The Lions of Al-Rassan [NOOK Book]

Overview

The ruling Asharites of Al-Rassan have come from the desert sands, but over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, their stern piety has eroded. The Asharite empire has splintered into decadent city-states led by warring petty kings. King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, aided always by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan -- poet, diplomat, soldier -- until a summer afternoon of savage brutality changes their relationship ...
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The Lions of Al-Rassan

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Overview

The ruling Asharites of Al-Rassan have come from the desert sands, but over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, their stern piety has eroded. The Asharite empire has splintered into decadent city-states led by warring petty kings. King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, aided always by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan -- poet, diplomat, soldier -- until a summer afternoon of savage brutality changes their relationship forever.

Meanwhile, in the north, the conquered Jaddites' most celebrated -- and feared -- military leader, Rodrigo Belmonte, driven into exile, leads his mercenary company south.

In the dangerous lands of Al-Rassan, these two men from different worlds meet and serve -- for a time -- the same master. Sharing their interwoven fate -- and increasingly torn by her feelings -- is Jehane, the accomplished court physician, whose own skills play an increasing role as Al-Rassan is swept to the brink of holy war, and beyond.

Hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, The Lions of Al-Rassan is both a brilliant adventure and a deeply compelling story of love, divided loyalties, and what happens to men and women when hardening beliefs begin to remake -- or destroy -- a world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062230300
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 74,178
  • File size: 968 KB

Meet the Author

Guy Gavriel Kay was born and raised in Canada. He lives in Toronto, although he does most of his writing in Europe. His novels include ‘The Fionavar Tapestry’ trilogy (described by ‘Interzone’ as ‘the only fantasy work… that does not suffer by comparison with ‘The Lord of the Rings’), ‘Tigana’ and ‘A Song for Arbonne’.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 1, 2010

    Guy Gavriel Kay is an undiscoverd wonder

    His books, for many years, have drawn me back to read and reread again anad again. It started with the 'Hawk of May', then to the trilogy of the 'Summer Tree' and now, reading the Lions of Al Rassan it invokes the time of medival Spain at or near the Crusades. The 'Last Light of the Sun' follows suit after the 'Lions of Al-Rassan'. It is evocative of the three great religions, the loves and hates between each, the ability to cross cultural barriers for a higher common cause and to seek resolution of great and terrible social evils. It is a book for thought and reflection on how these issues are still at odds today. It captures the epic movers and shakers who establish kingdoms and induce historical sweeping change for the generations that will follw.
    There are villians, heroes and tragic loss of love. All of which is epic and stoic in the telling.
    This story is an excellent example of the Kay's style. And many of his other works overlap using the same time frame. It is at the same time nearly historical with a smattering the fantasy and the supernatural.
    And excellant and gentle read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2012

    A masterpiece.

    I can't even think how to review this book. First of all, I guess, it's a good lesson on why not to give up on a book before you finish it. I was more than halfway through, and getting a little frustrated and somewhat bored with Kay's POV changes and introduction of new and mostly peripheral characters so far into the book. This is the fourth Kay book I've read, and I find myself a little put off by his distant approach to events that are positively horrifying. He introduces one of the main characters with a scene of him as an assassin, cool as you please. Made it a little hard to warm up to him later, for me, at least. A later scene of butchery I almost missed as my eyes were skimming a scene that he was describing in this way. Had to go back and reread it. On the other hand, some of the things he writes about are mundane and seemingly very incidental to the plot. I'm wondering from time to time, "Why am I reading this?"

    Anyway, I put the book down and watched some TV shows I'd missed and was hesitant about going back to it. Friends, however, had given it such high recommendations that I decided to continue. That's when it started to get interesting.

    At some point I could not stop reading until I was crying so hard that my dogs got upset and I had to remind myself that it was only a BOOK I was reading, not a rerun of a personal tragedy. Kay's descriptions of the characters and their feelings so closely mirrored my own that it was hard to separate.

    Finally, at the end, the book left me horribly sad and I find I have to give it five stars, not because I enjoyed it but because it's obviously a case of art mirroring life to the nth degree and a work of genius.

    REREAD: 7/18/2012 I'm glad I read this another time even though I'm left with a feeling of overwhelming sadness. I picked up much more of the nuance, the power, the total tragedy of war; the ambiguity of honor; and the primacy of love. I grieve so for the loss of a great man.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent alternate history

    History has condemned Ammar to the role of monstrous butcher as he betrayed an inept monarch by killing him and brought to the Al-Rassan throne a stronger but abusively insane king. Though hated by everyone even the person he put in charge, Ammar will do anything to save his beloved country. As he did once before, he plans to correct his mistake with the same deadly precise solution................. Dr. Jehane is a physician just like her father, who had to choose between his life by bowing to his cruel ruler or his oath. His daughter has doubts that a physician can adhere to their oath to heal while kneeling to the savagery of the monarch. She plans to break her oath by killing the killer of her father................. Rodrigo is a great swordsman recognized by everyone as a hero for his loyalty to the deposed ruler. Since heroes cannot expeditiously be royally killed, he was exiled by the new king. His beloved wife and his children remained behind in Al-Rassan. He wants to come home to see his woman one more time, which means he must bow to the ruler.............. Three individuals from different walks of life impacted by the same pivotal moment are coming together perhaps at another focal point.................... This is a reprint of a classic mid 1990s tale that fictionalizes the fall of Moorish Spain. The three superb main characters struggle with the past and present and have no hope for the future while the support cast brings the era to life. The story line remains powerful and insightful while also entertaining readers with an extraordinary historical fiction thriller that transports audience back to the twelfth or thirteenth century........... Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2004

    an excellent read

    I was kind of skeptical when I first began reading this book, because I had never heard of the author before and, from reading the book jacket, the plot seemed similar to many typical fantasy books that I've read. However, I was dead wrong. This book was excellent, with well-developed characters, florid descriptions and a good plot with interesting ties to actual history. I thouroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to almost anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2002

    I had thought that eloquence was dead.

    This book convinced me otherwise. I would, had I the time, read it over slowly in order to savor it. Alas, time is precious, and I sacrificed perhaps too much simply to read it once. No matter; the price was more than worth it. I would recommend this book to anyone, to everyone, to those who would not normally touch science fiction (which this is not, exactly) or even historical fiction (which this also is not... exactly). This is the first book of Guy Gavriel Kay's that I have read; It will not be the last.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2001

    Well worth the read!!!

    This book was so great. It was enormously entertaining and kept me rapt through each page. I think Kay knows how to capture his audiences with a skill that surpasses most authors out there today. His world is reminiscent of a world that used to exist and I think it adds to the charm of the story. Buy it, read it, enjoy it, and recommend it to others!!!

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    Posted February 7, 2012

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    Posted June 30, 2010

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