A Brightness Long Ago

From the internationally bestselling write of Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan comes a asterful new novel set in a ivid world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offering an extraordinary cast of characters whose lives come together through destiny, love, and mbition.

In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man recalls his youth and the eople who shaped his life. Danio Cerra 's intelligence won him entry to a renowned school even though he was only the on of a tailor. He took service at the ourt of a count -- and soon learned why that man was known as the Beast.

Danio 's fate changed the moment he recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the Beast 's chambers one autumn night, intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen, instead of a life of comfort, one of danger -- and freedom. Which is how she encounters Danio in a perilous time and place.

Unforgettable figures share the unfolding story. Among them: a healer determined to defy her expected lot; a beautiful, frivolous son of immense wealth; a powerful religious leader more decadent than devout; and, affecting all these lives and many more, two larger-than-life mercenary commanders, lifelong adversaries, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance.

A Brightness Long Ago offers both compelling drama and deeply moving reflections on the nature of memory, the choices we make in life, and the ole played by the turning of Fortune 's wheel.
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Published May 14th 2019 by Hodder & Stoughton
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A Brightness Long Ago
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gave it

So the articles on memory that I read supported what Kay said, and I plunged enthusiastically into the story.Fantasy is a enre that is a huge umbrella.

In this case, this fantasy is set in a world somewhat like Italy, with characters somewhat like historical persons in a time rather like the Renaissance.

If you love those times, it will add to your enjoyment of the memoir.

" Why are you telling us about this shoemaker? " Because Kay knows that, at heart, we are all little people in the greater story we live in.

I do n't know if the pages will have the same numbering in the final hardback, but I suspect most of you will know what I loved when you encounter it.

If you 've been reading Guy Gavriel Kay for years, then this nove will bring an added richness to that experience.

gave it

He takes a plot and cast of character, ones that would be curiou enough even in the han of lesser authors, and turns them into something extraordinary through his lyrical and profoundly thoughtful storytelling, his insights into human character and otivations, and his musings on life and its meaning.We like to believe, or pretend, we know what we are doing in our lives.

We move forward as best we can, hoping for light, indness, mercy, for ourselves and those we love.A Brightness Long Ago, like ost of his recent nove, is what Kay aptly describes as “ history with a quarter turn to the fantastic. ” It ’ s a seque of sorts ( though a stand-alone read) to his equally excellent 2016 novel Children of Earth and Sky, set some twenty-five years before the vents of that book, in a slightly fantastical version of Renaissance Italy, here called Batiara.

Their lives, and that of Folco ’ s niece Adria, a rebellious duke ’ s grandson, are seen through the lips of Guidanio ( Danio) Cerra, the eldest of a tailor.Danio, who narrates most of the tale as the reminiscing of an older an, is chosen to receive an education with the parent of nobility because of his intelligence and quickness, raising him far above his humble beginnings.

Or it might prove of immeasurable benefit to both of them.A Brightness Long Ago follows Danio and Adria, Folco and Teobaldo, and others through the first ear or two, as their lives touch and separate and then interweave again.

Adria is a particularly bright spark, a spirited and courageous young woman who is doing her best to live a life outside of the normal restrictions on noblewomen, though she knows the freedom she ’ s found can only be for a limited time.

Kay ’ s storytelling evinces understanding and sympathy for even deeply flawed characters, even those who served the Beast and were aware of the awful thing he did to innocent youths.I think, it is the best thought I have, that he was devoted to the premise of being loyal, in a world with little of that.

gave it

As he ’ s grown older, Kay has developed an insistence on showing the teller ’ s hand that I don ’ t particularly care for or agree with.

He seems to be desperately intent on focusing our attention on the chanciness of fate and the choices of storytelling.That was always an element of his books- and a powerful one when well deployed in some of them ( Arbonne and Tigana both come to mind)- but he ’ s obsessed with it now, and frankly it ’ s getting in the ay.

I skip through battle scenes in almost every book but his because they ’ re about character choices and suspense and really do turn on a knife ’ s edge when he gets going.

Again- he let himself do something he ’ s bad at and it sang again.

I liked that the book focused on a minor character who stayed that relatively that way- not a hero to be discovered to save us all.

I don ’ t see a lot of those written in the high octane genre of high fantasy and I thought it was a strong choice that made some of his points better than any direct lecture would.

