RED Book 22: Tigana – Guy Gavriel Kay


Oh dear. Been a long time hasn’t it? Still the increasingly inaccurately named Read-Every-Day project continues.

Tigana was the Sword and Laser Book Club book for June. And I did actually read it in June but given the current date it’s a poor show that I haven’t written it up until now. Anyway…

Tigana is a fantasy novel set in the world of the Nine Provinces of the Peninsula of the Palm. The Peninsula is split with half the provinces controlled by one foreign tyrant and the other half by the other with a single province remaining neutral. The story follows the journey of a young musician who becomes involved in a quest to unite and free the peoples of the Palm.

With a couple of strong caveats I really enjoyed this book. Caveat number 1 is that it takes a while to get going. If you’re tempted to give up try to keep going until chapter 5 or the scene in the hunting lodge. If you’re not gripped after that fair enough. Same logic applies if you feel confused. There’s a lot of geo-politics early on that does eventually become clear.

Second caveat is that the language takes its time. On S&L it was described as ‘flowery’. I think I’d call it ‘literary’ in any event it can be very descriptive at just the times when you want the story to move forward more quickly. But if that doesn’t bother you or you actively enjoy it then it will be a good read.

Although it’s a fantasy book and there is some mention of magic, mystical creatures and other realms this is really a story about people. It’s about war and the consequences of living with an invading power. There’s some interesting questions about morality in the book and you may find you come to be more sympathetic to more than one character who at first seems irredeemable.

It is quite a long book – 678 pages – and I had to “power through” to make sure I finished it on time. This had consequences for subsequent reading in that I didn’t feel like reading for long stretches after that. But I don’t really hold that against it.

7/10 – could have been more concise but a powerful read nonetheless.




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About shuggie

My name is Shuggie, Paul or LatePaul depending on where you know me from. I work in computers (databases) and occasionally write about softw
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