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Tigana [Paperback]

Guy Gavriel Kay
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Aug 1990
Incorporating magicians, wizardry, love and revenge, this tale of fantasy and kingship follows life at the court of Brandin, evil wizard King of Ygrath, who has cast a spell over the land of Tigana to avenge his son's death at the hand of the king of Tigana, Valentin.

Frequently Bought Together

Tigana + The Lions of Al-Rassan + A Song for Arbonne
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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (2 Aug 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140131116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140131116
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,625,599 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


'A huge book, packed with action, I enjoyed it all' -- THE TIMES

'An enchanting, colourful fantasy adventure' -- TIME OUT

'Flair, glamour and unstudied romance' -- SUNDAY EXPRESS

'One of the best fantasy novels I have read' -- ANNE McCAFFREY

'[Tigana] is so perfect I don't think I could bear it if Kay wrote a sequel' -- INTERZONE --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Guy Gavriel Kay's unique take on historical fiction has won him legions of admirers and made him an international bestseller. He is the author of nine highly acclaimed novels, including THE SARANTINE MOSAIC books and the acclaimed TIGANA. At the age of 20, he was asked by the Tolkien estate to help Christopher Tolkien with the editing of the Silmarrillion - the first and only time the estate has ever made such a request. His work has been translated into 21 languages, and he has twice won the Aurora Prize, is a three-time World Fantasy Award nominee, and is the recipient of the International Goliardos Prize for his contributions to the literature of the fantastic. Guy Gavriel Kay lives in Toronto. Visit his website, www.brightweavings.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
IN THE AUTUMN SEASON OF THE WINE, WORD WENT FORTH from among the cypresses and olives and the laden vines of his country estate that Sandre, Duke of Astibar, once ruler of that city and its province, had drawn the last bitter breath of his exile and age and died. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GGK's best, and my current favourite novel 26 Nov 2002
By Simon Brooke VINE VOICE
Guy Gavriel Kay is the fantasy writer's fantasy writer. He served his apprenticeship co editing the Silmarillion, before going on to write a very fine pure fantasy trilogy, the Fionavar Tapestry, and then a sequence of books which although having a fantasy setting were clearly based on real episodes in the early medival history of Europe.
Tigana belongs in a sense to this second sequence. It's clear - and the author's afterword admits - that it takes as its starting point the Italy of the eleventh-twelth centuries - but this Italy has suffered more sea change than the Spain of The Lions of Al Rassan, for example; on Kay's spectrum from fantasy to history this lies nearer the fantasy end.
It revisits a character - not an individual, but a type - who appears repeatedly in Kay's fiction: the brilliant, handsome polymath prince, Diarmuid in Fionavar, Bertran in A Song for Arbonne, Alessan here. I'm still not clear why Kay needs to revisit this character again and again...
The characters are well-drawn, complex and engaging (even the villains); the backstory is clearly deep, and the setting very well presented and portrayed with a wealth of detail. The writing is lyrical, engrossing and persuasive.
This is story telling of a very high order, investigating themes of tyrrany, loyalty and love. Don't read this (or, indeed, any other of Kay's books) if you want an easy read or a happy ending; but if you care to use the lens of fantasy to see reality more clearly, more intensely and more painfully, then this is a very fine book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my favourite book ever, bar none 14 April 2007
Yes, this really is better than Lord of the Rings, better than the Ice and Fire series, better than anything else I've ever read.

The story takes place on the peninsula of the Palm, which is loosely based on mediaeval Italy. My knowledge of Italian history is little enough that I wouldn't like to comment on exactly how this has informed Kay's work, but the factual background here seems less intrusive than for A Song for Arbonne or Sailing to Sarantium; this is a fantasy world informed by history, rather than the other way round.

The peninsula was invaded by two wizards, Alberico and Brandin, who have captured four of the nine provinces each. As the last to fall to Brandin, the province of Tigana, did so, the wizard's son was killed in battle. As revenge for killing the son he loved above all else, Brandin obliterates all memory of Tigana, so that no one born outside the province can even hear its name.

