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Children of Earth and Sky

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  5,152 ratings  ·  770 reviews

Guy Gavriel Kay, bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, once again visits a world that evokes one that existed in our own past, this time the tumultuous period of Renaissance Europe-a world on the verge of war, where ordinary lives play out in the grand scheme of kingdoms colliding.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorio

Kindle Edition, 593 pages
Published May 12th 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published May 10th 2016)
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Dom Mooney It's set in the same universe as the Sarantine Mosaic but isn't a sequel as such.
Marty Preslar Not children. It has plenty of sex and violence and some of it rather... well described. (Whether I'm referring to the sex or the violence, I won't sa…moreNot children. It has plenty of sex and violence and some of it rather... well described. (Whether I'm referring to the sex or the violence, I won't say...)(less)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

I adored Children of Earth and Sky. What an amazing, complex novel this is! Highly recommended for any thoughtful reader of history or fantasy.

Guy Gavriel Kay writes what he likes to call “history with a quarter turn to the fantastic,” and Children of Earth and Sky is definitely that. It’s also compelling reading, epic in scope but also closely personal. It’s set in a Renaissance-era analog of our world: Serassa is Venice, the Ottoman Empire is the Osman
Althea Ann
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A leisurely, beautiful almost-sort-of-fantasy set in Kay's alternate historical world. Longtime readers will recognize references here to events and characters featured in quite a few of his other books.

The time period here is the (I believe) fifteenth century, and the action moves between recognizable versions of Croatia, Venice and Constantinople.

Danica Gradek is a young woman whose surviving family was forced to relocate after being attacked by raiders who kidnapped her beloved young brother.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Any time Guy Gavriel Kay releases a new novel is a cause for celebration. Even with the understanding of how much work and time must go into each and every one of them, the waiting never gets easier! Known for his talent for recreating famous historical periods using fantasy, Kay’s books are all gorgeously written and painstakingly researched works of art, often infused with powerful messages and themes. I’d been looking
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-fantasy
I've read Guy Gavriel Kay before and didn't really enjoy his novels, but the cover on this one was so beautiful and the blurb so interesting I decided to give him another chance and pick this one up.

I am so glad I did.

Children of Earth and Sky has a number of characters, switching viewpoints every few pages. Some of them are:

-Danica Gradek, a warrior who lost her family in a raid and wants nothing more than revenge.
-Pero Villani, a young artist who is selected to paint a portrait of a man named
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-shelf, fantasy
I'm just going to have to place Guy Gavriel Kay's books into a shelf of their own. A genre of their own. I mean, sure, there are certain authors that have come close, such as some of Umberto Eco or Kim Stanley Robinson, but Kay's writing just plops us down into what, by all apparent aspects, seems to be our Rennaisance Europe or something very, very close.

All names and a lot of history is altered but to any normal comparison, we're dealing with the Ottoman Empire and Christians. Italy! A regular
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

Chance and change are the way of the world, and more so for those living on disputed borders, or venturing to sea.

The struggle between holding on to a piece of land for shelter and survival and raising our eyes to the stars in search of the meaning of life was never more poignant and bittersweet as in this latest offering from Guy Gavriel Kay, a master of the lyrical prose and of the heroic evocation of lost civilizations. After a couple of novels set in ancient China, Kay returns to his alter
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was going to be 3.5 stars but I liked the ending so it scrapes a 4. I like Guy Gavriel Kay, I do, but I find his books misleading. They are not really fantasy at all, just historical settings, admittedly well written, renamed. I always seem to expect something a little more than I actually get from them. That is not to say, of course, that that means there isn't more to get, just that I don't !
I really liked the multiple points of view of the same events.
I didn't really feel that invested i
My early review is up at B&N and here's the link! (Shorter review, though: Wonderful. That was what I wanted and hoped for from him for years. You guys. Sit back and love.) ...more
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a sanctuary in Rhodias where a long-forgotten artist depicted two empresses, facing each other . . . one a whore, one a barbarian . . . a thousand years ago . . .

