GGK is one of my most favourite authors. I love his writing! It's so beautiful and lyrical and all the while telling a great story with terrific characters. Under Heaven is no exception.
Inspired by Chinese history, the Tang Dynasty, this is the story of a young man, Shen Tai, who, as the result of a two year sacrifice to honour his late father, is gifted with a most AMAZING gift of 250 Sardian horses. These horses are like gold! A gift beyond measure. A quote from the book - "You give a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You give him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor." Also a gift that will have a tremendous impact on Tai's life. And the lives of many others.
Under Heaven is the story of the effects of this gift.
I loved the characters. Kay has a way of bringing the people he writes about to wonderful and often painful life. They're so real, even when they are bigger than life, if that makes any sense. We follow mostly Shen Tai and his sister Li-Mei and while they are young, they do possess some wisdom and knowledge - also, they have faults. I found both of them very likable and enjoyed reading about them. I also grew very fond of Tai's friend, the world-renowned poet whose name I cannot for the life of me remember. *LOL*
I wanted to know more about so many things. I wanted to know more about the events that follow the book's ending. I wanted to know more about the people on the steppe. I think I just wanted more period. But that's okay, the story of Under Heaven was complete in itself and ended very satisfactorily.
Guy Kay, as always writes with a light, deft touch and honest to God, his paragraphs are often like songs. The man knows words! And his plotting! It never fails, all the disparate threads that begin the book always end up intertwining at the end with just the right amount of twisting and turning to delight the reader. And there's always a little bit of an open-ended bit of 'what if' in conclusion, in Kay's books.
I loved it. :)