Lynn Abbey's Reviews > Sailing to Sarantium

Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay
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's review
Jan 23, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: history-reimagined, fantasy
Read from January 23 to February 29, 2012

It's taken me long enough, but I've finally decided what makes GGK different: His writing voice is pitched to minor keys.

Taken at the surface, this book is a fairly standard "journey" fantasy set in a transposed 6th-century Byzantine Empire, right down to the "Blues," "Greens," "Reds," and "Whites." The historical figures are scarcely disguised and about 80% of the book functions as "Everyday Life (with an emphasis on mosaics) in During the Reign of Justinian the First."

But what gets me...and gets me every time I open a GGK book, is the overriding sense of twilight. Every character is "sadder, but wiser." This is some of the most moral--in the sense of conscious and considered--fiction around.

I can understand that for some, the overall heaviness of mood might be a bit much, but for me, storytelling doesn't get any better.

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