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The Last Light of the Sun

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,740 Ratings  ·  333 Reviews
"Kay's third excellent fantasy set in the world of The Lions of Al-Rassan (1995) and The Sarantine Mosaic (1999) begins about three centuries after the events of the latter. The place is an alternate Britain, the specific time the era in which a king modeled on Alfred of Wessex (849-99), called the Great, began to make headway against raiders from the north. The times and ...more
Published June 1st 2009 by Penguin Audio (first published 2004)
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Jun 23, 2015 Ctgt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Forgetting is part of our lives, my lord. Sometimes it is a blessing, or we could never move beyond loss.

Guy Gavriel Kay, how do I love thee? Let me count....alright that might a bit over the top but I have to say Kay is one of my favorite authors so you can take that into consideration if you read on.

Kay dips his toe into 8th century Anglo-Saxon, Welsh and Viking cultures using characters from each to weave together another fantastic historical fiction tale with a touch of the mystical, faeries
I think my love for Guy Gavriel Kay is sufficiently well known. He gets three stars on this one only because I feel it isn't up to his usual high standard. For any other author, I'd probably give it four and call it a pleasant surprise.

As all his novels are, this is based on a historical area and cultural group. This time, he chose the British Isles and the Vikings, and the people who lived there before. As always, his research is impeccable. As always, his mood is beautifully drawn. The poetic
Kat  Hooper
Jul 07, 2010 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

The Last Light of the Sun is another of Guy Gavriel Kay’s brilliant historical fantasies. This one blends Norse, Celtic, and Anglo-Saxon histories with a bit of faerie mythos. We follow a few main characters from each of these societies as they interact with each other to shape their land and destinies. As usual in a Guy Gavriel Kay novel, we see the struggles from each perspective, so there’s no single “hero” or “villain.” We understand what motivates eac
May 09, 2016 KostasAt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

On of the few writers from our era in the Fantasy genre, and perhaps the best one out there, that can make quality stories even through his stand-alone books is definitely Guy Gavriel Kay and this book is no exception.

The story of the book, inspired by the Vikings raid in the time of Alfred the Great, is, perhaps, a bit darker than Kay’s other books as his writing is also a little tougher. But in this book he has managed to make a magical story, filled with wonderful characters that pass thr
Jun 03, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author brought together the 8th-9th century Viking/Anglo-Saxon/Welsh cultures marvellously, through the stories of protagonist[s] from each: Bern Thorkellson and his father, the exiled Thorkell Einarson of the Erlings; Prince Athelbert of the Anglcyn, and Prince Alun ab Owyn from the Cyngael. Three of these characters, ostensibly enemies, work together to prevent a revenge raid on the Cyngael farm of the man who, a generation before, had slew a famous Erling and now has his sword. Bern has ...more
May 03, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Shelves: fantasy, historical
Really excellent fantasy set in the medieval Europe . There’s a minor fantasy element (the fey), but the majority of the plot concerns the Vikings’ last raids on England. Exile Bern Thorkellson and his fellow mercenaries venture onto Anglcyn for plunder and glory, but waiting for them are the combined forces of King Aeldred and his Cyngael allies. The majority of the book does not concern war, but rather the inner workings of the characters’ minds and the wyrdness of Fate. The characters are eac ...more
Oct 17, 2010 Sandra rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, audio
Taking place in the same world as Al Rassan and the Sarantium Mosaic, the locale of this story is far north of there and a few hundred years later. A different narrator than the other Kay books I've listened to lured me to try this one in audio format. It was a good decision.

As in all of Kay's books, there are several points of view and this time it seemed easier to follow than some of his other books. The picture he paints of the land and the characters is vivid and moving. The land is undergo
Apr 17, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy, smart
I found this to be one of Kay's more challenging books. Shorter than most of the others, it seemed less substantial, somehow. Once I was engrossed in the story, it was over too soon.
Still, the first time I read it, i felt it didn't stand up to his earlier work. By that point I had fallen in love with The Lions of al-Rassan, and everything else suffered by comparison.

A second reading totally changed my perspective. The story is so intimate, so visceral, and I had originally expected the kind of
Aug 17, 2016 Lanko rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Review 2: Finished the last third on 18/08/16.

Opinion unchanged. I think its fine to write about the lives of people, even if they don't make life or death or world changing journeys, but I just couldn't feel emotionally affected or attached to anyone as the POVs just changed too much.

Review 1: DNF ~70%

(view spoiler)
Though fantasy rather than historical fiction, Kay's books evoke different regions of medieval Europe, and The Last Light of the Sun is set in the harsh northern realms analogous to Scandinavia and England, among the Anglcyn (Anglo-Saxons), Cyngael (Welsh), and Erlings (Vikings): rather a different setting from the warm regions and courtly society of his previous (particularly the two books of The Sarantine Mosaic and The Lions of Al-Rassan. The language is beautiful, and Kay deftly interweaves ...more
Reread 30th November, 2009.