*sobs quietly, blows nose on bookmark*

At a certain point in the first twenty pages of every Kay novel, you start to think, There are too many characters, and I don't know any of them, and what is going on?

But patience is indeed a virtue with Kay's novels. He is, quite frankly, my favorite living novelist (and a lovely person

I'm not sure I can summarize this book -- it features a large cast occupying several different countries/city-states and dealing with story lines which at first seem almost entirely unconnected to one another.

All I can say is, it was a great read. I blame this book for the reading slump which has haunted me through most of July. It was such a great mix of action -- the kind that makes it really hard to put a book down at any point -- and fascinating characters, whose emotional struggles also ma
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

I am admittedly and unabashedly a GGK fan girl. Since I read Under Heaven three years ago for my real life book club, I have been gradually chipping away at his works and have adored every single one of them so far. This too was a big, thick book and I read it in two days.

But this one wrapped up so neatly and completely—and I’m a person who loves ambiguous endings or slightly unhappy endings, the non-traditional unhappily ever after. That’s why this book didn’t rate the
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I have read from Canadian writer Guy Gavriel Kay and reviews about the quality and originality of his work is earned.

Children of Earth and Sky, his 2016 novel, is set as so many of his works in a fantastic world but one not far removed from our own. This seems like an alternative history Europe, perhaps Middle Ages eastern Mediterranean. The fantasy is minimalistic and oblique, the real magic here is Kay’s inspired writing and his disciplined imagination.

Kay’s skilled worl
Mar 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, a-own-it
I'm really torn between giving this a 2 or 3 star rating. I'm going with 3 just because I do love all the other GGK books I've read. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for free in exchange for a review, but I just can't say that I loved it when I didn't.

I'm not even sure how to describe what this book is about. I finished reading it and wasn't even sure what the point was. The book gets off to a very slow start introducing 7-8 different people who have their own POVs in the story. The
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-releases
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Review copy sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new book, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlan
Sherwood Smith
Copy received courtesy of NetGalley

This book is set twenty-five years after the fall of Byzantium, that is, Sarantium. The veneer is pretty thin in places: the Ottoman Empire has become the Osmanli Empire, the Venetia Republic is now the Republic of Seressa, Dubrovnik is now Dubrava, and the other major players in Europe have their analogs, but Kay plays around with history in boosting the fascinating and problematical Hapsburger Emperor Rudolph II back a hundred years and turning him into Rodol
Manuel Antão
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

The Implausibility of Happenstance: "Children of Earth and Sky" by Guy Gavriel Kay

Rick in Casablanca notices the vast implausibility of happenstance: “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” Is serendipity a good thing in fiction ever? For me, one of the precepts of good writing has always been that coincidences are only permissible when the writer is setting up the narrative. Indeed, they’re oft
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review from The Speculative Herald:

Children of Earth and Sky is Kay's latest novel, set in war torn lands. The cast is comprised of a variety of characters, characters that are unlikely companions, crossing paths only by chance. As with Kay's other books, this is set in a fictional land/world, but quite closely matches our own.

There are a good number of characters in this, but I think it works extremely well as it helps give perspectives and information f
Melissa McShane
I'm not sure what to say to do justice to this book. Kay is a master of creating worlds just inches from our own, drawing on real history and then twisting it to his own ends. With several protagonists, and a prose style that leaps from one to another, sometimes within a single scene, this could have been overdone. But it isn't. I loved the different voices and characters and was never bored or impatient to get back to one or the other. Kay plays with time and space in a way that bound all of th ...more
after reading a few pages this looks fabulous like the best GGK novels (Sarrantium, Lions...) - have not really been that enthusiastic about his recent Chinese themed novels for various reasons (I think he is very "orientalistic" among other things in said novels using all the usual stereotypes about the "fabled East" especially in the second one), though they definitely had their high points and I enjoyed them well enough, but books like the two Sarrantium one and Lions of al Rassan are still a ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Tudor Ciocarlie
I have not yet read the The Sarantine Mosaic and I admit that I'm a little biased because Children of Earth and Sky also indirectly recreates the history of my country (Romania, that was under influence of The Ottoman Empire for 500 years), but this is the best novel of all the wonderful books by Kay that I've read. It is a book about the clash of cultures and every shifting borders, and their influence on people that must learn to adapt or to fight the merciless changes that history brings upon ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
May 14, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
DNF'ing at 41%. This was SUCH a hard decision! The book is NOT bad! But I had two problems:

1) This is a very slow-moving book. Lots of subtlety. It has not suited my mood at all. I've been finding excuses for the last 3 weeks to read other things rather than pick up this book.

