Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay
Forming the first part of Guy Gavriel Kay’s duology The Sarantine Mosaic and inspired by ancient Byzantium, Sailing to Sarantium tells a magnificent, sweeping story of empire, conspiracies and journeys, both physical and spiritual. First published in 1998 it was followed by Lord of Emperors in 2000.
Rumoured to be responsible for the ascension of the previous Emperor, his uncle, amid fire and blood, Valerius the Trakesian has himself now risen to the Golden Throne of the vast empire ruled by the fabled city, Sarantium.
Valerius has a vision to match his ambition: a glittering dome that will proclaim his magnificence down through the ages. And so, in a ruined western city on the far distant edge of civilization, a not-so-humble artisan receives a call that will change his life forever.
Crispin is a mosaicist, a layer of bright tiles. Still grieving for the family he lost to the plague, he lives only for his arcane craft, and cares little for ambition, less for money, and for intrigue not at all. But an imperial summons to the most magnificent city in the world is a difficult call to resist.
In this world still half-wild and tangled with magic, no journey is simple; and a journey to Sarantium means a walk into destiny. Bearing with him a deadly secret, and a Queen's seductive promise; guarded only by his own wits and a bird soul talisman from an alchemist's treasury, Crispin sets out for the fabled city from which none return unaltered.
As previously mentioned, Kay's fictional Sarantium is inspired both by 6th century Byzantium and also by the portrayal of it within of the poems of W. B. Yeats.
I have long enjoyed Guy Gavriel Kay's work and I would place Sailing to Sarantium up there with Tigana and Under Heaven as the stories I have enjoyed the most, although of course I have enjoyed them all. It is simply beautifully written and from the very beginning I was completely invested in the story, the world and the characters. The author's love for words, and for telling stories, shines from every page - there is a precision, care and subtlety to each and every sentence.
Despite being the first book in a two book series the author does not find it necessary to utilise a cliff-hanger, or to leave many loose-ends, to tempt the reader into purchasing book two. Sailing to Sarantium can easily be treated as a stand-alone novel, such is the feeling of satisfaction upon completion as the final page turns. You could just leave the story there, should you be so inclined, but I'd be surprised if anyone did not wish to discover what further awaits Crispin in fabled Sarantium.
If you want to read one of the very best examples of alternate history merged with fantasy then this is the book for you. I cannot recommend Sailing to Sarantium highly enough.
This Sailing to Sarantium book review was written by Floresiensis
All reviews for: The Sarantine Mosaic
Sailing to Sarantium
The Sarantine Mosaic #1
Rumoured to be responsible for the ascension of the previous Emperor, his uncle, amid fire and blood, Valerius the Trakesian has himself now risen to the Golden Throne of t...
Have you read Sailing to Sarantium?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Sailing to Sarantium reader reviews
9.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The year is 1939. Raybould Marsh and other members of British Intelligence have gathered to watch a damaged reel of film in a darkened room. It appears to show German troop...
A Christmas Carol
It is Christmas Eve in Victorian London, and all around the snow-covered city people are rushing home to be with their families. All except one man, that is: Ebenezer Scroo...
In the winter of his eleventh year, Little Hawk goes deep into the forest, where he must endure a three-month test of solitude and survival which will turn him into a man. ...
As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee think they understand the society they live in and their place within it. At a select academy they study new airs...
The Moon and the Sun
Vonda N McIntyre
Louis XIV, the Sun King, rules the Western World from the Chateau at Versailles. Marie- Josèphe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her brother in the scientific ...
Come one come all to greatest city in the world. In London, all men are free, the streets are lined with gold and the naughty ladies are friendly to all. In London there ar...
Who or what is Endymion Spring? A power for good, or for evil... A legendary book that holds the secret to a world of knowledge... A young boy without a voice - whose five-...
Publius Varrus is the last legionnaire in Britain, and The Skystone is in many ways his story. He is a common man with aristocratic friends, and successful both as a soldie...
Dreaming Of Zhou Gong
The Wu have been living in isolation for decades while the Shang Emperor and his enchantress have ruled the land. It has been a terrible time for the common people and the ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: