Guy Gavriel Kay
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View our feature on Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven.In his latest innovative novel, the award-winning author evokes the dazzling Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China in a story of honor and power.
Inspired by the glory and power of Tang dynasty China, Guy Gavriel Kay has created a masterpiece.
It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father's last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.
You give a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You give him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor.
Wisely, the gift comes with the stipulation that Tai must claim the horses in person. Otherwise he would probably be dead already...
No, her real fear right now is of herself. Word has come by courier from Chenyao. That was days ago. Travelling at any normal speed, a horseman from that city could be here tomorrow, or even tonight. And Tai is riding, if the tale is to be believed, a Sardian steed. A Heavenly Horse, from her home. Rain is too self-possessed, too controlled (always has been), to attach meaning or weight to that last. Nor is she a poet, as some of the courtesans are. She sings the songs others have written. But
Tree Garden here.” “My lord prince, if I may?” It was Tai’s brother. “We are confused. Please enlighten us all. You say there are ways of dealing with Roshan. That suggests you agree he needs to be dealt with, if your servant may be so bold. The first minister and all of us who labour, unworthily, to assist him in his heavy tasks will be grateful for guidance. How does one address the danger General An represents for Kitai and this dynasty?” There was nothing, nothing, Tai thought, of the
ever rests in Xinan, his brother Liu had just said, in a poem. And Rain had been told he was coming. CHAPTER XIX There is a rosewood gazebo near the back wall of the compound. It is set among fruit trees and flower beds, a long way beyond the artificial lake and the island set within it, past the grassy space for entertaining guests, and the bamboo grove with its laid-out paths, and the open area where Wen Zhou’s guards practise swordsmanship and archery. For Rain, the gazebo is a
an uncertain place. You understand that if harm comes to you, all of us forfeit our lives.” Song looked up then. He could see fury in her eyes. “That’s … that’s not fair,” Tai said. Lu Chen blinked, as if this was an observation that had no immediately obvious meaning. Tai didn’t go to the North District. He didn’t try to see his brother, either, though the thought crossed his mind several times a day that he might as well just go to Liu’s house and confront him. He knew Liu spent many
thousand in the Flying Dragon Army in Xinan.” Symbolic rank, symbolic soldiers. An honorary palace guard, sons of aristocrats or senior mandarins, or their cousins. On display, gorgeously dressed, at parades and polo matches, ceremonies and festivals, famously inept in real combat. But as a way to shorten mourning with military rank, to bring a man you wanted to the capital … “I’m sorry,” she said again. Tai realized he’d been silent a long time. He shook his head. He said, “It is a great