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Tigana: Anniversary Edition Paperback – December 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kay ( The Fionavar Tapestry ) brings to life a layered, pragmatic world of magic and difficult choices, where brutality and beauty coexist. Eight of the nine provinces of the Peninsula of the Palm, on a world with two moons, have fallen to the warrior sorcerers Brandin of Ygrath and Alberico of Barbadior. Brandin's younger son is slain in a battle with the principality of Tigana, which the grief-stricken sorcerer then destroys. Years later, a small band of survivors, led by Alessan, last prince of Tigana's royal house, wages psychological warfare, planting seeds for the overthrow of the two tyrants. At the center of these activities are Devin, a gifted young singer; Catriana, a young woman pursued by suspicions of her family's guilt; and Duke Sandre d'Astibar, a wily resistance leader thought dead. Meanwhile, at Brandin's court, Dianora, his favorite concubine and--unknown to anyone, another survivor of Tigana--struggles between her growing love for the often gentle tyrant and her desire for vengeance. Gradually the scene is set for both conquerors to destroy each other and free a land. Tolkien protege Kay's brilliant and complex portrayal of good and evil, high and low, will draw readers to this consuming epic.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In a desperate attempt to revive the memory of a land banished from existence and to restore freedom to a battered world, a wandering musician and his small band of compatriots traverse a countryside bowed under the weight of its sorcerer-conquerors. The author of "The Fionavar Tapestry" trilogy creates a brilliant single-volume epic fantasy, rich in intrigue and subtlety. Memorable characters and cultures add depth to a gracefully plotted story. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 676 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Special 10th Anniversary edition (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451457765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451457769
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (323 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 173 people found the following review helpful By Ilana Teitelbaum on June 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was hesitant to review this book, because I'm not sure I can do it justice. This is one of those stories in which the very extremes of human emotion can tear the reader apart. And no one does it like Guy Gavriel Kay.
The ideas are revolutionary in a genre whose readers normally subsist on casual magic and Sword & Sorcery. Themes of memory, identity, destiny and freedom are seamlessly interwoven in a breathtaking tapestry; identity can only be founded on the recovery of memory, and it is only with a sense of identity that one can attain the freedom to fulfill one's destiny. 'Tigana' features characters who have had their identities brutally torn from them, and the result is that they are left empty and searching for a way to fill the void in their souls. Their desperate attempts sometimes lead them in the wrong directions, toward things which are cruel or unnatural, but provide temporary solace from the emptiness. The tragedy of their existence is especially wrenching in Kay's portrayal of love, as he shows that it cannot exist as long as there is no sense of identity, and hence, no freedom. Without these things, it is only a selfish grasping for rescue from emptiness, turning the act of love into a degradation.
Kay's portrayal of the characters is one of the high points of this book's brilliance. Who is the enemy? This is a question difficult to answer in a book which has characters on the 'good' side committing terrible acts, while the designated 'enemy' is a wonderfully complex character; and the fact that Brandin inspires such loyalty in his followers--and such love in Dianora, who had sworn to kill him--is totally justifiable, and may be shared by the reader.
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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Jim Widmer on December 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A quick warning for all of you into the more visceral, fast-reading fantasy authors... this book may not be for you. Tigana is one of those rare fantasy novels that transcends the genre to become a pure work of literature. Compared to most modern fantasy authors today, Kay writes very carefully and makes an extra effort to force you to care about all his characters and the situations they find themselves in. This extraordinary novel can force you to redefine your expectations of fantasy writing.
Tigana's world is based loosely on Renaissance Italy. The Peninsula of the Palm has been split down the middle by two separate conquerors from larger countries. The conquerors were able to subjugate the peninsula easily due to the rivalries between the seven formerly independent provinces of the Palm.
The final province to be conquered, Tigana, managed to kill the son of one of the tyrants. In a fit of wrath, the tyrant descends upon Tigana and crushes it utterly. However, he also takes the extra step of erasing the country's name from the minds of every citizen on the Palm except for the survivors of Tigana. Non-citizens cannot hear or speak the name; instead, Tigana is renamed after its most bitter rival in the old provincial struggles. Years later, a small group of Tiganese rebels begin a campaign to bring their name back to the Palm and expel both tyrants...
And this just doesn't convey the subtleties and character interaction the plot has. The use of Italian linguistics and political situations gives the book an atmosphere of plausibility but doesn't ram it down our throats (as Jordan's Aes Sedai mythos or Goodkind's descriptions of the Mother Confessor's office tend to do).
The characters, though, are what drive the book.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Keith Fraser on April 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Tigana is possibly the best work of fantasy I've ever read, and one of the best books of all genres. I enjoyed Kay's Fionavar Tapestry, but this was even better.
Very few fantasy books can make you feel sorry for the villain (purest evil, maniacal cackling and callous cruelty are the order of the day generally), fewer still have heroes whose decisions at times are distinctly morally ambiguous. Tigana is one of them. Brandin of Ygrath, one of the two main villains (foreign sorceror-conquerors who have split between them the land in which the story is set, a large palm-shaped peninsula with a society similar to the Italian city-states) of the book is revealed as a human and positively kind man at times, who commits what amount to atrocities in revenge for the . He's certainly nicer than Alberico of Barbiador, who is merely avaricious and cruel (but still not just pure evil - he has motivations other than simply killing people for the fun of it). The good characters' use means justified by ends in their attempt to remove the two tyrants and rebuild their land, which has been ravaged and its very name torn out of people's minds by Brandin's revenge.
The story is well-crafted (the ending reminded me of a Shakespearian tragedy) and filled with multi-dimensional characters. It is also non-stereotypical - there are no axe-wielding dwarves or other Tolkien imitations, unnecessary magical pyrotechnics and suchlike. My only gripes were one slightly extraneous plotline which possibly could have been lost, and the epilogue, which I didn't like for some reason which I can't put my finger on. Apart from this, Tigana is a fantastic book and a must-read for all fans of good fantasy.
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