Under Heaven

{5/5} “They were not travelers, the Kitan. The occasional exception, a far-farer who returned, was celebrated as a hero, his written record of the journey widely copied and read, pondered with fascination and disbelief. He was often regarded, privately, as more than slightly mad. Why would a sane man choose to leave the civilized world?”

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, published in 2010

Shen Tai had been just about to take his exams for imperial service in Xinan when his father died. With two and a half years of mourning, he decided to go to Kuala Nor, a lake in the mountains outside the empire. There he buries the bodies of the dead from both sides of a battle that left 40 000 dead. After 2 years of work, he fins out that he has been given a gift of 250 Sardian horses — horses that are so valuable that he will be killed for certain before he reaches home.

This story takes place in a land like China from several centuries ago.

There was one small flaw, in the speed that the main character switched his affections from one woman to another. The rest is brilliant, so I’m still counting it as a masterpiece.

It’s about what good people can do when they work together. It’s about friendship, love, poetry, and schemes.

I’ve read 11 books by Kay. I previously reviewed Ysabel.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 1st, 2020 at 8:27 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply