You know those books you’ve had in your TBR for a while now? You know, the ones that are way at the back, buried deep within the stack of books that partially block the way into the guest room? Yes, those books. The ones you bought a long, long time ago. You’ve been meaning to read them for ages. It’s just that you can’t exactly remember what you have hidden deep inside those massive stacks of books you see everywhere you look.
I’ve decided to do some excavating within my TBR stacks occasionally, and see what I find – welcome to TBR Discovery!
I am very fortunate with this first discovery. I’m pulling together a list of books to take with me on vacation, and I’m adding this one to the pile. I remember now why I bought it way back when – it looks very interesting!
Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay
Ned Marriner is spending springtime with his father in Provence, where the celebrated photographer is shooting images for a glossy coffee-table book.
While his father photographs the cathedral of Aix-en-Provence, Ned explores the shadowy interiors with Kate Wenger, an American exchange student who has a deep knowledge of the area’s history. They surprise an intruder in a place where he should not be: “I think you ought to go in now,” he tells them, drawing a knife. “You have blundered into a corner of a very old story.”
In this sublime and ancient part of the world, where borders between the living and the long-dead are most vulnerable, Ned and those close to him are about to be drawn into a haunted tale, as mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, changing and claiming lives.
First lines: “Ned wasn’t impressed. As far as he could tell, in the half-light that fell through the small, high windows, the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral of Aix-en-Provence was a mess: outside, where his father’s team was setting up for a pre-shoot, and inside, where he was entirely alone in the gloom.”
Why this book? I vaguely recall seeing this book in Chapters sometime last year, and when I saw that it was written by Guy Gavriel Kay, I of course grabbed it to take a closer look. I read the back of the book, and found it interesting (I’m surmising, of course, because I don’t really remember why I decided to buy the book, but since the blurb looks interesting to me now, I assume it must have looked interesting to me last year).
Why did Kay’s name catch my eye?
Back when I was in university, I came across Kay’s The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy (Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire and The Darkest Road). I loved it, of course: five university students find themselves thrust into another world filled with wizards and magic and lots of other lovely epic elements. Not to mention the fact that the first book in the trilogy begins in Toronto, in different locales around the University of Toronto where I was at the time spending my days trying to decide what exactly it was I wanted to do with my life (oh, such potential back then!).
I haven’t read another of Kay’s books since (although I also have Tigana in an even darker, dustier TBR pile somewhere). I think I’ll remedy that with Ysabel; it looks enticing and I’m going to take it with me in July as one of my holiday reads.
Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? I’d love to know what you thought of it!