Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gaveriel Kay

Artisan Caius Crispus lost both his daughters and his wife to the plague. His only solace is in his work though even that is barely enough to make him want to go on living. A summons arrives from the emperor in Sarantium inviting Caius' partner Martinian to come to the capital and work on the newly erected sanctuary. Martinian urges Caius to go in his stead citing his age and the fact that Caius has been doing most of the work in recent years so the summons is by right his. Caius is initially reluctant but a meeting with queen Gisel a monarch barely hanging onto power because the various hostile forces wanting to seize Batria are locked in a deadlock, changes his mind. The queen wishes Caius to take an offer of marriage to the emperor and once again unite east with west.

Once again Kaye's world-building is phenomenal.The world in this book is based on the Byzantine period in Roman history and masterfully brought to life. Religion was an area of particular interest, largely a mix of paganism and a christian-like faith. The schisms that existed in the official faith and the coexisting of the paganism were particularly fascinating.

While Caius is the main view point character Kay introduces several others across the narrative. Even though some of these view points are only a few pages in length Kay builds up each of them and almost instantly gains the reader's sympathy and interest in each case.

Overall yet another fine offering from Kay. 9/10.

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