Reviews of All the Seas of the World

Review by Robert J. Wiersema of The Toronto Star. At first glance, “All the Seas of the World,” the new novel from Toronto writer Guy Gavriel Kay seems like exactly what one would expect. A compelling historical fantasy, the novel depicts a world on the cusp of change, exploring both the heights of power and those affected by the decisions of the powerful. Steeped in detail and flush with memorable characters, it is a fine example of how Kay has become something of an institution in the world of speculative fiction, with works translated into nearly two dozen languages, a rucksack full of awards, and an appointment to the Order of Canada to his credit…

Review by Bill Capossere of Fantasy Literature. As I write this, it’s early spring in Rochester, and those who live in the Northeast knows what that means. Cold. Clouds. Wind. The false promise of warmth. The precipitation that no longer falls in feet and inches but instead has become a more annoying (and far less pretty) alternation of rain and sleet and hail that you know has to stop soon, will stop soon, but still Just. Keeps. On. Happening. Bleak, yes. But then here it is: a new Guy Gavriel Kay book arriving like an early harbinger of spring — a shaft of sun through the cloud cover, a cardinal’s trill cutting through the wind in the bushes, a sudden spike into the sixties. And suddenly you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else…

Review by Liz Robinson of LoveReading. With echoes of the Renaissance Guy Gavriel Kay brings intrigue, revenge, war, and exile face to face with love, friendship, and hope. This powerful and striking story begins with those tasked with an assassination, and grows to encompass many more people and places. Here we continue on in the times from A Brightness Long Ago featuring new as well as previously met characters. If you’ve not yet stepped foot into this particular world (not all of his novels are from these lands), then the quality of writing is such that you can most certainly read All the Seas of the World as a standalone. Please do though visit past books as not only are there truly beautiful stories to discover and the obvious connection to the previous novel, there are other whispers too from longer ago…

Review by Sal A. Joyce of Booklist. International best-selling author Kay (A Brightness Long Ago, 2019) returns to his richly drawn fantasy world resembling fifteenth-century Europe, serving readers a suspenseful story of war, love, trauma, religion, sabotage, death, and friendship.

Review by Noah Fram of BookPage. Set in the same Renaissance Mediterranean-inspired world as Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago, Guy Gavriel Kay’s All the Seas of the World follows Rafel ben Natan and Nadia bint Dhiyan, merchants and privateers on a mission to assassinate the khalif of Abeneven. On the way, they travel with feared warlords; consort with kings, emperors and popes; and inadvertently start a war of vengeance that some call holy. But because they are always a few steps removed from real power, Rafel and Nadia are never able to correct the injustices they encounter. Kay’s fictional worlds, while beautiful, are defined by this bleak inertia; his characters see their homes fade from the map and their own lives taken for the pettiest of causes. This perspective allows Kay to address serious topics within the framework of a fantasy adventure novel, but he never tips into the sort of grimdark cynicism that would cheapen his insights (and seriously depress some readers)…

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