The Lions of Al-Rassan


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The Lions of Al-Rassan – Guy Gavriel Kay | The Captive Reader

In a game of deception and shifting loyalties, whose side will you fight for? A brilliant new technology. Can Mike save the day, get the girl, and live to tell the tale? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention kay fantasy historical spain guy gavriel fiction tigana novels jehane war rodrigo based events ammar main setting epic beautifully complex.

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Prose changes to present tense for reasons I have no idea why, characters POV changed within the same or the next paragraphs repeatedly making my head hurt literally hurt and also, ended up making me feel so disconnected with the book. View all 78 comments. Nov 30, mark monday rated it really liked it Shelves: The Lions of al-Rassan is on that shelf, mainly due to how this novel perfectly and beautifully - Kay is a gorgeous writer evokes its time period.

View all 25 comments. My hesitation about reading more of this kind of stuff is due in no small part to how it seems like common practice for fantasy authors of turning those stories into multi-book epics, but then stalling out in the middle of a series and leaving fans hanging for years while they work on other projects. All three books were published from to Started in and finished in The Lions of Al-Rassan.

This fictional land has three religions with a bloody history, but an era of uneasy peace is in place among various factions split among them. The Asharites worship the stars and their prophet Ashar while their northern neighbors the Jaddites believe in a sun god. The Kindath worship the two moons, but they have no land or power of their own and exist in both territories as second class citizens who are routinely discriminated against. Prominent people in both the Asharite and Jaddite religions often find it a convenient distraction to blame the Kindath for any problems going on and let their citizens take out their frustrations on them rather than the actual leaders.

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

A female Kindath physician named Jehane bet Ishak has a very long and eventful day in which she meets two legendary men. Ammar ibn Khairan is an Asharite warrior and poet who is famous for having murdered the last caliph which turned formerly united Al-Rassan into independent city states. Rodrigo Belmonte is a Jaddite who leads a lethal company of horseman charged with keeping the peace and protecting the border cities who pay protection to his king.

A series of events begin to change the political landscape of Al-Rassan and ambitious leaders begin plotting while the dour clerics of Jad try to promote a holy war and some of the fanatical desert Asharites see opportunities to sweep away the decadence they believe has infiltrated their society. His religions are obviously based on the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths, and he mines the history of them to make a lot of points about bigotry, hypocrisy and the use of faith to manipulate people. The best thing is the relationship between the three main characters.

Rodrigo and Ammar are done as the kind of bigger-than-life people that emerge during times of great historical conflict whose actions have huge consequences, but he never makes them seem outrageously heroic or unrealistic. Jehane is as strong and independent female character as you can reasonably have in a story set in a society where guys with swords are still in charge. Her being one of the Kindath could have made her seem like a likely candidate to be victimized, but instead, Kay uses her as the voice of sanity caught in the middle of events completely outside of her control.

Kay gets a little too cute sometimes in drawing out suspense like withholding the names of characters who have been killed and trying to fake the reader out. I suspect that Kay wanted to keep his focus on his three main players and that the point of the book was the impact on them, not so much a blow-by-blow account of it happening. However, he went to a lot of effort to suck a reader into this world so it seems odd that he was in such a hurry to finish it up. View all 33 comments. GR Friends too numerous to name. I struggled through the first pages of this book and seriously considered giving up entirely but I persevered to the end albeit skimming through many pages and left profoundly unimpressed.

Upon reflection, my difficulty with the novel is that at no point did the writing engage me. The story had moments of interest but overall I felt cynically manipulated at every point. Points that made it impossible to enjoy this book: Medieval history — particularly the very era when the Reconquista was getting underway — was my focus in college and in my post-graduate studies.

Two points to make here. One is that our heroes and heroines are simply too good to be believed — Rodrigo, Ammar, Jehane, Miranda. A shade more gray e. I felt like I was being hit over the head with their awesomeness as well as with their angst over the terrible dilemmas they found themselves in. The in-your-face nature of the writing made it impossible for me to get into the story or to give a damn about the characters.

Point two is that Rodrigo et al. Like a lot of the book, they were just too good to be true and cringe inducing. This really only irked me in two places as, otherwise, there was nothing obviously anachronistic, and both had to do with the medical technology of the period. Though Muslim and Jewish i. One of the more vile villains — Garcia de Rada — suffers a whip lash.

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Rather than making me dislike her it would have made her more real. Whew…is there anything good I can say about the book? I did give it two stars, after all. I feel like I should have loved this book. Parts of it were so good and it had that tortured world gritty feel to it that's right up my alley. Friends on GR who share common interests one and all loved it. I had to put it down and restart it so many times. The ending tragic and redeeming but I still can't give it more than 2. View all 9 comments.

First of all, allow me to give Kiala her due for picking this book for Vaginal Fantasy. After last month's pick, we were sorely due for something of substance.

