I've never met a Guy Gavriel Kay book I didn't thoroughly enjoy (we'll ignore for now my disappointment with his previous book, Ysabel, which didn't quite do it for me - though I don't seem to have shared that here since I wasn't blogging much when I read it). Any new novel by Kay is a treat so I have been eagerly looking forward to Under Heaven.
Kay's books are difficult to label by genre - call them history laced with elements of fantasy, and his novels are so beautifully written that I think they could be enjoyed by any fan of literary fiction, even those who might not normally be drawn to fantasy or history. Under Heaven is a fine example of Kay's style - he takes a historical period and setting, researches it meticulously, then creates an absorbing and believable world which is somewhat like, but not quite the same as that time and place and fills it with complex and utterly fascinating characters and events. In this case we are treated to a story set in a China-like country called Kitai, which bears similarities to the Tang dynasty. Political intrigue, poetry, powerful (even dangerous) women, assassins, emperors and soldiers are all part of this marvellous tale.
Honestly, I don't know how many more superlatives I can come up with so I will just say that if any of what you've read so far interests you, I'd love for you to pick up this novel and read it and let me know what you thought.
(As a side note, I can't resist sharing that I have had the luck to win seats at an upcoming radio show here in Vancouver where Kay will be interviewed and possibly read from this book. I am so excited - I've been reading his novels since 1993 and will be beyond thrilled to sit in on the program! I will try to share a link to a podcast of the show once it becomes available in a few weeks' time.)