The book continues with the story of Crispin and his creation of the huge mosaic in the dome of the temple of Jad in Sarantium. However, it also introduces various other characters the best of which is Rustem a Levantine? physician who has a major part to play in the ensuing story. One can believe absolutely in the lives of these people since the book is written so lucidly but with a great deal of historical fact which adds to the whole story. Crispin is still one of the main characters but others are introduced - Rustem of course, but also the two Emperors of the time and how their actions and proclamations affect the lives of everyone around them. Love and revenge, obsession and heartache all come together into a truly outstanding book. Crispin eventually returns home and...read the book to find out what happens!
This is the second book of the Sarantine Mosaic. The first one, Sailing to Sarantium, I also purchased from you at the same time. As they are meant to be read consecutively, I feel I should comment on the two books and not just the second. I found the whole series to be just spellbinding. The characters are believeable and the storyline was one, I found, that I could not put down. Being new to fantasy fiction, ( Kay's "Under Heaven" whetted my appetite) I am grateful to have found an author who constantly keeps me on the edge of my seat. I love his style of writing and look forward to reading more of his work.
Beautifully written as ever, Kay never fails. Complex and intriguing story line. Yes it's Byzantium under Justinian with a little added magic, but so what? In addition to being a fantastic read, it's a great way to learn some of the history of a period I for one knew next to nothing about.
This novel and its prequel - Sailing to Sarantium - form a marvellous work of fantasy for grown-ups who like proper writing. The depth of research, characterisation and the sheer emotional heft stand it far above most modern fantasy, most of which is childish drivel.
Far far better than his derivative and clunky early work (Fionavar Tapestry); this is up there with Tigana as one of the finest works of modern fantasy. It is not a wildly inventive yarn but rather a well-researched historical fantasia on a Byzantine theme. However, it has that hint of real magic that books in this genre need and greater depth of plot and character than its peers.
What can I say about Guy Gavriel Kay. He is such a talented writer that you are literally drawn into his world. I was really sorry when this book came to an end as I always am with his books. Just fantastic.
Guy Gavriel Kay is and always has been one of my favourite authors. My wife just finished The Fionavar Tapestry on my recommendation... I know she will love as we are both huge Roman History fans as well. It is a whole different look at Byzantium, Justinian, Theodora, Belisarius and even Procopius. Thank you for showing me that what I wanted to do, can be done, even if Harry Turtledove already broke that ground first.
I loved this book ,amazing story (based on real history that I would not have bothered to read in a history book) and I could see the reason for some comparisons to Tolkien. Best book I have read in a long time ,I will probably re read again in the future along with its prequel. A book to savour.
A wonderful read, full of fascinating characters, and superbly written. Silly I know, but I was sad when I'd finished it, it was like having to say goodbye forever to dear friends. I'm sure I'll re-read both this and the prequel Sailing to Sarantium again and again.