RIVER OF STARS
From the bestselling author of Under Heaven comes an epic of prideful emperors, battling courtiers, nomadic invasions, and of a woman fighting to find her place in the world.
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Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later, and his life changes again, dramatically, as he moves toward the court and emperor while war approaches Kitai from the north.
Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor and alienates the women at court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.
In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading, under the river of stars, to events no one could have foretold.
“River of Stars is the sort of novel one disappears into, emerging shaken, if not outright changed. A novel of destiny, and the role of individuals within the march of history, it is touched with magic and graced with a keen humanity.”
—The Globe and Mail
“River of Stars finds its greatest success in that it is both a vast, grand portrait of an entire culture, and also a very specific, personal story…While the densely woven and ever-shifting web of intrigue is masterfully managed and often brilliantly surprising in all its complexities, and the sumptuous, poetic language are also highlights, it’s the connection to the characters that captures the reader’s attention, digs hooks deep into their heart, for all 600-plus pages”.
“From whatever angle you approach it, River of Stars is a major accomplishment, the work of a master novelist in full command of his subject. It deserves the largest possible audience.”
—The Washington Post
“Kay has the uncanny ability to depict the grand sweep of historical events through the eyes of those living through them…What’s even more amazing is how through his careful rendering of character and environments we are drawn into this history…River Of Stars is an exceptional piece of work.”
— Seattle Post Intelligencer
“Here you’ll find all the scheming and skulduggery that give “Game of Thrones” its zest, refined to the subtlest of arts. Kay invokes a world of stylized manners and deadly gambits, infused with an aesthetic founded on the most exquisite appreciation of the beauty and melancholy of the natural world.”
—“River of Stars”: Picture “Game of Thrones” in China (Salon.com)
“There’s a reason that each new fantasy novel by Guy Gavriel Kay is met with so much excitement by a core of devoted readers. These are books in which everything happens--epic battles, forbidden love, violent deaths--yet the threads of story inexorably tangle us in something that goes much deeper. Each book is a journey for the reader, compressed so that the level of intensity remains at the highest setting even in its quietest moments; and what happens on that journey can challenge your perceptions of the world and break your heart…With River of Stars, Kay transports readers to a dazzling court and the ravages of war, with language almost impossibly multilayered in its nuance and tone, offering a series of insights that exquisitely build on each other. Even more than in previous books, each sentence seems shaped to further enhance the book’s themes, recalling the craftsmanship of the man-made peony blossom that is a recurring image throughout. Here, too, emotional intensity is amped up more than ever, the shattering catharsis even more complete… one of Kay’s richest creations to date…”
“When you pick up a Guy Gavriel Kay book, you know you are in for an intense experience. Guy Gavriel Kay is a master at creating compelling, complex, human characters in which the reader can’t help but become invested...His fluency with themes can make you actually care about abstract concepts just as much as you do about the life or death of a character.”
—Amazon’s Omnivoracious Book Blog
“River of Stars exhibits all of Guy Gavriel Kay’s many strengths as a writer: characterization, plotting, dialogue, poetry, the intricacies of the imperial court, and exciting battle scenes.”
“This is stunning stuff from one of fantasy fiction’s finest. From one of fiction’s finest, frankly.”
“An elegant, imaginative inhabitation of Song-dynasty China of 1,000 years ago by prolific historical novelist Kay…Lucid and lyrical, and skillfully written…”
“Exquisitely rendered alternate historical fantasy…a flawed, complex culture, meticulously researched and recreated in powerful prose.”
“The novel’s treatment of the unknowable is actually somewhat similar to another fantasy series, one which happens to have premiered its third season of television just recently. Like George R.R. Martin with A Song of Ice and Fire, Kay keeps his elements of the fantastic in relative reserve, using them to preserve and enhance the mysterious nature of the supernatural instead of dragging it down into the quotidien.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Feature
Guy Gavriel Kay is an internationally bestselling author. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in the literature of the fantastic, is a two-time winner of the Aurora Award, and won the 2008 World Fantasy Award for Ysabel. His works have been translated into twenty-five languages.