by Guy Gavriel Kay


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451457769
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/28/1999
Edition description: REISSUE
Pages: 688
Sales rank: 132,804
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Guy Gavriel Kay is the international bestselling author of numerous fantasy novels including The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy, Tigana, The Last Light of the Sun, Under HeavenRiver of Stars, and Children of Earth and Sky. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in the literature of the fantastic, and won the World Fantasy Award for Ysabel in 2008. In 2014 he was named to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor. His works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.

Read an Excerpt


Both moons were high, dimming the light of all but the brightest stars. The campfires burned on either side of the river, stretching away into the night. Quietly flowing, the Deisa caught the moonlight and the orange of the nearer fires and cast them back in wavery, sinuous ripples. And all the lines of light led to his eyes, to where he was sitting on the riverbank, hands about his knees, thinking about dying and the life he’d lived.

There was a glory to the night, Saevar thought, breathing deeply of the mild summer air, smelling water and water flowers and grass, watching the reflection of blue moonlight and silver on the river, hearing the Deisa’s murmurous flow and the distant singing from around the fires. There was singing on the other side of the river too, he noted, listening to the enemy soldiers north of them. It was curiously hard to impute any absolute sense of evil to those harmonizing voices, or to hate them quite as blindly as being a soldier seemed to require. He wasn’t really a soldier, though, and he had never been good at hating.

He couldn’t actually see any figures moving in the grass across the river, but he could see the fires and it wasn’t hard to judge how many more of them lay north of the Deisa than there were here behind him, where his people waited for the dawn.

Almost certainly their last. He had no illusions; none of them did. Not since the battle at this same river five days ago. All they had was courage, and a leader whose defiant gallantry was almost matched by the two young sons who were here with him.

They were beautiful boys, both of them. Saevar regretted that he had never had the chance to sculpt either of them. The Prince he had done of course, many times. The Prince called him a friend. It could not be said, Saevar thought, that he had lived a useless or an empty life. He’d had his art, the joy of it and the spur, and had lived to see it praised by the great ones of his province, indeed of the whole peninsula.

And he’d known love, as well. He thought of his wife and then of his own two children. The daughter whose eyes had taught him part of the meaning of life on the day she’d been born fifteen years ago. And his son, too young by a year to have been allowed to come north to war. Saevar remembered the look on the boy’s face when they had parted. He supposed that much the same expression had been in his own eyes. He’d embraced both children, and then he’d held his wife for a long time, in silence; all the words had been spoken many times through all the years. Then he’d turned, quickly, so they would not see his tears, and mounted his horse, unwontedly awkward with a sword on his hip, and had ridden away with his Prince to war against those who had come upon them from over the sea.

He heard a light tread, behind him and to his left, from where the campfires were burning and voices were threading in song to the tune a syrenya played. He turned to the sound.

“Be careful,” he called softly. “Unless you want to trip over a sculptor.”

“Saevar?” an amused voice murmured. A voice he knew well.

“It is, my lord Prince,” he replied. “Can you remember a night so beautiful?”

Valentin walked over—there was more than enough light by which to see—and sank neatly down on the grass beside him. “Not readily,” he agreed. “Can you see? Vidomni’s waxing matches Ilarion’s wane. The two moons together would make one whole.”

“A strange whole that would be,” Saevar said.

“’Tis a strange night.”

“Is it? Is the night changed by what we do down here? We mortal men in our folly?”

“The way we see it is,” Valentin said softly, his quick mind engaged by the question. “The beauty we find is shaped, at least in part, by what we know the morning will bring.”

“What will it bring, my lord?” Saevar asked, before he could stop himself. Half hoping, he realized, as a child hopes, that his dark-haired Prince of grace and pride would have an answer yet to what lay waiting across the river. An answer to all those Ygrathen voices and all the Ygrathen fires burning north of them. An answer, most of all, to the terrible King of Ygrath and his sorcery, and the hatred that he at least would have no trouble summoning tomorrow.

Valentin was silent, looking out at the river. Overhead Saevar saw a star fall, angling across the sky west of them to plunge, most likely, into the wideness of the sea. He was regretting the question; this was no time to be putting a burden of false certitude upon the Prince.

Just as he was about to apologize, Valentin spoke, his voice measured and low, so as not to carry beyond their small circle of dark.