I will also remind everyone that last month's pick was MY doing, so I'm duly chastened. The Lions of Al-Rassan is an absolutely mesmerizing book. As I understand it and please correct me in the comments if I am incorrect it's a fantastical alt-history of the Iberian Peninsula.

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With one small exception, I would pause to call it f First of all, allow me to give Kiala her due for picking this book for Vaginal Fantasy. With one small exception, I would pause to call it fantasy at all. In fact, the only issue I had with the book was my own lack of historical knowledge. I was constantly trying to make parallels between the nations, religions and peoples of the book with our own world history, and that was perhaps a little distracting. But, to the story. I don't want to spoil, and I don't really want to get into the intricacies of the tale there are many.

This book does many things, and it does them all well. It's an action tale, a love story, a cautionary tale that seems to hit on modern fears and insecurities, and more. The web of characters seems to constantly expand, and yet I never felt as though I was receiving unnecessary information.

The people in this book are complex, and you'll come to care deeply about many of them. They are all flawed, though some more than others. There is romance, and it is very complicated.

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Good people can do terrible things. You'll forgive some of it, but not all. View all 7 comments. May 20, Chris Berko rated it it was amazing.

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The things some people can do with words is breathtaking. I absolutely loved this book. I have ranted about it to everyone possible, including strangers in cars next to me on the street. I tell them to roll down their windows and then I tell them to read this book. My mom stopped taking my calls because instead of happy mother's day, I quoted lines from this book when I talked to her. There are a lot of reviews for this so I'm not breaking any new ground here, but sincerely, if you have not read The things some people can do with words is breathtaking.

There are a lot of reviews for this so I'm not breaking any new ground here, but sincerely, if you have not read this book and you enjoy reading in any way, pick it up and start immediately. I'm afraid that might even be too late. Five-fireworks exploding in my head for the final eighty pages- stars and the placement of high expectations on a serious love affair with this guys other works.

View all 3 comments. Apr 12, Sam rated it it was amazing Shelves: I love this book. The religions are pretty loosely based, but I think knowing that connection makes the book much easier to place. Oh but this book. I love the emotional gut punches and the beautiful impactful scenes. I could try to write a serious review, but I think Alissa's review is pretty perfect. I recommend this book to everyone.

Apr 06, Mario rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: You will fall in love with one of the characters in this book. I absolutely guarantee it. The only question is, with whom? Will it be with the flamboyant Ammar ibn Khailan, poet, spymaster, kingslayer, warrior? With Jehane, strong and stubborn doctor? Perhaps with Miranda, so beautiful and queenly even when managing a horse ranch?

Or with proud Rodrigo, the Scourge of Al-Rassan, brave, virtuous, faithful?

Lions of Al-Rassan

Or will it be with one of the minor characters? Starstruck Alvar, alluring Zabira, the wise You will fall in love with one of the characters in this book. Starstruck Alvar, alluring Zabira, the wise Ishak or his loving wife? Perhaps you'll be won over by Lain an his cheerful blasphemies, the twins Diego with his strange gift and Fernan with his filial devotion, or by Queen Ines' and her domineering passions?

He is a master storyteller, a world-weaver like few others, and his skillful pen draws for us characters we would love to share a meal, a bed, a life, a world with. In the end, this book is a sad one, an evocation of how when the world turns, some rise up while others must be ground down. Al-Rassan renews itself, leaving behind its old skin, and in doing so, reveals that it is much too small for four people of such heroic proportions. The people you fall in love with die in this book, and it's not suprising I will return to al-Rassan one day, no doubt about it.

Do yourself a favor and read this book NOW. May 19, Chris rated it it was amazing Shelves: I needed a couple of days to let this sink in before writing a review.

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That's how powerful the book was, and its incredible ending. This is one of those books that it's very difficult to write a spoiler-free review for. I could mark it as such and go for it, but then people that haven't read the book will skip the review. The Lions of Al-Rassan is a book I will push on friends. When asked for recommendations, it will float to the top of my list every time.

I won't say it's my all-time favorite, bu I needed a couple of days to let this sink in before writing a review. I won't say it's my all-time favorite, but it's on the short list. So, without spoilers, let's see what we can do. This book is a great example of what epic fantasy should be. Key on the "epic". There really aren't that many traditional fantasy elements; no elves, dwarves, magic, dragons, or forgetful wizards. But it has the passion and scope of medieval society, and the brutality of its warfare. The clash of three religions that really should be compatible but for some reason cause hundreds of years of slaughter between the factions.

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The Lions of Al-Rassan has ratings and reviews. Petrik said: I can't believe this is happening but here I am, my first ever DNF.I DNF'ed t. The Lions of Al-Rassan is a work of historical fantasy by Guy Gavriel Kay. It is set in a peninsula of the same world in which The Sarantine Mosaic and The Last.