I've read all the rest of Guy Gavriel Kay's fiction since I read this the first time. It's definitely not my favourite. The writing style doesn't quite seem so smooth and easy -- there's something a bit dictatorial about his writing in places in this book, so that instead of letting us make observations, he's handing them to us pre-packaged and not letting us do so much work. I don't remember that in his other books, but it struck me quite strongly, rereading The Last
Aug 23, 2016 Boogenhagen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vikings - I like them, and I like GGK so this is the best of both worlds.
Jul 26, 2016 Geoff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Vikings
Shelves: fantasy, canadian
Another good book from Guy Gavriel Kay.

I enjoyed the world and the characters. I'd say these are the parts of Kay's books that I enjoy the most. I know this to be true because the first, and sometimes lengthy, part of his books seem to have little in the way of plot advancement. I tend to have no idea what's going on until about a third of the way into the book. Its all character and world setup. Regardless of this, I'm always completely into the book from the get-go.

I do feel the climax of this
Aug 19, 2010 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ron by: Jon
Shelves: fantasy
At first I thought this was the worst Kay novel I'd read; by the end I considered it among his best.

My negative opinion stemmed from the long narrative passages early in the book. They read like history texts--interesting, but not engaging. Eventually, having defined his collision courses, Kay turned up the heat and brought his story to a boil.

Among modern writers of my experience, Kay is one of the best expressing the internal dialogue of his characters--the thoughts, emotions and even the erro
Ariana Deralte
I wanted to like this book. It was about Vikings, early British kings, and even the fair folk for goodness sake! But time and again, whenever I was finally getting into the story or bonding with a character, GGK would pull you out of the story with either a seemingly unrelated until pages later historical aside, or comments about really obvious things like how one small choice can make a difference. Regarding the historical asides, I felt an awful lot like I was reading GGK's version of Les Mise ...more
May 10, 2013 Kevin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I freakin' give up on this one. There are too many other books that I want to read for me to waste any more time on this one. Following the plot and the characters is like some sort of twisted puzzle or whodunnit mystery. As a result, after 232 pages, i couldn't care less about any of the characters nor about how this convoluted story will end. The first book that i read by this author was "Under Heaven" and it was excellent in every way that this book is found wanting. It was excellent! Unfortu ...more
Mar 10, 2009 Arthur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best fantasy books. It is better than Tigana imho. Tigana was sort of epic fantasy with wizards, etc. This one is a dark fantasy reminding me of Black Company by Glen Cook but in some ways it is even better. I am not very good at reviews, so I can only say that I really really liked the book. I would most definitely recommend this one. Love, death, heroes, loyalty, battles, ugliness of the war, unpredictable events and mystery. I am stunned. I never expected so much from a single volu ...more
Tim Hicks
Jun 01, 2016 Tim Hicks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, historical
Not quite a good as some of his others, but still very good.

I was occasionally snatched away from being lost in his magical world by stylistic things.

First, Kay seems to be obsessed with the blood-eagle thing. It comes up over and over, far more than needed.

Second, and this is true of most fantasy, every arrow shot in the book seems to kill its target instantly. Every one of them can shoot individual peas out of a pod at 100 paces.

Third, while I have no problem with sentence fragments and th
Wren Handman
Nov 05, 2015 Wren Handman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is absolutely beautiful. The writing is simply gorgeous, and I could not put it down. It's been awhile since I've read a traditional fantasy, and it was a nice break in stride. This book has an absolutely beautiful voice - I could not put it down. The narrative is really different; fast-paced and sort of staggering, like it's stumbling towards beauty. It was really different, and I loved it.

Great plot and wonderful weaving of disparate stories into a great narrative with a satisfying c
Elizabeth McDonald
Sep 02, 2012 Elizabeth McDonald rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Guy Gavriel Kay fans, Norse fantasy fans, and perhaps Game of Thrones fans
Shelves: reread, audiobook, fantasy
Interestingly, though I listened to this audiobook several years ago, I had completely forgotten that I finished it - I thought I had only gotten a few hours in. It was curious how utterly I had forgotten what happened in the book. As I went through, I kept thinking, "Oh, right, I remember that!" - but didn't remember what happened next.