“I have been walking among the fires, and Corsin and Loredan have been doing the same, offering comfort and hope and such laughter as we can bring to ease men into sleep. There is not much else we can do.”

“They are good boys, both of them,” Saevar offered. “I was thinking that I’ve never sculpted either of them.”

“I’m sorry for that,” Valentin said. “If anything lasts for any length of time after us it will be art such as yours. Our books and music, Orsaria’s green and white tower in Avalle.” He paused, and returned to his original thought. “They are brave boys. They are also sixteen and nineteen, and if I could have I would have left them behind with their brother . . . and your son.”

It was one of the reasons Saevar loved him: that Valentin would remember his own boy, and think of him with the youngest prince, even now, at such a time as this.

To the east and a little behind them, away from the fires, a trialla suddenly began to sing and both men fell silent, listening to the silver of that sound. Saevar’s heart was suddenly full, he was afraid that he might shame himself with tears, that they would be mistaken for fear.

Valentin said, “But I haven’t answered your question, old friend. Truth seems easier here in the dark, away from the fires and all the need I have been seeing there. Saevar, I am so sorry, but the truth is that almost all of the morning’s blood will be ours, and I am afraid it will be all of ours. Forgive me.”

“There is nothing to forgive,” Saevar said quickly, and as firmly as he could. “This is not a war of your making, nor one you could avoid or undo. And besides, I may not be a soldier but I hope I am not a fool. It was an idle question: I can see the answer for myself, my lord. In the fires across the river.”

“And the sorcery,” Valentin added quietly. “More that, than the fires. We could beat back greater numbers, even weary and wounded as we are from last week’s battle. But Brandin’s magic is with them now. The lion has come himself, not the cub, and because the cub is dead there must be blood for the morning sun. Should I have surrendered last week? To the boy?”

Saevar turned to look at the Prince in the blended moonlight, disbelieving. He was speechless for a moment, then found his voice. “I would have gone home from that surrender,” he said, with resolution, “and walked into the Palace by the Sea, and smashed every sculpture I ever made of you.”

A second later he heard an odd sound. It took him a moment to realize that Valentin was laughing, because it wasn’t laughter like any Saevar had ever heard.

“Oh, my friend,” the Prince said, at length, “I think I knew you would say that. Oh, our pride. Our terrible pride. Will they remember that most about us, do you think, after we are gone?”

“Perhaps,” Saevar said. “But they will remember. The one thing we know with certainty is that they will remember us. Here in the peninsula, and in Ygrath, and Quileia, even west over the sea, in Barbadior and its Empire. We will leave a name.”

“And we leave our children,” Valentin said. “The younger ones. Sons and daughters who will remember us. Babes in arms our wives and grandfathers will teach when they grow up to know the story of the River Deisa, what happened here, and, even more—what we were in this province before the fall. Brandin of Ygrath can destroy us tomorrow, he can overrun our home, but he cannot take away our name, or the memory of what we have been.”

“He cannot,” Saevar echoed, feeling an odd, unexpected lift to his heart. “I am sure that you are right. We are not the last free generation. There will be ripples of tomorrow that run down all the years. Our children’s children will remember us, and will not lie tamely under the yoke.”

“And if any of them seem inclined to,” Valentin added in a different tone, “there will be the children or grandchildren of a certain sculptor who will smash their heads for them, of stone or otherwise.”

Saevar smiled in the darkness. He wanted to laugh, but it was not in him just then. “I hope so, my lord, if the goddesses and the god allow. Thank you. Thank you for saying that.”

“No thanks, Saevar. Not between us and not this night. The Triad guard and shelter you tomorrow, and after, and guard and shelter all that you have loved.”

Saevar swallowed. “You know you are a part of that, my lord. A part of what I have loved.”

Valentin did not reply. Only, after a moment, he leaned forward and kissed Saevar upon the brow. Then he held up a hand and the sculptor, his eyes blurring, raised his own hand and touched his Prince’s palm to palm in farewell. Valentin rose and was gone, a shadow in moonlight, back towards the fires of his army.

The singing seemed to have stopped, on both sides of the river. It was very late. Saevar knew he should be making his own way back and settling down for a few snatched hours of sleep. It was hard to leave though, to rise and surrender the perfect beauty of this last night. The river, the moons, the arch of stars, the fireflies and all the fires.

