Ysabel – Guy Gavriel Kay Book Review

Dawn was exquisite, memorable, almost a taste, on the day a tale that had been playing out for longer than any records knew began to arc, like the curve of a hunter’s bow or the arrow’s flight and fall, towards what might be an ending.

Ysabel has been one of Kay’s most successful novels. It was nominated for the White Pine Award, and spent five weeks as the #1 bestseller in Canada. The Globe and Mail called Ysabel “a splendid addition to (Kay’s) body of work,” praising the novel’s well-developed characters, interweaving of myth and believable relationships, and “breathless realism”. Ysabel was awarded the 2008 World Fantasy Award—Novel.

In this exhilarating, moving novel set in modern and ancient Provence, Guy Gavriel Kay casts brilliant light on the ways in which history – whether of a culture or a family – refuses to be buried.

Ned Marriner, fifteen years old, has accompanied his photographer father to Provence for a six-week “shoot” of images for a glossy coffee-table book. Gradually, Ned discovers a very old story playing itself out in this modern world of iPods, cellphones, and seven-seater vans whipping along roads walked by Celtic tribes and the Roman Legions.

On one holy, haunted night of the ancient year, when the borders between the living and the dead are down and fires are lit upon the hills, Ned, his family, and his friends, are shockingly drawn into this tale, as dangerous, mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, claiming and changing lives.


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