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Tigana | [Guy Gavriel Kay]

Tigana

Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel, despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered.

But after years of devastation, a handful of courageous men and women embark upon a dangerous crusade to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the dark world the brilliance of a long-lost name: Tigana.

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Publisher's Summary

Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel, despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered.

But after years of devastation, a handful of courageous men and women embark upon a dangerous crusade to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the dark world the brilliance of a long-lost name: Tigana.

©2009 Guy Gavriel Kay; (P)2009 Penguin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1027 )
5 star
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3.9 (683 )
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4.3 (673 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Stephen Costa Mesa, CA, USA 11-25-09
    Stephen Costa Mesa, CA, USA 11-25-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An engrossing story"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The author has created a world, characters, and plot that are unlike conventional fantasy fiction. True, it took a little effort to get into the story at first, but before long the story, the characters, and their back stories captivated me. It also took a short time to get used to the reader. The story is well written and left me feeling like I really visited some place wonderful and fantastic. Unlike another reviewer, I felt an attachment to a number of characters. Lastly, the author provides a rich and satisfying conclusion.

    If you are looking for conventional swords and sorcery action, this might not be the book for you. If you are looking for a compelling and coherent story from start to finish, a believable fantasy world, some unexpected plot twists, and a satisfying escape, then give Tigana a try. I am off to find my second Guy Gavriel Kay story.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Williamsport, PA, USA 06-17-09
    Rachel Williamsport, PA, USA 06-17-09 Member Since 2014
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    "Good narration, great story"

    I really enjoyed listening to this book and got a good feel for the characters. It was unusual to be hoping for some of the "evil" characters to come out of it okay. There were some that you wanted to be beaten and I kept wanting the author to find a way to have a happier outcome for some of the others.
    Overall, I would listen to this book repeatedly and believe I would find things I missed with each listening.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hope Robbins Hare 04-22-12
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    "Tigana"
    Any additional comments?

    I forget how I came upon this excellent author, but once I had downloaded it???read by the lyrical Simon Vance, who could, as they say, read a phone book and move you to tears ???I could not put it down. Extremely engaging, extremely witty and also???extremely troubling. Violence, grotesque and nightmarish violence, is always at your elbow in this book???and in subsequent books of the author that I have encountered. There is also a certain amount of explicit sex. Not for the fainthearted, nor for the squeamish???which would usually include me, but somehow, didn???t, this time.

    The story takes place in a fictional world, which however has a solid believable presence, and a tenuous relationship with medieval Italy. But so what, you say???many fantasy books are based on medieval history, many books blend fantasy with believable real world details. What this book has is all that???but also, elegant language and exceptional plotting. This is a skillful work of art, filled with gorgeous images and a certain zest for life, for singing, for drinking with friends. And even, something of a happy ending, a thing of which I am inordinately fond.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JPaladin 07-29-14
    JPaladin 07-29-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Good, but lost me a bit by the end."

    I've always been impressed by Kay's writing. This was a very interesting idea with some real potential. Yet, towards the end I wasn't able to stay under its spell- and I lost my ability to suspend my disbelief regarding the evolution of some of the characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori Cheney 08-24-10
    Lori Cheney 08-24-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Beautiful!"

    This is a beautifully written story of loss, love and recovery, not necessarily, victory. Kay's writing is almost like prose and is so enjoyable to just listen to Simon Vance read it! I love how the story teaches us a lesson about lost identity, and how Kay brings that lesson to light in this fantastic,well-written story. Some parts of it seem kind of boring (still beautiful), but it's all good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Clearlake, CA, USA 06-16-10
    Heather Clearlake, CA, USA 06-16-10
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    "Loved it!"