In the end he decided to stay there by the water. He sat alone in the summer darkness on the banks of the River Deisa, with his strong hands loosely clasped about his knees. He watched the two moons set and all the fires slowly die and he thought of his wife and children and the life’s work of his hands that would live after him, and the trialla sang for him all night long.



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.

No servants of the Triad were by his side to speak their rituals at his end. Not the white-robed priests of Eanna, nor those of dark Morian of Portals, nor the priestesses of Adaon, the god.

There was no particular surprise in Astibar town when these tidings came with the word of the Duke’s passing. Exiled Sandre’s rage at the Triad and its clergy through the last eighteen years of his life was far from being a secret. And impiety had never been a thing from which Sandre d’Astibar, even in the days of his power, had shied away.

The city was overflowing with people from the outlying distrada and far beyond on the eve of the Festival of Vines. In the crowded taverns and khav rooms truths and lies about the Duke were traded back and forth like wool and spice by folk who had never seen his face and who would have once paled with justifiable terror at a summons to the Ducal court in Astibar.

All his days Duke Sandre had occasioned talk and speculation through the whole of the peninsula men called the Palm—and there was nothing to alter that fact at the time of his dying, for all that Alberico of Barbadior had come with an army from that Empire overseas and exiled Sandre into the distrada eighteen years before. When power is gone the memory of power lingers.

Perhaps because of this, and certainly because he tended to be cautious and circumspect in all his ways, Alberico, who held four of the nine provinces in an iron grip and was vying with Brandin of Ygrath for the ninth, acted with a precise regard for protocol.

By noon of the day the Duke died, a messenger from Alberico was seen to have ridden out by the eastern gate of the city. A messenger bearing the blue-silver banner of mourning and carrying, no one doubted, carefully chosen words of condolence to Sandre’s children and grandchildren now gathered at their broad estate seven miles beyond the walls.

In The Paelion, the khav room where the wittier sort were gathering that season, it was cynically observed that the Tyrant would have been more likely to send a company of his own Barbadian mercenaries—not just a single message-bearer—were the living Sandreni not such a feckless lot. Before the appreciative, eye-to-who-might-be-listening, ripple of amusement at that had quite died away, one itinerant musician—there were scores of them in Astibar that week—had offered to wager all he might earn in the three days to come, that from the Island of Chiara would arrive condolences in verse before the Festival was over.

“Too rich an opportunity,” the rash newcomer explained, cradling a steaming mug of khav laced with one of the dozen or so liqueurs that lined the shelves behind the bar of The Paelion. “Brandin will be incapable of letting slip a chance like this to remind Alberico—and the rest of us—that though the two of them have divided our peninsula the share of art and learning is quite tilted west towards Chiara. Mark my words—and wager who will—we’ll have a knottily rhymed verse from stout Doarde or some silly acrostic thing of Camena’s to puzzle out, with Sandre spelled six ways and backwards, before the music stops in Astibar three days from now.”

There was laughter, though again it was guarded, even on the eve of the Festival, when a long tradition that Alberico of Barbadior had circumspectly indulged allowed more license than elsewhere in the year. A few men with heads for figures did some rapid calculations of sailing-time and the chances of the autumn seas north of Senzio province and down through the Archipelago, and the musician found his wager quickly covered and recorded on the slate on the wall of The Paelion that existed for just such a purpose in a city prone to gambling.

But shortly after that all wagers and mocking chatter were forgotten. Someone in a steep cap with a curled feather flung open the doors of the khav room, shouted for attention, and when he had it reported that the Tyrant’s messenger had just been seen returning through the same eastern gate from which he had so lately sallied forth. That the messenger was riding at an appreciably greater speed than hitherto, and that, not three miles to his rear was the funerary procession of Duke Sandre d’Astibar being brought by his last request to lie a night and a day in state in the city he once had ruled.


