Review: All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay

58245889._sy475_Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t keep my grabby hands off of a GGK book, and this one was obviously no exception. So, when it popped up on NetGalley I immediately reached out my grabby hands at it.

So thanks to the author, as well as Berkley for the review copy!

On a dark night along a lonely stretch of coast a small ship sends two people ashore. Their purpose is assassination. They have been hired by two of the most dangerous men alive to alter the balance of power in the world. If they succeed, the consequences will affect the destinies of empires, and lives both great and small.

One of those arriving at that beach is a woman abducted by corsairs as a child and sold into years of servitude. Having escaped, she is trying to chart her own course — and is bent upon revenge. Another is a seafaring merchant who still remembers being exiled as a child with his family from their home, for their faith, a moment that never leaves him. In what follows, through a story both intimate and epic, unforgettable characters are immersed in the fierce and deadly struggles that define their time.

All the Seas of the World is the story that takes place in the same world as Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago. Okay, well… I’m pretty sure that most of his books take place in the same world but these ones take place at a vaguely similar time in this same world. This one especially had characters that were still fresh in my mind. You don’t need to have read the other two to understand what’s happening here, but if you have, you will see familiar names and places.

As I said about A Brightness Long Ago, it can basically go without saying at this point that because this is a GGK book, it is beautifully written. That’s just a given to me at this point.

Dat. Prose. Tho.

This one took me on a lovely ride through alternate-universe Europe just a few years past the alternate-universe Fall of Constantinople to the alternate-universe Ottoman Empire… so… about 1460, give or take? So, we have a recognizable-but-different setting in which GGK places these characters that I could not help but obsess about a little bit. This volume mostly follows Lenia Serrano, a former slave and her merchant partner through everything from an assassination to a reunion. There are other characters who take the stage of course, many of them familiar if you’ve read GGK’s previous two books, but Lenia totally stole the show for me. She lives in a world which is very harsh to women, and slaves, and female former slaves… and yet she doesn’t take crap from anyone along her way… and ‘anyone along her way’ includes everyone from Dukes to Kings to the actual Pope. So, I was a fan of Lenia’s attitude and how it made her more friends than enemies, even in a world not particularly friendly to women.

So, all told I loved All the Seas of the World and I would 100% recommend it to anyone who likes a really well put together alternate history novel, or loves GGK’s work, or loves beautiful prose that takes you away to another world. As I said, you don’t need to read Children of Earth and Sky or A Brightness Long Ago in order to find enjoyment in this novel, but I think that my experience of it was a little better for having read them. Take that as you will. ^_^ 5/5 stars!~


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