Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay

The Summer Tree (1984)

by Guy Gavriel Kay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Fionavar Tapestry (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,754None2,126 (3.98)1 / 134
Recently added byweidmanb, melodien, Laura_Jones, private library, Kat_Hooper, dwsmac, SophieCale, Autres, adrienne
Arthurian (50) Arthurian legend (12) Canadian (32) Canadian literature (11) epic (15) epic fantasy (25) fantasy (859) fiction (262) fionavar (55) Fionavar Tapestry (100) Guy Gavriel Kay (16) high fantasy (33) Kay (12) King Arthur (11) magic (19) mythology (20) novel (28) own (14) owned (13) paperback (14) parallel worlds (13) read (45) science fiction (22) series (48) sf (19) sff (47) speculative fiction (11) to-read (48) trilogy (14) unread (34)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (61)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I absolutely loved everything about Guy Gavriel Kay’s stand-alone novels [b:Tigana|104089|Tigana (10th Anniversary Edition)|Guy Gavriel Kay|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1241516828s/104089.jpg|1907200] and [b:A Song for Arbonne|104085|A Song for Arbonne|Guy Gavriel Kay|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1171506608s/104085.jpg|2498881], so it was with great excitement that I downloaded the newly released audio version of The Summer Tree, the first novel in his famous The Fionavar Tapestry.

In The Summer Tree we meet Loren Silvercloak, a wizard who has traveled from the world of Fionavar to Toronto to fetch five university students (three guys and two girls) who are needed to help fight an ancient evil force that has been bound under a mountain for centuries. It is awakening, has adversely affected the weather, and threatens the future of Fionavar. The students are transported to the capital city of Caer Paravel — no wait, wrong book — Paras Derval and each discovers that (s)he has an important role to play in this strange land’s upcoming upheaval.

If I had read The Summer Tree when it was first published in 1984, perhaps I would have enjoyed it more. Or at least I would have been more forgiving back then, but at this point in my life, with many years of reading fantasy epics behind me, I just had a hard time mustering up much enthusiasm for this story.

Besides the parallels to Tolkien and Lewis which you will have already noticed, we’ve got dwarves who live under mountains, elf-like creatures who live in the forests, names which require hyphens, apostrophes, or other funny symbols (Na-Brendel , Mörnir, Ra-Termaine, T’Varen), names of evil things which sound Russian (Rakoth, Starkadh, svart alfar, Rangat, Blöd, Khath Meigol, urgach), nasty creatures who are minions of the bad guy, a girl who finds out she’s the next seer, a hero who must sacrifice himself to save the blighted land…. etc. Much of it is derived from ancient myth and legend and it's presented in Kay’s eloquent and slightly overwrought style. This will likely please those who are looking for that sort of weighty epic, but to me it just felt heavy. I have no doubt that this is caused by reading this too late in my fantasy vita — I was looking for something new — so if you're not relating to me here, I encourage you to give The Summer Tree a try. Every fantasy fan should read Guy Gavriel Kay.

Kay’s use of the five modern-day characters is a bit perplexing. Their reactions to being brought to a parallel world with an ancient culture were unconvincing as they immediately adapt to the customs of Fionavar without much trepidation or wonder. They didn’t seem concerned about how or when they’d get back to their world, what their family and friends might be thinking, or what might happen if they (very likely) died in Fionavar. They never talk about modern conveniences like cars, guns, and telephones. They go along with the patriarchic culture and, though they are well-educated, they don’t use their modern knowledge to any advantage. Perhaps they will in the sequels, but there is so far no indication that they are thinking that way, which baffles me. I’m wondering why Kay used modern-day heroes at all.

As for the audio production, it’s produced by Penguin Audio and read by Simon Vance (one of my favorites) so it’s well told. However, Vance’s Canadian accent makes me cringe and, since our five heroes are all Canadian, that’s a lot of cringing.

I expected to love The Summer Tree, so I had purchased the second book in The Fionavar Tapestry, too, and I will probably read it at some point. But I greatly prefer Guy Gavriel Kay’s more recent fiction, which is really wonderful stuff. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
This is a classic of the fantasy genre that wallowed in my to-read pile for several years. I found it highly readable once it got going, but events at the end have discouraged me from reading onward.

At the start, I found the book rather confusing with five Canadian young adults to keep straight, plus the visitors from Fionavar. As this book was written in the 1980s, it tended to head-hop a lot and that made it even more confusing. Once they landed in Fionavar, however, it became much easier to follow, though the sheer number of mythologies that overlap in the book made it daunting at times. Still, it was fun and fascinating.

This is very much a "getting ready for the quest" book. The five from Earth each go through terrible ordeals as they mature, come into their powers, and confront this new world as it falls into turmoil. The ordeal with Jennifer at the very end turned me completely off. I just don't like books that go there as a plot device. ( )
1 vote ladycato | Jan 20, 2014 |
Empecé este libro dos veces: la primera vez no me logró atrapar y lo dejé. Años más tarde lo retomé y me forcé a seguirlo leyendo. Creo que eso es bastante gráfico.