Excerpted from "Tigana"
by .
Copyright © 1999 Guy Gavriel Kay.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Tigana 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But there is no way im paying $18 for an ebook
littlegeek on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Ok, well, I tried another GGK novel just because so many Green Dragoners like him so much and I truly respect their opinions. But I am stalled half way through this one and I don't think I'm going to finish it.There's a lot to respect here. He does write well, he does have some interesting things to say about culture and oppression. I do like the honest sex scenes. My problem is mostly with his characters. It's the romance genre style of characterization: the men are all either dashing heroes or dastardly villians, the women are defined mostly by their sexuality and it's the old virgin/whore continuum. Yes, he tries to shoehorn in some shades of grey, for instance, having his hero torture a sorcerer into working for him, but it feels like he's doing it to do it, rather than convincingly rendering character. I wish I were more articulate about it, but it just doesn't hold water for me. He also seems to have a thing about having his heroine fall hopelessly in love someone she should utterly hate. I'm not sure what the point of this is, apparently it's supposed to be tragic, but to me it's just the worst sort of misogynistc tripey melodrama.Perhaps I will be moved to finish it one of these days, but my TBR is too high. I have read enough commentary to get the gist of what happens in the end (I actually figured out who the fool was), and it is not motivating me.
contraversion on LibraryThing 29 days ago
When I read this novel, the Iraq war was raging and Katrina had just destroyed New Orleans. What I got most strongly from Tigana was that it was about the psychology of defeated people and it gave me a richer understanding of the real world events.Tigana also has one of the best endings I've ever read. Completely satisfying.
POvidiusNaso on LibraryThing 29 days ago
There are some very nice fantastic elements in this, from the prophetic beastess to the odd ghost-world. Also, the storyline of Brandon and his consorts was a touching, delightful read. But the bulk of the story focuses around some characters who are unbelievable, and who feel too competent and unthreatened. Had the main storyline been dropped after the first chapter, this book would have been excellent. Instead, it feels as though the author intertwined excellent ideas and stories into an overarching unreality masking as reality.
beentsy on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Gorgeous book. Kay's writing is so beautiful and fluid, you are transported into his world. Loved it.
raylay on LibraryThing 29 days ago
A great read, with a different kind of ending that I rather enjoyed. I love his style, his characters, and the conflict. He does a great job of making you love and hate a character - oh what conflicting feelings! Kay is truly a wonderful writer.
johnthefireman on LibraryThing 29 days ago
A very good fantasy work. It is gripping reading. Much of the geography and politics is very earthly and recognisable, which somehow makes it easier to read. Even the magic is low-key much of the time, albeit with occasional spectacular displays. It uses some interesting themes - music and the arts, memory - to weave the story.Unlike many fantasy novels, it recognises the existence of sex, in a fairly matter-of-fact way rather than eroticism.All in all, a very good read, with quite a few surprises.
Tryion on LibraryThing 29 days ago
My wifes favorite book. Great characters with unexpected twists and turns. I was disapointed with the end however. I will need to read it again.
jade_kadir on LibraryThing 29 days ago
This is by far my favorite book ever. I've read it at least a dozen times and every time I read it, it makes me cry. It is emotionally powerful and touches my soul.
RaceBannon42 on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, is a beautifully written example of high fantasy. It tells the story of the people of the Palm, nine provinces located on a peninsula and surrounded by greater powers. Eight of the provinces have by conquered by two separate tyrants Brandin, King of Ygrath hold sway in the west, and Alberico of Barbadior rules in the East. The driving point of the story is the fate of the province of Tigana, and its remaining survivors, for it was the Prince of Tigana who had slain the son of the Tyrant Brandin. In revenge the King of Ygrath not only scourged the land itself but cast a sorcery over the rest of the palm wiping the very memory of Tigana of anyone not born there. This is why Alessan the Heir of Tigana has gathered his company together. To take down the Tyrants and restore freedom to the people of the Palm. Kay is a true wordsmith. His prose is beautiful and moving. His world building is not very deep, but where most high fantasy seems to have evolved into epic multi volume series, the economy here is welcome. The characters are interesting, and deep, even the antagonists receive enough attention so they are more than just a mysterious dark lord. If the story falls short anywhere its in plotting. It is a fairly standard story line, a group of heroes struggling against an oppressor. Perhaps I've become a bit cynical, but by and large there seem to be a lot of times where the heroes make it out of impossible situations nearly unscathed due to fortunate coincidences or twists of fate. Despite this the ending is rather bittersweet, Kay doesn't totally cop out with an entirely happy finish to the story. Tigana was a good read. I liked it quite a bit. When starting a new book with unfamiliar characters, it tends to take me a while to find my footing, and feel out who is who. I reached this point about 100 pages in, and from there everything rolled by very smoothly. Its a very traditional story, and the ending left me very satisfied. This is probably a must read for fans of high fantasy. 8 out of 10
