Ysabel

Ysabel

3.7 56
by Guy Gavriel Kay
     
 

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Saint-Sauveur Cathedral of Aix-en-Provence is an ancient structure of many secrets-a perfect monument to fill the lens of a celebrated photographer, and a perfect place for the photographer's son, Ned Marriner, to lose himself while his father works.

But the cathedral isn't the empty edifice it appears to be. Its history is very much alive in the present day-and

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Overview

Saint-Sauveur Cathedral of Aix-en-Provence is an ancient structure of many secrets-a perfect monument to fill the lens of a celebrated photographer, and a perfect place for the photographer's son, Ned Marriner, to lose himself while his father works.

But the cathedral isn't the empty edifice it appears to be. Its history is very much alive in the present day-and it's calling out to Ned...

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Guy Gavriel Kay's Ysabel is a departure of sorts for the Canadian author renowned for his historical fantasies (The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Last Light of the Sun, et al.). This is a contemporary fantasy set in the Provence region of France that chronicles the adventures of a 15-year-old boy who, while accompanying his famous photographer father on a six-week shoot of an ancient cathedral in Aix-en-Provence, stumbles into a millennia-old conflict involving the spirits of a Celtic warrior and a Roman trader who are in love with the same woman. Even death cannot end the love the two men feel for her: Year after year, decade after decade, century after century, the supernatural battle continues (replete with druids, ghostly boars and wolves, etc.) until young Ned Marriner unknowingly becomes involved and, in the process, uncovers jaw-dropping secrets concerning the bloody history of Provence, his extended family -- and himself.

Unlike the Celtic priests referenced in Ysabel, readers will not have to make sense of bird entrails or interpret oracular pigs to know that Kay's latest novel is an utterly readable storytelling tour de force. Ysabel is as meticulously researched and richly detailed as any (and all) of Kay's works, but longtime fans may be a bit surprised by the decidedly adolescent narrative voice and unusually straightforward plotlines in this book. Featuring a typical, hormonal 15-year-old boy as the novel's protagonist (equipped with iPod, cell phone, sarcastic attitude, etc.), Kay's first full-fledged contemporary fantasy should, however, broaden his readership immensely. Blending historical fantasy and psychological thriller with a paranormal-powered coming-of-age tale, Ysabel will not only appeal to adult fantasy readers but also to adolescents who have enjoyed authors that feature compelling teen protagonists -- such as J. K. Rowling and Christopher Paolini. Paul Goat Allen
Michael Sims
… Kay tells a vivid and satisfying tale, with moments of sublime eeriness when past and present blur.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Kay (The Last Light of the Sun) departs from his usual historical fantasies to connect the ancient, violent history of France to the present day in this entrancing contemporary fantasy. Fifteen-year-old Canadian Ned Marriner accompanies his famous photographer father, Edward, on a shoot at Aix-en-Provence's Saint-Saveur Cathedral while his physician mother, Meghan, braves the civil war zone in Sudan with Doctors Without Borders. As Ned explores the old cathedral, he meets Kate Wenger, a geeky but attractive American girl who's a walking encyclopedia of history. In the ancient baptistry, the pair are surprised by a mysterious, scarred man wielding a knife who warns that they've "blundered into a corner of a very old story. It is no place for children." But Ned and Kate can't avoid becoming dangerously entangled in a 2,500-year-old love triangle among mythic figures. Kay also weaves in a secondary mystery about Ned's family and his mother's motivation behind her risky, noble work. The author's historical detail, evocative writing and fascinating characters-both ancient and modern-will enthrall mainstream as well as fantasy readers. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Ned Marriner joins his father, the famous photographer Edward Marriner, for an extended stay in Provence, an area of France steeped in both Celtic and Roman history. Then, a visit to Saint-Sauveur Cathedral in the town of Aix brings Ned together with Kate Wenger, an American exchange student, and a man who appears to be much, much older than one would think—and both Ned and Kate become caught up in another time where the reenactment of an old story draws the two young people into a cycle of myths and legends in which truth, love, courage, and sacrifice are the only things that matter. An explorer of history and myths, Kay (The Last Light of the Sun) has a special affinity for the people behind the larger-than-life legends that persist through time. His latest fantasy blends time and place in a crossing of worlds and universal truths. Highly recommended.


—Jackie Cassada

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451461902
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/05/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
732,000
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Guy Gavriel Kay is an internationally bestselling author. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in the literature of the fantastic, is a two-time winner of the Aurora Award, and won the 2008 World Fantasy Award for Ysabel. His works have been translated into twenty-five languages.

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