Alessan, the only surviving son of the last Prince of Tigana, has sworn to avenge this, and claim back the name of his land. But to kill Brandin is not enough; as he recognises, only the the other's power holds both Brandin and Alberico in check. To be truly free, he must make the wizards destroy each other.

And I could summarise the entire book, and still not come close to why this story is so beautiful. I could talk about the use of fairy tale and legend: how Alessan, the youngest of three sons, is almost bound to be the one who completes his quest; of the twisting of an obscure line of Old Norse poetry into a great battle of good against evil; of Donar, the crippled blacksmith, and of the legend of the Golden Bough replayed: and how its foundation in scholarship makes Kay's writing so much richer. And it would still not be enough.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I have loved this book since I first read it almost ten years ago. It has all the elements of magic and history that you would expect from an epic fantasy like this but above all else this is a book about people: their joys, their pain and their passions. Read it and weep (and laugh and fear and fall in love with it). For my money, Dianora is one of the most richly written female characters I have ever had the pleasure to encounter.
If you are coming to Guy Gavriel Kay for the first time, don't start with this one as he has yet to match it. Start with the Lions of Al-Rassan or A Song for Arbonne and work up this this one. All are wonderful books but this one will always stay with you and you'll find yourself going back to it again and again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shout "Tigana" from the highest towers. 19 Sep 2001
By A Customer
I love this book so much. Having bought this book as a Christmas present for my dad four years ago, "borrowed" it back and read it several times. I feel that I am well qualified to recommend this book to all fantasy fans.
This book contains everything one could ak for from a book. A fantastic love story, an excellent adventure, twists and turns at every corner. It will make you laugh, cry and you will not be able to put this down until you have finished.
The only problem with this book is when it ends. You'll wish it would carry on for ever more...
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A master of fantasy writing 10 Feb 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a friend, during a time when I believed that no good authors existed any more. Mr Kay has proved me wrong! This author is truly a wordsmith, and Tigana is possibly his finest story, as he tells a tale of magic, heartbreak and loss. Side by side with magic marches political intrigue, but Kay has described his world so richly that this does not seem a bizarre pairing. His characters are wonderfully flawed - no one individual is truly good or truly bad. He has written very human characters, allowing even the antagonist to merit sympathy from the readers. All in all, a truly fantastic book, and worth reading several times over throughout your life. Thanks to Guy Gavriel Kay, my faith in authors has been restored.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Of all the books I read, Tigana is definitely one that stands out, and...
Note: contains some spoilers which will only encourage you to read Tigana.

Of all the books I read in my early twenties, Tigana is definitely one that stands out, and... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Dhruv & Arati Devasher
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Really slow. Gave up half way through.
Published 22 days ago by Lucy Yardley
4.0 out of 5 stars Cut Above
This is a cut - a very large cut - above your usual Extruded Fantasy Product. On the surface it is a story of heroes and villains, in which at the end the heroes all live and get... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tiny Bulcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reall good
Published 1 month ago by Jojo
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy by Geek
This is an enjoyable fantasy novel. The author is widely-read, which gives an unusual structure to the story of the lost country of Tigana. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. Preater
5.0 out of 5 stars Tigana
Another stunner of a book by GGK although this one is a stand alone book and is based loosely on Italy in the 11th and 12th centuries. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
All books by GG Kay are well worth reading. He has a magic way of telling a story and making his characters very real. I buy new ones without question as soon as they appear
Published 6 months ago by Philip K Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure class
This is simply one of the best fantasy books you will ever read. Strong characters, great plot and beautifully written.
Published 6 months ago by noodles
5.0 out of 5 stars So good it earned a spot on the "read once per year" list.
I read. A lot. So much so that when I was younger and couldn't afford to support my habit I turned to rereading my top 20 books of all time once every year. Read more
Published 8 months ago by D. A. Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book is epic. It is a long read, but well worth the time. Though the pace can be slow, I find myself often frustrated (in a good way) by Kay's POV changes. Read more
Published 8 months ago by equuleus
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