Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

Ysabel US cover Ysabel (2007)

Roc fantasy hardcover
cover art by Larry Rostant
416 pages (left)

Viking Canada hardcover
672 pages (right)
Ysabel Canadian cover

From the front flap of the Roc hardcover:
       Ned Marriner is spending six weeks with his father in France, where the celebrated photographer is shooting Saint-Sauveur Cathedral in Aix-en-Provence.  Both father and son fear for Ned's mother -- a physician with Doctors Without Borders, currently assigned to the civil war-torn country of Sudan.  This is not the first time she's placed herself in harm's way to help alleviate suffering -- and Ned has inherited her courage.  He'll need it.
       While exploring the cathedral, Ned meets Kate Wenger, an American exchange student with a deep knowledge of the area's history.  But even Kate is at a loss when she and Ned surprise a scar-face stranger, wearing a leather jacket and carrying a knife, deep inside the cathedral.  "I think you ought to go now," he tells them.  "You have blundered into a corner of a very old story...."
       In this ancient place, where the borders between the living and the long-dead are thin, Ned and his family are about to be drawn into a haunted tale, as mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, changing -- and claiming -- lives.

From the Peguin Canada website:
       Ned Marriner, fifteen years old, has accompanied his photographer father to Provence for a six-week "shoot" of images for a glossy coffee-table book.  Gradually, Ned discovers a very old story playing itself out in this modern world of iPods, cellphones, and seven-seater vans whipping along roads walked by Celtic tribes and the Roman Legions.
       On one holy, haunted night of the ancient year, when the borders between the living and the dead are down and fires are lit upon the hills, Ned, his family, and his friends, are shockingly drawn into this tale, as dangerous, mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, claiming and changing lives.

Read for group discussion on February 11, 2009

How we each rated this book
Dan - Amy 8.5 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri - Barb -
Aaron - Cynthia -
Jackie 8 Ron 9
Jennifer 9

Our book group has also read the following books by Guy Gavriel Kay:
-- A Song for Arbonne  in December 1994
-- The Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy  in January 1998
-- The Lions of Al-Rassan  in May 2002
-- The Last Light of the Sun  in September 2006

Guy Gavriel Kay (1954-     ) is a Canadian fantasy writer.

1987 Aurora Award for The Wandering Fire
1991 Aurora Award for Tigana
2008 World Fantasy Award for novel Ysabel

Kay worked for several years during the 1970s as an assistant to Christopher Tolkien in editing J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion (1977).

Fionavar Tapestry trilogy:
-- The Summer Tree (1985)
-- The Wandering Fire (1986)
-- The Darkest Road (1986)

His following books, all stand alone fantasy novels, are:
-- Tigana (1990), set in land inspired by Italy
-- A Song for Arbonne (1992), set in an alternate troubadour era France
-- The Lions of Al-Rassan (1995), set in an alternate medieval Spain

Sarantine Mosaic duology, set in an alternate Byzantium Empire
-- Sailing to Sarantium (1998)
-- Lord of Emperors (2000)

-- The Last Light of the Sun (2004), is inspired by the Vikings and Saxon England

-- Ysabel (2007), is a fantasy set in present day in Southern France

Poetry collection
-- Beyond This Dark House (2003)

Our book club's page for The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay
Our book club's page for The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
Our book club's page for The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
Guy Gavriel Kay: Bright Weavings, the Authorized website
Guy Gavriel Kay - Wikipedia
SF Site Interview - A Conversation with Guy Gavriel Kay (2000)
Strange Horizons Reviews: Two Views: Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
SF REVIEWS.NET: Ysabel / Guy Gavriel Kay
Green Man Review: Guy Gavriel Kay, Ysabel
The SF Site Featured Review: Ysabel

Return to Home Page - Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

This page was last updated February 15, 2009