'The greatest living author of epic fantasy' - Brandon Sanderson
'The finest in his field' - Tor.com
'Guy Gavriel Kay's A Brightness Long Ago is a masterpiece; perhaps the finest work of one of the world's greatest living storytellers' - Fantasy Book Review
***One of Goodreads' Most Anticipated SFF Books of 2019***
Internationally bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay's latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy, with an extraordinary cast of characters.
In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man looks back on his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra's intelligence won him entry to a renowned school, though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a ruling count - and soon learned why that man was known as The Beast.
Danio's fate changed the moment he recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the count's chambers one night - intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen a life of danger - and freedom - instead.
Other vivid figures share the story: a healer determined to defy her expected lot; a charming, frivolous son of immense wealth; a religious leader more decadent than devout; and, affecting these lives and many more, two mercenary commanders, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance.
Further praise for Guy Gavriel Kay
'Contemporary fiction's finest fantasist' Tor.com
'History and fantasy rarely come together as gracefully or readably as they do in the novels of Guy Gavriel Kay' Washington Post
'One of the (if not the) premiere fantasists of our time' The Financial Times
'Compulsively readable . . . Kay is a global phenomenon . . . a storyteller on the grandest scale' Time Magazine (Canada)
Kay returns to the rich world of Children of Earth and Sky in order to focus on Batiara, an analogue of early Renaissance Italy, in this lovely work of historical fantasy. Narrated primarily by Guidanio Cerra, a clever young scholar, the story centers on two powerful and magnetic warlords, Teobaldo Monticola of Remigio and Folco Cino of Acorsi, as they dance around each other in a series of elaborate machinations. Folco's plots including assassinating the ruler of a nearby city-state in a bid for power and fixing a famous horse race for financial gain are always countered in some way by Teobaldo, his foremost rival. Their long-standing hatred of each other not only alters the brutal and heavily stratified world around them but changes the lives of those drawn into their orbits: Folco's fiercely independent niece Adria, queer itinerant healer Jelena, feckless merchant noble Antenami Sardi, Guidanio himself, and many others. Though not quite as intricate as Kay's early work, this well-constructed tale still has all the thoughtfulness and poignancy his fans have come to love and expect.