    I really enjoyed this book and the storyline. I felt myself breathless at times when listening and truly enjoyed the well developed characters and mythos. Not the "typical" fantasy fiction and I thought it was well worth my time and ears.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 03-09-14
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 03-09-14 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

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    "Intelligent but somewhat melodramatic fantasy"

    This 1990 novel by GGK, which still seems to have a big following, is melancholy, emotional, shades-of-gray fantasy. The story takes place on a peninsula vaguely reminiscent of medieval Italy, which was invaded by forces from two different large empires about 20 years before. Both of these armies, each led by a powerful sorcerer, took the peninsula by conquering one fractious province at a time.

    However, one province, named Tigana, put up a ferocious resistance and managed to kill the son of one of the sorcerers. To punish its inhabitants, the grief-stricken Brandin laid waste to the region, and cast a spell to make its very name impossible to remember. Except to anyone who happened to be born there before the invasion. Those people must endure the pain of watching their homeland's identity fade from the world's memory. As Kay mentions in the afterward, events in the real world inspired him in this theme.

    The plot, of course, revolves around a conspiracy to remove the two tyrants, but the reader sees both sides of the struggle. The sorcerer Brandin, though guilty of terrible crimes, is a sympathetic character that we come to know through the point of view of his concubine, who entered his court years before to assassinate him, but now loves him. This complexity comes to play a pivotal role in the story’s outcome. On the rebel side, the various characters struggle with their own inner torments, and must do things that go against their hearts, such as engineering outbreaks of violence or enslaving a wandering wizard against his will.

    The strength and weakness of Kay as a writer lies in his desire to make every moment beautiful and meaningful. At times, this works, but at other times, the story feels overly melodramatic, laboring over its “we’re all human and feel pain” themes long after the point comes across. Yes, we need to shed tears, love, laugh, and talk about our feelings -- I get it, Mr. Kay. His prose can get a bit purple as well; look for lots of “he felt a quivering in his heart” and “the coldness in her eyes was like the deep blue of a mountain stream”.

    Not that I didn’t enjoy the novel. The fine world-building and the interesting characters of the first quarter drew me in. It felt like Kay was striving for a balance between fantasy traditions and a more mature take on them. The ending came together beautifully, as well.

    However, I didn’t find this book as sophisticated as many of its fans seem to. The middle section was unnecessarily drawn-out, filled with tangential subplots, and heavier on uninspired fantasy cliches than the rest. Oddly, Kay doesn’t really address the issue that the rebel leader is yet another monarch himself, a guy who talks about freedom, but presumably intends to preserve his hereditary throne once he gets it back.

    All in all, I’d still happily recommend Tigana to anyone interested in fantasy that aspires to parallels with the real world, but I must call attention to its flaws. Simon Vance, the audiobook reader, gives his usual classy performance.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Ames Colorado 02-05-13
    D. Ames Colorado 02-05-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Flat"
    Would you try another book from Guy Gavriel Kay and/or Simon Vance?

    This book never went anywhere. Characters, Devon for instance, never advanced. Yes, there was some backfill of their history but not much. At the end I was kicking myself for wasting so much time listening. Not even the brilliant Simon Vance could save this one.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory MD 01-21-13
    Gregory MD 01-21-13 Member Since 2013

    Keep your mind active.

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    "Wonderful performance"
    What made the experience of listening to Tigana the most enjoyable?

    Well written and performed. I have found few single Fantasy books that have the feel of a complex Trilogy. This book does and leaves you looking for more but with the acceptance that the story is over. Characters possess human qualities not present in many fantasies, far less of the normal black and white of good and evil, with more shades of gray. Characters struggle with their own choices and the impact their decisions have on others. I enjoyed it immensely.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia M. Clay PEN ARGYL, PA, United States 12-19-12
    Patricia M. Clay PEN ARGYL, PA, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2012

    Geek Mom

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    "Decent story, great performance"

    The description of the world, the politics, and the environment is quite detailed in this book. I just feel like the characters are so cardboard, I did not click with one single character in this book. I am interested in individuals and relationships, not so much in politics and national culture. If you are interested in an sociological view of a magical world, this is the book for you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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