heidilove on LibraryThing 3 months ago
classic high fantasy. kay does a great job with bringing this world to life, weaving the many sub plots into a whole.
pastapril on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Another masterful Kay work. I love him to pieces, and found this book to be heart-wrenching. In the beginning I didn't quite understand why Devin and the others from Tigana hated having their name stripped away quite so much, but by the end I felt the same way they did. I love how he made Dianora and Brandin seem like the most sympathetic characters in the world. I didn't feel like he did enough with Sandre's character, however.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book and have been waiting for the Nook version, but why $18.   I guess I'll read my hard copy again.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kerp coming back to Tigana as my favorite GGK novel. The layers of tragedy and overcoming that tragedy in their lives moves me to tears each time i read it.
The-Reviewer More than 1 year ago
Great read. Page-turner. I was looking to read a fantasy novel that wasn't part of a series and found it here. We follow a musician and some wizards that are part of a civil war. His writing will keep you entertained throughout the entirety of the novel and you won't be able to put it down until the war is over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tigana is set in a land called the Peninsula of the Palm and begins during the conquest of two wizards, Brandin (the king) of Ygrath and Alberico (a warlord) from the empire of Barbadior. The Peninsula of the Palm is a divided land with nine provinces that have a long history of squabbling with each other and so the land is not united and cannot withstand the onslaught from Brandin in the west and Alberico in the east. For those who are not familiar with Kay’s works, he often uses a historical nation and period for that nation as a parallel for his worlds. The parallel here is medieval Italy. I do not know much about Italian history and found that it didn’t matter when it came to the story. I understood the scope of the land and people as he described them fine. The last holdout against Brandin is the province known as Tigana. We later find out that Brandin’s beloved son is killed while fighting Tigana and as a result Brandin uses his magic to completely crush Tigana and then erases from the memory of all living the name and history of Tigana except for those that are from there and other wizards. The name when said makes no sense to anybody not from there and (if I remember correctly) nobody not from there can even say the word. Brandin renames Tigana as Lower Corte after the province to their north (and their historical arch rivals). Jump ahead and we begin to meet the characters who will play a role in the rest of the plot. After encountering each other through various places and situations they become a group of rebels who plot to overthrow both tyrants and reclaim their homeland of Tigana. The book contains multiple characters and viewpoints and much of the book is spent investigating each character’s feelings about Tigana and how they identify with the land of their birth as well as how they cope with having lost that identity. There are also questions the book raises about morality as the rebels also perform questionable acts such as murder in their efforts to reclaim what was once theirs. There are other characters as well, whom I won’t name so as to not give away plot surprises, which must face their own ghosts from the past and self-doubts. To summarize my feelings about the book, I found it to be entertaining and worth the read (or listen as I listened to the audiobook). It isn’t without its issues though. For example, I didn’t really hate or love the rebels. They weren’t loveable characters, yet I could identify with their struggles and victories; still I felt rather neutral towards them even by the end of the book. But maybe that is the point Kay is trying to make, the characters aren’t necessarily loveable or even heroic, maybe they are motivated yet their cause is just as morally grey as their conquerors’ motivations. I also felt the book was slow at several points but Kay seemed to bring action in right at the right moments when I began to feel myself getting a little winded with those spots. Since I did listen to the audio version I would be amiss if I didn’t say something about the narration. The book is narrated by Englishman Simon Vance. I thought he was terrific, he range of character voices was excellent (something that can be an issue with some narrators) and his English accent brought to life what I felt was the maturity with which Kay writes. It was the perfect match in my mind of narrator and text. I am looking forward to hear more audiobooks with Simon Vance reading.
Sephranix More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book from beginning to end. It was so involved and compelling and intricate. Kay wove so many details into this story and so many characters. I just absolutely loved it, and now I'm working my way through the rest of his books. Definitely read this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guy Gavriel Kay paints worlds and characters in a way that makes you want to climb in and disappear into the fabric of the story. Tigana was my first GGK book (I'm working my way through all of his books), and I now give it often as a gift. Exquisite writing, and a compelling and original story. Wonderful for any adult age.
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