From the internationally bestselling author of Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan comes a masterful new novel set in a vivid world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offering an extraordinary cast of characters whose lives come together through destiny, love, and ambition.
In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man recalls his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra's intelligence won him entry to a renowned school even though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a count--and soon learned why that man was known as the Beast.
Danio's fate changed the moment he recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the Beast's chambers one autumn night, intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen, instead of a life of comfort, one of danger--and freedom--which is how she encounters Danio in a perilous time and place.
Unforgettable figures share the unfolding story. Among them: a healer determined to defy her expected lot; a charming, frivolous son of immense wealth; a powerful religious leader more decadent than devout; and, affecting all these lives and many more, two larger-than-life mercenary commanders, lifelong adversaries, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance.
A Brightness Long Ago offers both compelling drama and deeply moving reflections on the nature of memory, the choices we make in life, and the role played by the turning of Fortune's wheel.
GUY GAVRIEL KAY is the internationally bestselling author of thirteen previous novels, including Children of Earth and Sky, Under Heaven, and River of Stars. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in the literature of the fantastic and won the World Fantasy Award for Ysabel in 2008. In 2014, he was named to the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour. His works have been translated into thirty languages.
FINALIST for the Aurora Award for Best Novel 2020
FINALIST for the Locus Award for Fantasy Novel 2020
Praise for A Brightness Long Ago:
"A Brightness Long Ago is, like all of Kay’s work, exquisitely crafted and deeply moving. By turns beautiful and bittersweet, it tells the story of small people caught in the current of world-shattering events, and of the ripples they make that are sometimes—but not always—lost in the flow of history. His most compelling characters are those found lingering near the frame of a famous portrait, or rendered, almost as an afterthought, in glass and stone. Guy Gavriel Kay has written a masterpiece, yet again.” —Nicholas Eames, author of Kings of the Wyld
"A new Guy Gavriel Kay novel is always occasion for rejoicing—and this dazzling adventure is a diamond-bright jewel."
—Marina Endicott, author of Good to a Fault
"An epic tale filled with characters compelling enough to bear the weight of the high stakes."
“It is, as it always is in Kay’s novels, a dynamic equilibrium between the forces of history and the pain of the soul”
—The Toronto Star
“Living, as we are, in a world that seems beyond the capacity for shock, A Brightness Long Ago is a beautifully told counterpoint.”
— The Globe and Mail
“Kay’s settings may change, but the main themes in all his books are who controls historical memory (political power or artistic works) and the role of contingency in human affairs.”
“Like all of Kay’s work, the novel is worth reading as much for the plot and characters as for the fantasy world it occupies, which is as richly detailed as a Bosch painting.”
“A thoughtful read, full of heart. As with any Kay book, there is beauty of language and intelligent observations. This is a book to be savored...This is a book that I will continue to think about for days to come.”
—Robin Hobb, New York Times bestselling author of Assassin’s Fate
“A beautiful meditation on how seemingly small choices can have such great consequences, and on how people who come into our lives, even briefly, can change them.”
—Jessica Day George, New York Times bestselling author of Silver in the Blood
“A Brightness Long Ago is a masterpiece; perhaps the finest work of one of the world’s greatest living storytellers…This story is shocking, devastating, and beautiful. Kay’s language is elegant in its simplicity, yet painstakingly profound as it cuts to the core of what makes us think, and act, and remember.”
—Fantasy Book Review
“Beautifully faceted, jewel-like scenes carry us beyond the doublets and daggers to create an emotionally charged, high-stakes world of love and hate, threat and reward.”
Praise for Guy Gavriel Kay:
“[Read] anything by Guy Gavriel Kay....His strengths are strong characters and fantastic set pieces.”
—The New Yorker
“History and fantasy rarely come together as gracefully or readably as they do in the novels of Guy Gavriel Kay.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“Kay is a genius. I’ve read him all my life and am always inspired by his work.”
—#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson
“Guy Gavriel Kay has a wonderful talent. He tells stories in an invented world that is so rich in historical echoes that I found myself smiling with pleasure as I heard the echoes, while engrossed in the story. Warmly recommended.”
"Kay is peerless in plucking elements from history and using them to weave a wholly fantastical tale that feels like a translation of some freshly unearthed scroll from a time we have yet to discover."
—The Miami Herald