Guy Gavriel Kay
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
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...
could. Wen Zhou, who was this woman’s kin, holding office because of her. He looked at Jian, across from him. She had peeled her own lychee and, as he gazed, placed it delicately between her front teeth and bit down. Tai shook his head, then smiled. He had to smile, she was so obviously playing with her own desirability. “Oh, good!” she said. She licked her lips, glistening with the fruit. “This will be a tedious journey if you are serious all the time.” The back and forth of it, he thought.
is coming back in a rush of words and thoughts. “Why would anyone have wanted to kill him?” The first question that comes. They shake their heads. Do not answer. Choose not to answer. “Is he all right?” she asks. “He is in Xinan, we are told. And guarded. By Kanlins, which is as it should be. The horses will be even more important now, and they are his. It is a good assurance,” the tallest says. They are not smiling now, she sees. A good assurance. She shakes her head. It is all so strange,
leaders of the Five Families knew their history and geography as well as anyone. Roshan had probably missed a chance, they agreed, exchanging elegantly scripted missives on silk paper, or meeting at one estate or another over summer fruit and wine. He had erred: by waiting in Yenling to have himself crowned, then setting up the trappings of a court, by not moving swiftly enough with the advantage of the first army in the field. It was understandable that he might try to assume the mantle of
dropped the assassin in beside Yan and shovelled the earth from next to the open pit back in and pounded it hard on top and all around with the flat sides of the shovels, against the animals that might come, and Tai had spoken a prayer from the teachings of the Path, and poured a libation over the grave, while the Taguran stood by, facing south towards his gods. It had been nearly dark by then and they’d made their way hastily back to the cabin as the evening star, the one the Kitan people
understood: it wasn’t about kindness to the madman, or even entirely about besting each other. The less time he spent on food, firewood, maintaining the cabin, the more he could devote to his task, which no one had ever done before, and which seemed—once they’d accepted why he was here—to matter to the Tagurans as much as to his own people. You could find irony in this, Tai often thought. They might goad and kill each other, even now, if they chanced to arrive at the same time, and only a