both circumstance and his own competence and moxie. The two struggle to stay afloat in Sarantium's swirling intrigues, as Valerius prepares for war in Crispin's homeland and unexplained, ghostly fires flicker around the city.

A touching, literate, and doggedly intelligent book, Lord of Emperors continues to prove Kay's mastery of historical fantasy (Sarantium being a well-researched analog to sixth-century Byzantium under Justinian and Theodora), as he gracefully spins a rich, convincing weave of legend and history. While other fantasy titles might have us imagine our lives as great heroes, Kay leaves a far more lasting impression by celebrating the heroics and passions of ordinary people who possess extraordinary character and spirit. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:34 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In this conclusion to the sequence begun with"Sailing to Sarantium, " Crispin, the mosaicist, has achieved his journey to fabled Sarantium and only wants to confront the challenges of his art high on the scaffolding of destiny. But in Sarantium no human may easily withdraw from the turmoils of court and city, or forget that the presence of the half-world is always close at hand.… (more)

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