And we get good, interesting reasons why he won ’ t want to let any part of it go.

I still think he ’ s better at adding depth to the magic than he is at deconstructing it.

And it ’ s clearly what he ’ s interested in writing on.

gave it

( Though arguably you could say all historical fiction is fantasy.) The author states this book was inspired by his reading about the feud between the Montefeltro and Malatesta families in fifteenth century Italy.

gave it

I have never read Guy Gavriel Kay before, so this was my third read, a historical antasy, where the term fantasy is misleading because it is deployed to throw the most brightest and insightful of spotlights on the complexitie of history and the chaotic reality of the ontemporary world we live in.

He is stute and remarkable, compassionate in his humanity in capturing an era and a place, with insights that can be applied to our world no.

gave it

A Brightness Long Ago is the ale of those who will not be arrayed in glory, whose images will not be painted on the battlement of great houses, and whose names will not be enshrined in history.

Danio is a child of Batiara—a dangerous place then, where you met monsters as often as friends—and he knew a boast of power when he saw it, but nobody could have divulged how these encounters would awaken a dimension in him he never knew existed, that he would be hurled unwary into a tale far more ambitious than he would have been allowed in life had he timorously traced his way back home and let Adria Ripoli become nothing more than a fragmented image flittering at the dge of his memory.

With his invigoratingly hard-to-classify new novel, A Brightness Long Ago, Kay has crafted something audacious: he, refreshingly, tells delicate, fervent, small human stories about names whose significance would be otherwise meaningless, lost in the annals of history, those whose lives would burn onto the shadows like an afterimage of the sun.

His poetr is evocative, yet never extravagant—the kind of potent, poetic writing that you hardly notice for how it flows across the page.Kay is also skilled at conveying place and people, and while the reader is only privy to the small corners—distant and blurred—that the author introduces us to through his haracters, the sheer quantity of history, the ense of scope, and the shadow crumbs he summons for us to creep after—they all unveil a vicious grace, and a deft, sure hand.

Danio and Adria are two of multiple narrators, and with the xception of Danio—who speaks in the first person—their stories are told in alternating third-person narratives without any signposting of who they are to help the reader discern their voices.Luckily, the way A Brightness Long Ago revels in its subversion, and Joyce ’ s choice to interrogate the tropes used to define what a “ hero ” is—as well as our underlying need to ask it—is enough to forgive.

This trilogy is, in many senses, a statement about how heroes do n't always fit our definitions, nor should they, and that 's what sung to me the most.Danio tells the tal of Adria, Folco and Teobaldo as they had been in the mists of his memory—two proud men, fractious and unyielding, each certain the world would fail without them, and the man who had desires and defiance and powers more than others thought she ought to have—and the events that not only changed him, but transmuted him, transporting him to a parallel world with an altered gravitational axis.

It ’ s about choices that are like the leap from a waterfall, events with a fierce kismet feel—a little too coincidental to be entirely coincidences—and “ the random spinning of fortune ’ s wheel. ” It ’ s about the uiet, tremulous achievements of the people whose names will not persevere against the relentless onslaught of time, but who nonetheless left a mark upon the face of the world.

gave it

I am here and it is mine, for as near to always as we are allowed. ” This is only the fifth memoi I ’ ve read from Guy Gavriel Kay, but I feel secure in stating that I ’ ve never come across another author who has his way with words.

This book is somewhere between historical fiction and low fantasy, and Kay straddles that divide with great finesse. “ Perhaps it is true of every life, that times from our youth remain with us, even when the people are gone, even if many, many events have played out between where we are and what we are remembering. ” Danio is one of the lucky youths who, despite low birth, are chosen to attend a school with noble children.

Because of this education and a compelling personality, Danio finds himself in the idst of history in the making throughout his life, whether in the orm of being present during an assassination or witnessing a horse race that will live on in legend or standing on the sidelines as mighty men made war or truces.

First, the central them of the tory were war, romance, and politics.

Second, I believe that I would have enjoyed this story even more and connected with it on a eeper level if I had read Kay ’ s Sarantine Mosiac.

“ Perhaps in the darkest times all we can do is refuse to be part of the darkness. ” Once again, Kay crafted something incredibly beautiful with this tory.

Tigana remains my favorite book my Kay, and among my favorite fantasy novels period, but I now believe that Tigana won ’ t be the least of his works that I will come to love and cherish.

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