This could be a historical fiction, if not for the names being changed. It's an imaginary world, with a huge flavoring of our world's history, that of medieval Spain. And while it has all of that, nothing will prepare the reader for the emotional pull this does on the heartstrings. Kay does not only make you like his characters, he makes you freakin' grieve for them. For their losses, for their ordeals, and sometimes for their deaths.

Sometimes, you even feel relief that Character A survived while Character B did not, and then you feel guilty for feeling that relief, because you loved Character B as well. It is not strictly a historical "real" fiction, though it is closer to that than the former. In fact, I hate to stick a genre label to this book at all, because it truly transcends labeling.

It's a damn good book, period. View all 11 comments. I loved this book. The story is seductive and engaging, the characters are adult, well-rounded and sophisticated, the writing style is very versatile: Subtle, delicate, harrowing, the plot entertains and develops with depth of themes, drama, humour and evenly paced action.

It is historical fantasy, with little or none fantastic elements. The characters and the current g I loved this book. The characters and the current geo-polical situation are introduced following a routine day in the life of the physician Jehane bet Ishak, of the ostracized Kindath faith, in one of the main cities of the Asharite land of Al-Rassan.

She is a woman with agency in lands and in an age where it is difficult to be such, fighting for her autonomy standing on her own merits. Along with her, we met Ammar ibn Khairan of Aljais, the poet who murdered the last khalif of Silvanes, debonair, beguiling and Asharite, and the former constable of Valledo, Rodrigo Belmonte, strong, possessed of a keen intelligence and Jaddite. Though the relationship between the three main characters and the relationship between the two men, a real masterpiece is one of the main elements of the book, the whole cast offers an interesting variety of human types and implications, much to the delight of the reader who likes both character and action-driven books, surely not an easy balance to achieve.

The author blends different cultures into a beguiling tale of warring states, sultry decline, petty revenges, human ambition, atrocities, greed and religious hatred, but also love, loyalty, growth, understanding and healing, where people pay the price of pursuing their dreams, and where the free will of the characters, and chance history, will shape the future of a whole land.

The world has changed. He opens the story in a moment of simmering conflict and precarious balance between two main cultures, with the minority group of another aware of the need to cope with the consequences. In the echoes of a long time ago peninsula Iberica, I found many points to think about our world current situation, the complexity born of mingling religion and politics, the nature of ambitions, the inevitability of change and surely, the bittersweet beauty of human condition.

Beneath the most evident messages, such as the possibility of a civilized world which shuns prejudice and fanaticism, there is a fascinating highlight on the power of self, on the impact of choices, on the beauty and pain of some experiences, on the longing for lost grace and the renewal of hope. Kay does not portray helpless humanity or perfect heroes, nor does he shy from the consequences of the morality and the violence of those times. There was always pride. This kind of stories is not easy, for structure, for nuances, for complexity and themes, for the many explorations of the gamut of the human spirit, but they are of utmost fulfilling emotional reward.

In a book, I want to be entertained; I want to laugh at clever humour and read about compelling characters, layered and ever-developing, I want to follow an engaging story, unpredictable, twisty and original; I want to read great prose. But the books that I will always remember are those which stir something in me, and I both embrace and eschew this kind of sensation because it can also be a little scary. The beauty of focusing my thoughts, of living a book, is also the risk to let the reading touch me deeply, to let my feelings be vulnerable to what a story, an author, is daring me to experience for myself.

The Lions of Al-Rassan resonated with my inner chords and I am drained, but grateful. Two moons for his beloved sisters. Uncountable stars to shine in the night. View all 5 comments. Feb 23, Manju rated it really liked it Shelves: This is the story of how these three become friends and what they choose when it come to make a decision between 4. This is the story of how these three become friends and what they choose when it come to make a decision between friendship, religion and love. Story is set in the medieval Spain and GGk has created an extremely beautiful world.

As always his writing is impeccable and lyrical. I loved this verse: Who says he knows love? What is love, tell me. Little one tell me. Their journey till the end of the book is breathtakingly beautiful. Even the supporting characters were amazing. And the theme of the book, war over religion evokes so many emotions.

After finishing the book I was questioning myself did God really wants His children to slaughter each other over His name? Brave Alvar and my poor self, as we stand humbly before you, are proof that men of different worlds can blend and mingle those worlds. That we can take the very finest things from each, to make a new whole, shining and imperishable.

So if you like reading, read this beautiful tale of love, passion, betrayal, hatred, survival and hope. I'm don't tend to be a crier when I read. If a book can make me cry it deserves 5 stars. Specialty Booksellers Interest-specific online venues will often provide a book buying opportunity.

International Customers If you are located outside the U. About Product Details 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. Harper Voyager On Sale: King of Ashes by Raymond E. Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire. Blackfish City by Sam J.

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