cover image Children of Earth and Sky

Children of Earth and Sky

Guy Gavriel Kay. NAL, $27 (560p) ISBN 978-0-451-47296-0

World Fantasy Award–winner Kay (River of Stars) returns to the alternate Renaissance-era Europe of A Song for Arbonne in this engrossing fantasy of plotting nations, colliding religions, and shifting alliances. The stage is enormous. The wealthy city-state Seressa relies on spies to watch neighboring allies and enemies. The ruler of Seressa longs to destroy the Senjani pirates who interfere with trade. But the Senjani serve Rodolfo of Obravic, Holy Emperor of the god Jad, who’s fighting the Asharites in the east, where the ambitious Grand Khalif also bears watching. Three Seressan agents are mustered: ambassador Orso Faleri, embedded in Rodolfo’s court; Leonora Valeri, a noble’s disowned daughter posing as a doctor’s wife bound for Dubrava, a nation that pays tribute to the Khalif; and young artist Pero Villani, ordered to observe the Khalif’s court while painting his portrait. Add vengeful Senjan warrior Danica Gradek, irreverent Dubrava merchant Marin Djivo, and the Khalif’s plot to take a strategically located border fortress, and Kay has enough schemes for a 10-book series. He wields plots and all-too-human characters brilliantly, in a world where nothing is as valuable as information. This big, powerful fantasy offers an intricately detailed setting, marvelously believable characters, and an international stew of cultural and religious conflict writ larger than large. Agent: John Silbersack, Trident Media Group. (May)