Guy Gavriel Kay often sets his fantasy novels in altered, magical versions of real historical settings. This one worked from a theme of Vikings, Britons and Celt
Tom Lloyd
Apr 13, 2015 Tom Lloyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not his finest, but very good by the standards of anyone else perhaps. It took me a long time to get to know the characters and something about the structure of the plot seems to throw me off a bit, but that may have been just me being slow getting into it. By the end the prose, the sheer elegance and the (seemingly) faithful and honest level of detail had all won me over and I continue to enjoy my progress through his body of work.
Dec 30, 2013 Nico rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again a wonderful historical fantasy story by Guy Gavriel Kay. I absolutely love his style, the worlds he creates and his beautiful prose. GGK shows a fantastic clash of cultures, of new vs old in this Viking, Anglo-Saxon, Welsh inspired world. Viewed through the eyes of these great characters. We see their often times opposed motivations, their struggles and self doubts, that makes a story so much richer and more enjoyable for me. GGK really knows how to tell an epic tale and I already ord ...more
I finally got around to re-reading LLotS and I liked it as much as I did in the original read and found it rather satisfying, robust even. Perhaps not a poignant as some and the clash of cultures was more related to individuals but at least it had fewer blondes. It felt balanced with the ascendant religion and the dying beliefs; and the observations about time and choice and coincidence, that became so didactic in the next 2 books, were more pensive - the change of pace to momentary pondering mi ...more
Nov 17, 2012 Liviu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A multi-layered historical fantasy in the alt-Earth cycle of the author which contains the Sarantium duology and the Lion of Al Rassan, this book is a pleasure to read; Vikings, Anglo-saxons and Welsh people in a tale of families, light magic, battles and religion. The world of the faeries and the gods is ending and the world of Jad - a Christ analogue - is starting to become dominant.

Apr 04, 2015 Dimitra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lonely-novels
I need fireworks, please!
After almost 4 months I FINALLY finished this book...!!!

I see a lot of 4-star reviews here, so, don't get me wrong... but I kind of hated this book.
I've read another one of the same author and I had the same feelings about it too.

I got the book out of pure stupidity. I thought it was about pirates, because of the cover (it was a dark bookstore LOL)... I didn't read the description, I just bought it because of the cover and the really cheap price. Which was a bad decision
A fantastic book as to be expected from Kay. I have to admit I was in a bit of a reading slump so it took me awhile to really pick up the book and devote my attention to it but once I did reading this is akin to sinking your teeth into something extremely satisfying and fulfilling. This is not fluff reading, rather it is poetic, dense, and thoughtful with its interpretation of historical fiction.

The Last Light of the Sun, in this case, is about Viking times and makes allusions to not only Celtic
Roger Burk
Dec 06, 2012 Roger Burk rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is set in 9th century Britain, sort of. The names are all different, but you quickly realize it's a roman a clef--the Anglcyn are the Anglo-Saxons, the Erlings are the Norse, and so forth. The Welsh are revealed by an abundance of ll's, ff's and vocalic y's in their names. It seems to be meant as an historical novel, but we are notified that this is not really Earth by the presence of two moons at night. By this cowardly charade the author excuses himself from responsiblility either for act ...more
Apr 09, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kay's work continues to be gorgeous, although I have mixed feelings about this one. I'd started to feel disappointed, then was completely shocked out of the disappointment, and ended overall satisfied. But there are still elements that I find confusing or disappointing, which gives a lower score of an otherwise excellent book.

There were two different points in this book, once involving a growing love triangle and once involving an Iago-like villain, where I was convinced that I knew what was goi
May 29, 2011 Doreen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My best friend loves this author. I'd never read anything by him, but a back cover blurb that compares this novel favorably to Stephen King and Shakespeare doesn't exactly make the strongest case for me (I have idiosyncratic tastes, I know.) Regardless, I took my time with the book, wanting to make sure I was fully engaging it, to find in it what my best friend, whose opinion I respect, sees. It troubled me somewhat that it was slow-going -- it's been noted that I tear through books at a very br ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This book is... interesting. I've never read anything quite like it before. The story is set in an alternate 9th century Earth and ties together the English, Welsh, and Vikings. After finishing it a week or two ago, I'm still not sure what to think, so I'll just list my impressions:

The Good:

1. Historical setting feels very authentic and well-researched. Sure, medieval England and the Vikings have been done to death, but Kay gives them new life here. There's no sugar-coating (fans of GRR Martin
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Guy Gavriel Kay is a Canadian author of fantasy fiction. Many of his novels are set in fictional realms that resemble real places during real historical periods, such as Constantinople during the reign of Justinian I or Spain during the time of El Cid. Those works are published and marketed as historical fantasy, though the author himself has expressed a preference to shy away from genre categoriz ...more
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“A hard truth: that courage can be without meaning or impact, need not be rewarded, or even known. The world has not been made in that way. Perhaps, however, within the self there might come a resonance, the awareness of having done something difficult, of having done . . . something.” 22 likes
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