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The Summer Tree: The Fionavar Tapestry, Book 1 | [Guy Gavriel Kay]

The Summer Tree: The Fionavar Tapestry, Book 1

The Summer Tree is the first novel of Guy Gavriel Kay's critically acclaimed fantasy trilogy, The Fionavar Tapestry. Five university students embark on a journey of self-discovery when they enter a realm of wizards and warriors, gods and mythical creatures - and good and evil...
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Publisher's Summary

The Summer Tree is the first novel of Guy Gavriel Kay's critically acclaimed fantasy trilogy, The Fionavar Tapestry. Five university students embark on a journey of self-discovery when they enter a realm of wizards and warriors, gods and mythical creatures - and good and evil....

It all began with a lecture that introduced five university students to a man who would change their lives, a wizard who would take them from Earth to the heart of the first of all worlds - Fionavar. And take them Loren Silvercloak did, for his need - the need of Fionavar and all the worlds - was great indeed.

And in a marvelous land of men and dwarves, of wizards and gods, five young people discovered who they were truly meant to be. For they are a long-awaited part of the pattern known as the Fionavar Tapestry, and only if they accepted their destiny would the armies of the Light stand any chance of surviving the wrath the Unraveller and his minions of darkness intend to unleash upon the world....

©2001 Guy Gavriel Kay; (P)2009 Penguin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (441 )
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  •  
    Sandra 05-24-15
    Sandra 05-24-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A classic"

    This is one of the books that I will never lose. I read the Fionavar Tapestry at least once a year and have since my 20''s. Classic high fantasy that compares with Tolkien and Martin with characters that you end up really caring for. Kay is a wordsmith of the old school, the language is lyrical and the images unforgettable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Millbrae, CA, United States 05-14-15
    Sarah Millbrae, CA, United States 05-14-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Urghh Fantasy!"

    I was inveigled into reading this fantasy book by a blog who was a fan of Diana Gabaldon, and said that this was as good. It isn't.
    I can read books with absurdities in the plot, like Outlander. Of course we can't time travel, it's fiction. However the characters are deep and rounded. The discourse is educated and in parts very funny. The humor is often created by the idiosyncrasies of the characters knocking bits off each other. Outlander has a Shakespearian quality to it's balance, and we also learn a lot of history which isn't fiction
    I can read fantasy, I just have to tell myself that it is a space opera with magic instead of dilithium crystals. It does tend to suffer from the same draw backs as sci fi, the first quarter of the book is used to set up the world we are living in. This tends to remove the space needed to round the characters. They are often paper thin.
    "The summer tree" has characters which are not exactly paper thin, but not much thicker than cardboard, and by half way through the book I found that I didn't give a damn what happened to them. This is in spite of Simon Vance, a narrator I very much admire and who does his valiant best with almost no material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian 04-03-15
    Brian 04-03-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Kay and Vance are consistently excellent"
    Where does The Summer Tree rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 10 (I've read a little over 20). In my opinion it was not quite as good as Tigana or The Lions of Al-Rassan, but as good or better than Under Heaven, those four being the only other Kay books I have read so far (all on audio).


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Diarmuid - that guy is cool as a cucumber.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    Any of the Dalrei - the accent Vance uses (Norse?) is just so awesome.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Most of the time, yes. A few parts of the book dragged a little bit for me, e.g. some of Paul's scenes and most of the scenes with Ysanne and Kim.


    Any additional comments?

    Favorite part of the book: Part III - The Children of Ivor. Will definitely move on to read The Wandering Fire and The Darkest Road (along with everything else Kay has written).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Logan, Ut, United States 01-29-13
    Rachel Logan, Ut, United States 01-29-13
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    "A favorite, with one exception"
    What did you love best about The Summer Tree?

    This is one of my absolute, all-time-favorite books/series. I adore the lyrical approach Mr. Kay used, and it can absolutely suck you in such that before you blink you're riding with the DalRei or giggling over cold water thrown over a balcony. But best of all the way your emotions ride with the gut clenching sorrow, the sparkling joy, or above all the incredible peace that comes from both and all with characters who give you a personally human glimpse at what it could mean to be legendary.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    While I wouldn't mind it at all, it is a bit long for me to do in one sitting alone. Especially given the emotional impact of my responses to the story, it is something to be savored one bite and one flavor burst at a time.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dielle 09-22-11
    Dielle 09-22-11 Member Since 2012
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    "Not as good as I remembered"

    don't know if my tastes have just changed or if this just doesn't translate well to audio. I read this 20 years ago and adored it. but this recording is stilted and pretencious. The place and people names just sound silly. Simon Vance is a great narrator but he this is not one of his better performances. The worst is the North American accents, US or Canadian. It was distracting everytime one of those characters spoke, and the women were even worse. It set my teeth on edge. I know British actors can do NA accents but apparently not Mr. Vance. I generally like his narration but NOT this one. I think I'll read the last two books in paperback and save my credits. Some books are improved by audio, but this one suffered on many levels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra L. Jacob US 11-14-10
    Sandra L. Jacob US 11-14-10 Member Since 2014

    Sleo

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    "Am anticipating great things with #2 & 3"

    Kay is better in print, so probably would've enjoyed it more if I'd read it. Liked it enough that I've ordered #2, The Wandering Fire.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Picard Florida, USA 10-02-10
    B. Picard Florida, USA 10-02-10 Member Since 2008

    HawksPoint

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    "Not sure what happened on the way to Fionavar"

    The Tapestry Trilogy was the only story by Guy Gavriel Kay that I had not read yet.
    Because I really like all his other stories I own them in hardcover as well as audio, I don't quite understand what has happened to me with this one. It started with a figure rising out of a lake ... the description of the situation and the figure itself struck me as so, well, ludicrous, that I started to giggle. Then in the middle of a dramatic scene (tragic young man suffering heroically while tied to a tree) I found myself laughing out loud.
    I don't know if it is intended, but the story is in part so ridiculously overdrawn that it strikes me almost, but not quite, like a parody of the fantasy genre ... the names are hilarious, the people behave a little strange and two dimensional, and the story hurtles forward with evil on steroids in the background (he does not burst forth, crumbles the mountain, or darkens the sun, or any such ... no, it blows the top off the world when evil makes its entrance into the story!).
    I will finish it, and I probably will purchase the other two parts also ... just because.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Ken Ridgeway , Ontario, Canada 07-11-10
    Ken Ridgeway , Ontario, Canada 07-11-10
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    "If you like Fantasy you will love this book"

    I have read this series three times and love the books. Simon Vance narrates this story beautifully giving you the feel of the characters and allows you to imagine the beauty and feel of the land and people of Fionavar. The story follows 5 young college students from Toronto who are taken to another world where their lives as well as themselves change during a battle with the dark. If you like The Lord of the Rings I think you will enjoy this very much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Huebert San Francisco, CA United States 10-14-09
    J. Huebert San Francisco, CA United States 10-14-09 Member Since 2013

    I have been a voracious reader since I was a child.

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    "Can't get into it"

    I have read many, many fantasy books over the years. I generally love books in the genre, but this one is proving to be a challenge. Just can't seem to get engaged with the story. Maybe it is the reader or the pacing. About to try again from the beginning, if it doesn't stick with me this time... on to the next book!

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brendan Geneva, NY, USA 09-25-09
    Brendan Geneva, NY, USA 09-25-09
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    3
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    "Engaging and entertaining story telling."

    Mr. Kay does a wonderful job of intertwining fantasy and mythology. He creates characters with depth and personality. Kudos also go to Mr. Vance for giving voice to these characters and conveying their personalities in a believable manner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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