2) I received this as an ARC from NetGalley (so thank you to them and the publisher!), and the ebook displayed horribly on my Kindle. The formatting was so inconsistent, with dozens of hyphenated words in the middle of para
Fantasy Literature
A new Guy Gavriel Kay novel is cause for great celebration and anticipation in our household, as he has authored some of our most beloved novels over the decades (by “our” I mean my wife, my fifteen-year-old son, and myself). A consummate storyteller and stylist (the two don’t always go hand in hand), his long-term consistency is remarkable, and his newest work, Children of Earth and Sky, finds him still at the top of his form.

One way to describe a Guy Gavriel Kay novel is that it’s a bit like p
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eternity is too long for us. It is not a scale for men and women. We live by different, smaller measures, but there are stories we tell....

Just so you know, I love the books of Guy Gavriel Kay. It's one of those things that is difficult to explain. His ability to evoke feelings in me is unequaled by any current author. His writing style seems to flow off the page and reach right down in to my soul. There are very few characters I have cared about with the same depth as those that are brought to
Jonathan Terrington
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Guy Gavriel Kay is someone whose work I have struggled to appreciate to its fullest. Yet here is Kay at his sublime best, writing with poetic elegance and in a unique present tense with omniscient voice that few other authors could carry off with the skill Kay does.

The essential premise of this novel focuses on several different characters all travelling to a distant city and beyond. Each of these characters are unique heroes: merchants, painters, pirates, child-slaves-turned-warriors, false-wiv
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As can be expected of Kay, he once again delivers a beautiful, thoughtful, and intricately-plotted novel. His characters are rich and layered, his worldbuilding deep, but never overwhelming. There's a care for his creation, a love and respect for his characters, that is rare among authors. Tremendous.
Children of Earth and Sky: An alternate history of Venice, Dubrovnik, and Constantinople

This is another of Guy Gabriel Kay's magnificent historical reimaginings (not fantasies, for the most part), told in luxurious prose, assured style, and great skill in evoking era and place, along with compelling adult characters. He's really mastered this sub-genre of his own creation, and this book is set in the same shared world that was featured in The Lion's of Al-Rassan (set in Moorish Spain) and The Sa
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Sometimes you can read a book and it is just exactly what you need at that moment, like draining a cool drink on a hot summer day. In truth, I did not even know that I needed Children of Earth and Sky until I began reading it. This book hit the spot.

It's not much of a surprise that I would enjoy a Guy Gavriel Kay novel. I have read all of the others and so I go into it knowing what I am going to get - and that, I know, will be something good. Kay's style of writing is something unique. There is
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
An absolute joy to read! I'm not enamored of the heavy magic, dragons, wizards, and outlandish fantasy world elements of that genre, but Kay fills the fantasy niche for me, being a past master at marrying thinly-veiled elements of a real historic period with a light hand on the "unexplained". This novel told of a faux Italian Renaissance period and Balkan [called herein by several names] war with the Ottomans [Osmanlis]. Seressa, the "Queen of the Sea", [read Venice], with her emphasis on tradin ...more
Vedran Karlić
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard not to be biased, Kay is my favorite author and this book is set in my country (well, not fully, some parts are). But that is not the reason I’m giving it a five-star rating. It’s a wonderful story about small people and their role in ‘big world’ and how can they shape it. But it’s also a story about the different types of heroism, about tragedy and love, sometimes more than one of those, written through few great characters.

Based on historical things with a dose of supernatural, which
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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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