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The Lions of Al-Rassan Hardcover – Jun 1995


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Hardcover, Jun 1995
£47.74 £3.37
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harper Prism (Jun. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061052175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061052170
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 17.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,017,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Guy Gavriel Kay was born and raised in Canada. In 1974-5 he spent a year in Oxford assisting Christopher Tolkien in his editorial construction of J R R Tolkien's posthumously published THE SILMARILLION. He took a law degree at the University of Toronto on his return to Canada and was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1981. Guy Gavriel Kay lives in Toronto

Product Description

Review

An enormously rewarding novel -- Booklist

Magnificent -- Locus

One of the premier fantasists of our time -- The Financial Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

AN EXHILARATING EPIC ADVENTURE OF FIERCE PASSIONS, DIVIDED LOYALTIES AND TRIBAL WAR

In the once powerful empire of Al-Rassan, King Almalik Cartada is on the ascendancy, adding city after city to his realm aided always by the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan – poet, diplomat, soldier and assassin. Cartada's empire is threatened only by the ambitious Jaddite kings of the north who are eager to reclaim the lands they once held.

But the Jaddite lands are divided and their own celebrated military leader Rodrigo Belmonte and his war-band are forced into exile. Thus in the exquisite lakeside city of Ragosa, Rodrigo and ibn Khairan meet and serve – for a time – the same monarch. And observing the byplay between the two men, is the beautiful, brilliant physician, Jehane, who herself becomes a crucial player as the peninsula is swept to the brink of holy war…

"An engrossing tale"
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"[A] magnificent, deeply moving book"
LOCUS

"Kay provides insightful glimpses into the goals and motives of this many characters"
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Always remember that they come from the desert. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By N. Clarke on 3 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of those rare books of near-transformative beauty and resonance. _The Lions of Al-Rassan_ is a densely-woven, hugely rewarding novel drawing on the themes of the Spanish Reconquista. The setting is an analogue of medieval Spain, as the Jaddite (Christian) and Asharite (Muslim) powers are pushed towards an apparently inevitable conflict by a mixture of piety, politics, and personal grievances. In between, caught as ever in the crossfire, are the wandering Kindath (the Jews).
At the heart of the story is a complex series of personal relationships, drawn with such clarity and emotional honesty that the reader never loses sight of the human consequences of the epic events. In particular, there is the emerging friendship (and love) between the three central characters: Rodrigo Belmonte, celebrated Jaddite war leader (the novel's El Cid); Ammar ibn Khairan, an Asharite poet, soldier and diplomat; and Jehane bet Ishak, a female Kindath physician. All three are unique and memorable creations, living, breating and believably conflicted people, showcasing Kay's talent for well-rounded characters.
In bringing these three together - exiled to a brilliant Asharite city-state as the peninsula moves to the brink of war - the novel provides not only a highly-involving (and extremely moving) read, but it also elegantly underscores the themes of the work. Demonstrating the impact of the coming war upon the main characters' lives and loves, Kay explores how religious and cultural fundamentalism fractures and polarises societies, shutting down the spaces in which people may interact simply as human beings. Wider political considerations put them on opposite sides of the conflict, with shattering results.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 May 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In The Lions of Al Rassan Kay takes the history of the struggle for Spain between Christian and Moor that lasted 1000 years and condenses it into a powerfull and magical story of one turbulent year. The story centers around a small circle of characters; Ammar a poet and a warrior, Rodrigo a soldier with more honour than those he serves, Jehane a doctor from an outcast people and Alvar a young soldier who thinks to much and speaks too quickly. Around these characters Kay has woven a story of strength and beauty of the clash of armies, the re-shaping of a world and the force of religious fanatisism.
Yet a it's core this is a book about four people with strengths and weaknesses who stay true to their ideals and natures and write themselves a place in history.
This theme has been dealt with before, Holywood tackled it and Charlton Heston became El Cid. The spine tinkling feeling that I felt at the end of that movie when the dead El Cid rides forth to battle for a new Spain is the same feeling I had although reading Kay's book.
If I could write one book myself and never to write again then I would wish to tell a story with this much power, this much sadness and this much Humanity.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2002
Format: Paperback
This is beautifully written. So much fantasy relies on covering its deficiencies as literature by sweeping the reader along with an exciting storyline. Here, every word is worth savouring. Characters are fully drawn, and the twists of the plot are satisfying as well as thrilling. The author creates vivid pictures of locales and action. This is a mature work that stands apart from most of its genre.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
Guy Gavriel Kay was first noticed when he edited the Silmarilliion with Christopher Tolkien. Following this he wrote a trilogy called "The Fionavar Tapestry". These books established Kay as a truly talented writer. His lyrical writing style provided a wonderful antidote to the established "quest" style of fantasy novel.
After this trilogy he began to write novels that could be described as "Alternative History". Whilst set on "fantasy" worlds the novels were visibly based upon real-world events. For example, A Song for Arbonne is based upon Medieval France and the concepts of courtly love.
All this brings me to Kay's masterwork - The Lions of Al-Rassan. This novel is set in Kay's interpretation of a Moorish Spain (including a take on The Day of the Ditch). The three principal characters representing the three faiths involved in the struggle for freedom (from oppression and intolerance), for this is a novel about faith and humanity.
Ammar ibn-Khairan - poet, diplomat, assassin - represents the ruling class of Al-Rassan (based upon the Islamic faith). Rodrigo Belmonte - soldier - the Jaddite war-leader in exile (Catholic). And the woman at the centre of the conflict - Jehane, a Kindath (Jewish) physician. Events conspire to pull the characters together in the lakeside city of Ragosa where they overcome ideological differences in the cause of freedom.
This novel is Kay at his most poetic, it has a beauty that flows from the writing and makes you wish that this novel would not end. For you know, whilst reading, that this can only end badly. The characters have but a small time to live without conflict before they are ripped apart by religion and war.
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