La historia no es demasiado original (aunque eso no sería ningún problema): son humanos de este mundo que viajan en contra de su voluntad a otra dimensión/mundo semi- mágico (Fionavar) y tienen que salvarlo. Y obviamente todo es parte de una profecía. No está mal hasta acá.

Hay algunos personajes que me gustaron como Matt y Jaelle, pero los protagonistas (en especial Paul) me resultaron llanamente antipáticos. Pasan de no tener personalidad a ponerse títulos rimbombantes que todos aceptan porque sí, de sentir amor a una indiferencia total por los demás, y se comunican con unos diálogos antinaturales en situaciones bastante forzadas.
Hay muchas descripciones muy largas que pretenden ser poéticas, situaciones importantes que pasan demasiado rápido y exceso de detalle en cosas que interesan bastante poco.

Me costó terminarlo. Mucho. Y saber que por delante había dos libros más no me hizo precisamente feliz. ( )
  outlanders22 | Sep 21, 2013 |
I went through this book incredibly fast, and it was much as someone else laid it out for me to find it.

It was rough and I could have used a little less of the word 'lugubrious,' but that aside it did all the dirty work for setting into motion the foundation the rest of the series would need (even if at times, for no other reason in the story, except it's own necessity).

While I was not massively attached to The Five, or what happened to anyone, save vague interests in Paul, I was vastly intrigued by the bare and slow revealing details of the world of Finoavar. ( )
  wanderlustlover | Jul 24, 2013 |
This book has been on my to-read list for a long time. I've read other Kay (and loved it all), but for some reason I just kept putting this one off. Every time I decided it was time to jump in, I'd read the blurb and decide to go with something else. "Five men and women find themselves flung into the magical land of Fionavar, First of all Worlds." Yeah.. About that.. The whole magically transported into a fantasy world thing? Thanks but no thanks. It just doesn't do it for me.

So needless to say, I went into this sort of dreading it and not really expecting to like it. And for about the first 25 - 30% of the story, it lived up to that expectation. One of my biggest gripes with the transported into a fantasy world thing is how unbelievable trusting people are. "Hey! I can do magic! We're going to take you to a magical world to meet our King! Are you in?" And of course... They're in. And when it actually happens, when they actually pop into existence in another world, complete acceptance. I don't know about you, but if it were me... First, I'd think whoever was asking me to go was on drugs, and I would call the police so they could come pick up the crazy man wearing a robe... Then, if I still managed to somehow make it to the other world, I'd kick the crazy man's ass thinking that they somehow managed to drug me.

So like I said.. Auto-strike against it. Another problem I had with the first 30%, there are a lot of main characters. The POV bounces around a lot, and with so many characters, you don't have much time to connect to any of them. I spent a lot of time forgetting who was who, and then figuring it out and not really caring.. It was not a good time.

But then somewhere around chapter seven (about 40%), it all clicked. And after that... Wow. It was beautiful. I was moved over and over again by the story, the writing, the characters... Everything. It was so strange... I was pretty much committed to not really liking this one, and then all of a sudden I feel myself tearing up, my heart pounding, completely wrapped up in the words I was reading. I went from forcing myself to pick it up and read a little, to hating the fact that my lunch break was over and I had to put it down. Suddenly the characters who I had spend the first 30% feeling disconnected from came alive to me. And when the characters came alive.. So did the world.

So against all odds, I ended up really loving this book. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy, this is how good traditional fantasy is done. I'm only giving it 4 stars instead of 5, because of the rocky start, but depending on how the rest of the story plays out.. I have a feeling this will be jumping onto my favorites shelf very soon. ( )
  breakofdawn | Jun 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guy Gavriel Kayprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Springett, MartinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
The Summer Tree is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, Tania Pollock Birstein, whose gravestone reads, "Beautiful, Loving, Loved," and who was all of these things.
First words
In the spaces of calm almost lost in what followed, the question of why tended to surface. Why them?
En los períodos de calma casi borrados por lo que después siguió, la pregunta "¿por qué?" emergía a la superficie. ¿Por qué a ellos?
After the war was over, they bound him under the Mountain. (Prologue)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
It all began with a lecture that introduced five university students to a man who would change their lives, a wizard who could take them from Earth to the heart of the first of all worlds - Fionavar. And take them Loren Silvercloak did, for his need - the need of Fionavar and all the worlds - was great indeed.

And in a marvelous land of men and dwarves, of wizards and gods - and of the Unraveller and his minions of Darkness - Kimberly, Dave, Jennifer, Kevin, and Paul discovered who they were truly meant to be. For the five were a long-awaited part of the pattern known as the Fionavar Tapestry, and only if they accepted their destiny would the armies of the Light stand any chance of surviving when the Unraveller unleashed his wrath upon the world.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Five university students are whisked from Toronto to an alternate world where they must help to battle a great evil.

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
17 avail.
39 wanted
2 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.98)
0.5 2
1 11
1.5 3
2 35
2.5 14
3 116
3.5 57
4 201
4.5 33
5 254


Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,426,038 books! | Top bar: Always visible