CHILDREN OF EARTH AND SKY
released 12 May 592 pages | Hardback/ ebook Author Guy Gavriel Kay Publisher Hodder and Stoughton
Set in a pseudo- Renaissance Europe, Children Of Earth And Sky is a look at a world of war, commerce and intrigue. Several locations stand in for historical cities, such as Seressa, aka the Venetian Republic, and Dubrava, aka Dubrovnik.
The story follows the fates of a young artist, a disgraced noble lady, a fierce warrior woman, a young soldier and a charming merchant. There’s also an ambassador, a chancellor, the old Empress- mother and more. Some might even say there are too many points of view. Indeed, the story changes between them so swiftly that you struggle to become fully attached to the world or its many characters.
Rather frustratingly the text also changes tense throughout, with all but one of the characters written in the past tense, but changing to present tense for Marin, the merchant. It’s a confusing narrative device that continues to distract and jar throughout the book. If Kay was trying to make a point, it isn’t made clearly enough.
There’s a fantastic plot in Children Of Earth And Sky – it’s a truly sweeping epic – and some brilliant characters. But all of this is mired in clumsy narrative devices and a lack of focus.
Back in 1974/ 1975, when he was a student, Kay worked with Christopher Tolkien, helping to edit The Silmarillion.