Menu

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

10/10 An immense achievement, a complex and loving piece of writing

Does it seem ironic to anyone else that I’m rereading a book from 20 years ago for this review, and the book itself is about memories? To those of you unfamiliar with Tigana, the storyline is about loss and memory. To those of you familiar with Tigana, you may find yourself in the same frame of mind as I was.

I was 19 and fresh out of Fionavar when I snatched this book off the shelf. I was totally swept away by the grand scope of the adventure that the young singer Devin d’Asoli found himself in. How could any young person not become the character themselves to live the life of adventure? Imagine one morning you are singing the funeral eulogy of your life and have just made your career. Then by dinner, you find out that everyone around you is not who they seem, and you yourself have been identified as a potential hero. I know this farm boy had found himself a place to hide for a while.

So now here I am 20 years later finding myself back with a gang of old friends. Alessan di Tregea, Catriana d’Astibar, and their counterparts, the tyrant sorcerers Brandin of Ygrath and Alberico of Barbadior.

The story is unfolded through the eyes of Devin who is invited into the group of conspirators to right a wrong done to the nation of Tigana and its people. Devin’s relative innocence of the situation has to do with this history. When Brandin of Ygrath attacked Tigana to expand his empire and give his son Stevan a place of his own to rule, the unthinkable happened. The peaceful and artistic nation Tigana resisted, and Stevan was killed in a decisive battle. In grief-stricken rage Brandin destroyed the wonders of Tigana and cast a spell which made the name Tigana unable to be heard by anyone but a native of Tigana. In effect destroying the soul of the country and the will of its people by making it impossible to remember or even know about Tigana except amongst themselves. The cunning and patience of Alessan’s plans of revolution to regain his nation make this book hard to put down once things start coming together.

But what truly made me see the brilliance of this book, was reading it again after all this time. I remembered the adventure and tension of their journey through the countryside like it was yesterday. Except this time I noticed all the subtleties of emotion that my young personality missed. What I realized is that life experience and maturity improved this book and made it even more powerful the second time around. Especially with Dianora, where we see the often ignored “other side of the story.” I highly recommend this book to readers of all age groups as it is so well written that just the story without the emotional attachment made it one of my favourites all those years ago.

The review copy came courtesy of Penguin Canada who very kindly supplied us with the extra special Penguin Celebrations edition. Penguin Group (Canada) published this edition of Tigana in a traditional Penguin design in celebration of being named 2008 Publisher of the Year. For more information, visit Penguin Canada.

Tigana is not being printed in the UK. However, visitors world-wide can order from the chapters.indigo.ca website where they can order both the Penguin Celebrations and original versions of Tigana.

Review by

9 positive reader review(s) for Tigana

12+

Tigana reader reviews

from Canada

One of my all time favourite books. The story is spellbinding and will rob you of sleep as you turn the pages. If you like Tigana , then you should definitely read a song for arbonne.

from UK

Sheer brilliance.

from London

I recently read (and reviewed) this book and thought it was stunning, Good fantasy is an all-consuming thing. Every character was strong and my only compliant was that sometimes the characterisation was a little lost as the plot took hold. But all in all a great read. Check out my review at: http://iwillwritewithit.blogspot.co.uk/ KatieB

from Estonia

Perfect book.

from England

The first 2 chapters seem incredibly boring and long-winded. However, I was persuaded by friends to keep reading the book. It all paid off, as Tigana is an enchanting tale that is hard to put down, even if it is quite hard to read (compared to many other books).

from Reading

I thoroughly enjoy the way Guy Gavriel Kay writes to the point that I now have all his books. Tigana is a brilliant book which I felt was engaging, well paced, had multi-faceted characters and showed the conflicts the characters had with themselves and others in a creative manner. A must read.

from Liverpool

Quite simply the best fantasy book I've ever encountered...an epic story in one volume which is an achievement in itself. Only regret is that I can only give it ten stars....

from New York

Best fantasy book after LOTR.

from Malaysia

I recently picked up this book at a second-hand book fair and was I glad that I did! I read the Fionavar Tapestry many many years ago and enjoyed it (and I agree with the 8-star ratings). I'd heard of Tigana by then but for some reason never felt the urge to pick it up. It was probably a good thing, because I completely agree with Mr Roesch in his review above. Twenty years ago I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did, but now I consider it to be one of the best books I've read. It's definitely one that will stick in my heart for a long long time, and thoroughly deserves a 10!

9.7/10 from 10 reviews

Write a reader review

Your rating out of 10

More reviews of Guy Gavriel Kay books

Books you may also enjoy


Bitter Seeds

Ian Tregillis
9.8/10

Ghost Hawk

Susan Cooper
9.5/10

The Moon and the Sun

Vonda N McIntyre
9.3/10

Dodger

Terry Pratchett
9.3/10

Endymion Spring

Matthew Skelton
9.1/10

The Deverry Cycle

Katharine Kerr
9.1/10

The Skystone

Jack Whyte
9.1/10

Kushiel's Chosen

Jacqueline Carey
9.0/10

Following reviews


Cabal

Clive Barker
7.5/10

Fool Moon

Jim Butcher
8.0/10

Fallen

Tim Lebbon
7.5/10

Dark Wraith of Shannara

Terry Brooks
7.0/10

Lion of Macedon

David Gemmell
8.8/10

The Eye of the World

Robert Jordan
8.7/10

Marvel 1602

Neil Gaiman
7.0/10

The Riddle

Alison Croggon
7.7/10