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Under Heaven (Under Heaven #1)

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  10,898 Ratings  ·  1,317 Reviews
In his latest innovative novel, the award-winning author evokes the dazzling Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China in a story of honor and power. Inspired by the glory and power of Tang dynasty China, Guy Gavriel Kay has created a masterpiece.

It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his l
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Audiobook, 20 pages
Published June 3rd 2010 by Penguin Audiobook (first published April 27th 2010)
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LadySofia As far as I have read Under Heaven, yes. In the book Tigana, which is also by Guy Gavriel Kay there was quite a lot of sexual content, and swearing.
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Khanh (the meanie)
Sometimes, words fail me when I need them most. Oftentimes, it's because a book is so bad that I don't even know where to begin listing all the problems. In this case, in the case of my very favorite books, the right words just escape me because there's just nothing I can say. Because my simple, stupid words are meaningless when it comes to describing the pure, untarnished brilliance of this book. I am simply humbled.

It's like thanking the one of the great living people on earth, someone one tr
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Kelly
Feb 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: diehard Kay fans
Recommended to Kelly by: only got my own obsession to blame on this one
(Dear Goodreads friends I may have deceived with my initial status updates on this book, please to accept my profound regrets and the below revised retraction- if you don't mind some spoilers...

With apologies,
Kelly...)

So, you guys saw Clerks, right? Actually, I think it might’ve been Clerks II, but anyway: there’s one part where some characters pose a very important nerd battle: Star Wars trilogy vs. LOTR trilogy. The major points are as per usual, Darth Vader and lightsabers, BOOM EXPLODING PLA
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Paul O'Neill
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here the world is all the world may be.

A powerful blend of historical fiction and fantasy, Kay delivers a great story about loss and honour. This story is about Shen Tai who, after spending two years in mourning over the death of his father burying the bones and being haunted by their ghosts, is sent an unexpected gift of 250 Sardian horses, otherwise known as ‘heavenly horses’. This instantly puts him in a position of power and Tai must decide what to do with this gift.

Set during a fantasized
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K
How to Write Pretentious Historical Fiction

1. Start with an exceedingly slow build-up -- the more detail, the better. If your book is lengthier, people will assume it's more literary.

2. Choose an exotic time period and locale and evoke it wherever possible. Hopefully the fascinating food and clothing details will help your reader forget that there was no indoor plumbing. Then, proceed to superimpose all sorts of anachronistic qualities on your story to appeal to contemporary readers' fantasies a
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David Sven
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guy Gavriel Kay gives us a fantasized historical fiction of Tang China. What does that mean exactly? A little hard to explain. It feels very authentically like 8th century China complete with the Great Wall keeping the Bogu (barbarian) tribes at bay, the Capital Xinan, and the politics and intrigues of the Imperial court. Then throw in an element of the supernatural/preternatural, with restless ghosts and wandering undead.

After the death of the honoured General Shen Gao, his son, Shen Tai our ma
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Carol.
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delicious, a meaty, engrossing book with prose that brushed the edges of poetry. In some ways, it is three different books that might have benefited from being turned into full novels, but that's part of the joy of Kay's work-- he always has me wishing there was more time to explore relationships, back stories, and so on. It's an unusual setting for the type of fantasy I read, set in ancient China during the Tang Dynasty, a golden age of China's power. He wove the characters together in one of ...more
Alex Ristea
I've said it before, but I'll say it again.

Guy Gavriel Kay's works are a celebration of the English language. It is simply beautiful to read.

Kay started out as a poet, and that's clearly evident in Under Heaven, where not a word is out of place.

The themes of this book are subtle, and will only hit you after some time has passed for digestion. Truth, stories, people, memory, history. The whole time I was reading I thought this book would be 4 stars, but after a few sleeps on it, I can't get it ou
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Brad
After The Last Light of the Sun (a novel I didn't like), I took a long, much needed break from the writing of Guy Gavriel Kay.

I bought Ysabel, but it languishes on my bookshelf even now. I avoided Under Heaven until it became our fantasy book in the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book club. Once it won the vote, I thought it might be time to return to Kay.

I was a third into the book when my daughter, Scoutie, booknapped it and hid it under the love seat in the Sun Room. It resurfaced while we were vaccuu
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Kat  Hooper
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest historical fantasy, Under Heaven, is gorgeous. If you’re already a fan of GGK, you know exactly what kind of delight you’re in for. Under Heaven is every bit as wonderful as Tigana, A Song for Arbonne, and The Last Light of the Sun. Every bit.

Under Heaven takes place in Kitai — an alternate Tang Dynasty (but not so alternate that you won’t recognize the names of many of the characters if you read just a brief history of the Tang Dy
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Bob Milne
When I sit down to immerse myself in a book, the overall narrative style is important in drawing me into the author's world, but it's generally the sophistication of the overall plot and the strength of the characters that makes me want to stay there. As such, I don't usually wax poetic about the lyrical language of a story, the smoothly coursing flow of words, or the layered beauty of sentences and paragraphs.

Well, this is one of those exceptionally notable exceptions.

Under Heaven is, far and a
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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
More about Guy Gavriel Kay...

Other Books in the Series

Under Heaven (2 books)
  • River of Stars (Under Heaven, #2)
“How we remember changes how we have lived.
Time runs both ways. We make stories of our lives.”
73 likes
“The world could bring you poison in a jewelled cup, or surprising gifts. Sometimes you didn't know which of them it was.” 38 likes
More quotes…