cover image River of Stars

River of Stars

Guy Gavriel Kay. Roc, $26.95 (576p) ISBN 978-0-451-46497-2

The second chapter in the history of the ancient China–inspired empire of Kitai is exquisitely rendered alternate historical fantasy. Several hundred years after the events of Under Heaven (which was set in the equivalent of the Tang Dynasty), teen Ren Daiyan demonstrates legend-level archery prowess and becomes a marsh outlaw. Years later, when a cloistered emperor’s hobby begins destroying lives, Daiyan tries to redeem his honor by joining the imperial army to halt the empire’s decline. In a world ruled by gentleman scholars, female artist Lin Shan is lauded for her unique talent in the masculine arts of poetry and calligraphy. Shan’s courtly skills will prove vital to Daiyan as he navigates around scheming ministers, supernatural fox-women, and horsemen who drink from the skulls of their enemies. Students of Chinese literature will delight in allusions to Song Dynasty poetry and Chinese classics, and even casual readers will savor a flawed, complex culture, meticulously researched and recreated in powerful prose. Agent: John Silbersack, Trident Media Group. (Apr.)