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The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
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The Lions of Al-Rassan

by Guy Gavriel Kay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,574743,473 (4.3)1 / 407
Recently added byannathecrow, AWBeddow, GraemeSH, Miss_Chief, tim.ohara, JMLandels, bjornar, riddy, private library
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    Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay (Anonymous user)
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    The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett (Anonymous user)
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    The Tyranny of the Night by Glen Cook (Jarandel)
    Jarandel: Both a simile, with Fantasy treatment, of European history in the era of the Crusades. Lions of Al-Rassan centers on the Spanish Reconquista, while the Tyranny of the Night has a wider scope.
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English (73)  French (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
A beautiful story, one that held my attention from start to finish, even though it's not immune from some shortcomings, like the author's penchant for misleading the readers about a character's fate - done once could have been acceptable, but not several times...

Complete review on my blog:
http://spaceandsorcery.blogspot.it/2014/07/the-lions-of-al-rassan-guy-gavriel-ka... ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Dec 25, 2018 |
Not perfect, but I have to admire the way Kay manages to force you to shift gears and follow his pace. Not as evident in this particular novel, but there's still a bit of it.

Although I don't object to the epilogue, I don't really like how it's written (the letter and so on). ( )
  natcontrary | May 21, 2018 |
But for a layer of fantasy, this book pictures the last days of Al-Andalus and the Reconquista, and the struggle of the main characters to find some peace, honor, dignity and freedom in the midst of religious bigotry in a land that was changing forever.
At times slow and at times deeply touching, the story improves along the way, until the reader ends up with the heart in tatters thinking of a world that could have been.
In any case, I would also recommend Amin Maalouf's [b:Leo Africanus|153496|Leo Africanus|Amin Maalouf|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172250764s/153496.jpg|2944320]to whoever liked GGK's Al-Rassan. ( )
  Tacuazin | Feb 28, 2018 |
Guy Gavriel Kay writes lyrical and emotionally powerful prose. Like Tigana, this novel is also filled with a lot of imagery of the moon and the night sky, making this a beautiful romantic work. This deals with the themes of religious strife and politics. Collective insanity of people. Men struggling against the tides of history. The melancholy for the lost past. But ultimately this is an allegory of love. While giving grandeur and romance to war, he also manages to convey the grief and loss involved in it.
It does meander a bit and gets a bit too melodramatic at times, but still a beautiful work.
( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
The Lions of Al-Rassan is the second book I’ve read by Guy Gavriel Kay, the first being Tigana. I really enjoy his writing style. One thing in particular that I’ve enjoyed about both books is that they each managed to satisfy my epic fantasy cravings within a single, standalone novel. I enjoy a good epic fantasy series, but a standalone does have the advantage of being easier to fit into my reading schedule.

The story involves the cultural and religious conflicts between various factions in a peninsula on a fictional world. We follow some of the more influential characters from those different cultures, most of whom are very likeable, as their goals coincide and conflict with each other. The author writes characters and camaraderie very well. Sometimes I thought there was a little too much melodrama, and sometimes events were a bit too coincidental, but mostly it was a well-written and engaging story. It did get to the point where I was laughing every time yet another person ended up in Ragosa, though! And I laughed even harder when one of the characters remarked on it also.

It’s probably arguable whether this book really counts as fantasy. It definitely has a solid epic fantasy feel, depending I guess on what you think of when you hear “epic fantasy”, and it’s clearly set on a fictional world with two moons. However, there weren’t really any actual fantastical elements aside from one secondary character with an unexplained special ability. The story and setting are inspired by and have some parallels in real-world history.

It was easy to decide on a 4.5 star rating on the sites where I can give half stars, but it was much, much harder to decide whether to round up or down on Goodreads. In the end, I decided to round down. There was just a little too much bitter in the bittersweet ending, however much I expected it. I also felt frustrated with some of the characters’ choices, and there was the aforementioned melodrama and coincidences. Overall, though, I really enjoyed reading this book and I was completely engrossed by it while I was reading it. I’ll likely try to fit Kay’s work back into my reading schedule sooner rather than later. ( )
2 vote YouKneeK | May 6, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guy Gavriel Kayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morton, EuanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Odom, MelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The evening is deep inside me forever

Many a blond, northern moonrise,

like a muted reflection, will softly

remind me and remind me again and again.

It will be my bride, my alter ego.

An incentive to find myself. I myself

am the moonrise of the south.

Paul Klee, The Tunisian Diaries
Dedication
For Harry Karlinksy and Mayer Hoffer, after thirty-five years.
First words
Always remember they come from the desert.
It was just past midday, not long before the third summons to prayer, that Ammar ibn Khairan passed through the Gate of the Bells and entered the Al-Fontina in Silvenes to kill the last of the khalifs of Al-Rassan. [prologue]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060733497, Paperback)

The ruling Asharites of Al-Rassan have come from the desert sands, but over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, their stern piety has eroded. The Asharite empire has splintered into decadent city-states led by warring petty kings. King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, aided always by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan -- poet, diplomat, soldier -- until a summer afternoon of savage brutality changes their relationship forever.

Meanwhile, in the north, the conquered Jaddites' most celebrated -- and feared -- military leader, Rodrigo Belmonte, driven into exile, leads his mercenary company south.

In the dangerous lands of Al-Rassan, these two men from different worlds meet and serve -- for a time -- the same master. Sharing their interwoven fate -- and increasingly torn by her feelings -- is Jehane, the accomplished court physician, whose own skills play an increasing role as Al-Rassan is swept to the brink of holy war, and beyond.

Hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, The Lions of Al-Rassan is both a brilliant adventure and a deeply compelling story of love, divided loyalties, and what happens to men and women when hardening beliefs begin to remake -- or destroy -- a world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:59 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

In 12th Century Spain, the romance of Jehane bet Ishak, a woman doctor who falls in love with two men at once, Gen. Ammar ibn Khairan and Gen. Rodrigo Belmonte. When the generals go to war against each other, Jehane faces a difficult choice. Lots of period detail, the protagonists representing the three cultures, Jewish, Moorish and Christian.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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