HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Lions of al-Rassan

by Guy Gavriel Kay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,1951034,213 (4.26)1 / 446
Award-wining author Guy Gavriel's sixth novel, hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, is both a brilliant adventure and a moving story of love, divided loyalties, and what happens to men and women when hardening beliefs begin to remake -- or destroy -- a world. The ruling Asharites have come from the desert sands, worshipping the stars, their warrior blood fierce and pure. But over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, that stern piety has eroded. The Asharies empire has splintered into decadent city-states lead by warring petty kinds. King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, adding city after city to his realm, even though Cartada is threatened by forces both within and without. Almalik is aided 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 Jaddite's most celebrated -- and feared -- military leader, Rodrigo Belmonte, is driven into exile in the wake of events following the death of the king he loved. Rodrigo leads his mercenary company south, to the dangerous lands of Al-Rassan. In the exquisite lakeside city of Ragosa, Rodrigo Belmonte and Ammar ibn Kharian meet and serve -- for a time -- the same master. Sharing the interwoven fate of these two men from different worlds -- and increasingly torn in her feelings -- is Jehane, the beautiful, accomplished court physician, whose own skills play an increasing role as Al-Rassan is swept to the brink of holy war, and beyond.… (more)
  1. 60
    Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay (Anonymous user)
  2. 20
    The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett (Anonymous user)
  3. 20
    A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham (calmclam)
  4. 10
    Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre (Cecrow)
  5. 00
    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.
  6. 00
    The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Fantasy retellings of the last days of Muslim Spain.
Loading...

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

» See also 446 mentions

English (100)  Spanish (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
This book was quite fantastic. I would describe some of the slight issues I had with it, but in reality it compares so favorably to so many books I've liked in the past that I can't justify giving it less than a 5.

I wont write too much, since I think this review says most of it:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/19603946

My answer? Rodrigo.

UPDATE: August 8, 2022

I finished a rereading of this today. I still enjoyed it (and had forgotten enough that the twists of the story were a surprise again), but perhaps not quite as much as I had the first time. I’m a bit more aware of the faults and heavy-handedness of Kay’s writing now, having read more of his books. That distracted slightly from the story, which itself is a bit less believable on a second read. But I’d still recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, who will almost definitely love it. ( )
  mrbearbooks | Apr 22, 2024 |
A terrific adventure in a fantasy version of medieval Spain with lots of intrigue and violence. The main characters are brought together in a rather unlikely way, and become friends before being torn apart by the religious conflict. I didn't really buy the romance aspects, but there were a lot of terrific scenes, and I enjoyed the politics and other relationships between the characters. ( )
  yaj70 | Jan 22, 2024 |
Beautifully done historical fantasy. Characters are heroic but not so heroic that they are completely unreal. ( )
  MerylA | Jan 22, 2024 |
One could be forgiven for mistaking Kay’s novels for historical fiction: they are meticulously researched, and offer the immersive believability rendered by skilled practitioners of the more traditional craft. The Lions of Al-Rassan delivers a satisfying fictionalization of the Reconquista - the difficulties with that term notwithstanding - during the period of El Cid set in a fictional Iberia of the 11th century. In a convincing portrayal, Kay restores the culture, architecture and politics of late al-Andalus, replete with characters who could have been a part. And romance, no, let’s not overlook the romance.

The novel is almost three decades old now. There were moments where I was shaken out of my reading engagement by a discovery. The intervening years have altered the experience of the book at least in a small way. Let me explain.

Why is it that Kay writes historical fantasy rather than historical fiction? The fantasy elements in his works are generally small ones, just enough to inform the reader that while the events may feel like the past of our own world, that is not actually the case. This world has two moons, not one. And a boy with some special knowledge, not particularly crucial to the plot.

Kay loves the description of his work as “history with a quarter-turn to the fantastic”. He has said he does this quarter-turn because he doesn’t like using real lives for his fiction. To The Guardian he said, “I’ve been calling it an epidemic of co-opting real lives, to do whatever we want to do with them. And as an artist, for my own process, I have a problem with this…..I’m happier not pretending I know anything about El Cid in Spain,” he says. “He’s a Spanish national hero. I’d rather invent a character inspired by him but clearly not identical to him. And then I feel liberated creatively. I steep myself in a period and then I twist it just that little bit to give myself the ethical and creative space that seems to work for me.”

Kay does his research and delivers fulfilling worldbuilding, but he is free to make things up, to get things wrong, to play with the history as he wishes. So why was I was periodically jolted from my reading? Memories of Salman Rushdie. Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa in 1989, the year after the publication of The Satanic Verses. Rushdie’s book is often called magical realism; apparently the realism was insufficiently magical. In the decades since the publication of The Lions of Al-Rassan and its narrative of the ending of Muslim rule in Spain, this thread of intolerance has not appreciably diminished. In numerous attentional interludes, I considered the safety of two moons and an alternate universe. What an affront to the imagination that such machinations may offer actual physical safety!

I like Kay’s work very much. This novel has a poignant beauty, as sympathetic characters committed to their loves, their people, their religions, teeter toward the inexorable end of a vanishing world.
  stellarexplorer | Dec 27, 2023 |
A historical fantasy look at medieval Spain, before it was unified into one country. There are 3 protagonists, from different walks of life, that befriend each other despite each other's differences. I felt the story was wonderful and the characters very interesting. It is written really well, with parts of the book creating just a large mystery that makes you unable to put the book down. I highly recommend the book. ( )
  renbedell | Apr 24, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guy Gavriel Kayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Benini, MilenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morton, EuanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Odom, MelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
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]
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Award-wining author Guy Gavriel's sixth novel, hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, is both a brilliant adventure and a moving story of love, divided loyalties, and what happens to men and women when hardening beliefs begin to remake -- or destroy -- a world. The ruling Asharites have come from the desert sands, worshipping the stars, their warrior blood fierce and pure. But over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, that stern piety has eroded. The Asharies empire has splintered into decadent city-states lead by warring petty kinds. King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, adding city after city to his realm, even though Cartada is threatened by forces both within and without. Almalik is aided 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 Jaddite's most celebrated -- and feared -- military leader, Rodrigo Belmonte, is driven into exile in the wake of events following the death of the king he loved. Rodrigo leads his mercenary company south, to the dangerous lands of Al-Rassan. In the exquisite lakeside city of Ragosa, Rodrigo Belmonte and Ammar ibn Kharian meet and serve -- for a time -- the same master. Sharing the interwoven fate of these two men from different worlds -- and increasingly torn in her feelings -- is Jehane, the beautiful, accomplished court physician, whose own skills play an increasing role as Al-Rassan is swept to the brink of holy war, and beyond.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.26)
0.5
1 3
1.5 1
2 20
2.5 6
3 116
3.5 34
4 250
4.5 60
5 393

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 205,824,806 books! | Top bar: Always visible