I resisted reading The Fionavar Tapestry for a long time. Both my brother and a good friend tried to persuade me, but nothing doing. I thought it sounded stupid. Finally, the friend brought me his copy of the trilogy and ordered me to read the first hundred pages. If I wasn't hooked by then, he would never speak of it again. So I took it home. The next day, I brought it back. He was astonished. Hadn't I liked it? I was going to buy my own copy, I told him.

Guy Gavriel Kay is a god. Although some find The Fionavar Tapestry to be a little disjointed and uneven, it remains my favourite of his novels. (With Tigana a close, close second). Kay defies the conventions of the fantasy genre. He hurts his characters, main characters, badly, and sometimes, they even die. Although good eventually triumphs over evil (so far, but who knows what will happen the next time?), there is always a steep price. He has also refused to make the good guys blameless and the bad guys strictly evil. He makes sure the reader understands both sides of the coin, which more often than not leads to heartbreak.

Another factor I enjoy is the incorporation of traditional mythology into his novels : the Arthurian legends, the Crusades, classic fairy tales, etc... Each novel is also flavoured with different cultures that were obviously thoroughly researched. Kay's attention to detail and nuance are legendary.

So whether you are a fan of fantasy or not, I defy you to read the first hundred pages. And if you are not hooked, I will not mention it again.

Other recommended titles by this author : Tigana, A Song for Arbonne, The Lions of Al'Rassan

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