Regular price: $31.50

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    316
  • 4 Stars
    186
  • 3 Stars
    104
  • 2 Stars
    44
  • 1 Stars
    32

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    285
  • 4 Stars
    137
  • 3 Stars
    59
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    9

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    265
  • 4 Stars
    123
  • 3 Stars
    76
  • 2 Stars
    34
  • 1 Stars
    23
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Love Guy Kay and Simon Vance, not Canadian accents

Great tolkien-derrived fantasy world with a modern twist. Great characters and plot. Only gripe is the Canadian accents which you get used to. But other than that Simon Vance is my favorite voice actor to date!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A solid Effort

I liked this series more than I initially expected. The literary device at the beginning to bring the charterers from"our" world to the alternative fantasy world was a little clunky. And lets face the world building without JRR Tolkien would not have happened, The dwarves and the characters who were in effect the Elves, even to some of the details was not quite copy and paste but pretty darn close. But what fantasy, especially high adventure fantasy doesn't owe Tolkien? Some are more inclined to use it for inspiration while others need to mine Middle Earth a tad more specifically. As a story I liked the characters, they developed as the story progressed, I cared what happened to them and the magic was cool. That seems to be a good way to spend 40 hours of audio time.. I like the longer stories and I would recommend this one.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fantastic

Loved reading the books myself. Love this interpretation.

I would recommend this to any lover of fantasy. The characters are friends.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Josaphine
  • brooklyn, NY, United States
  • 06-25-15

Difficult to follow

Great story with all the richness and depth one expects from Guy Gavriel Kay's work. However, I found this one quite difficult to follow. So much so that I repeatedly lost the plot entirely if my attention was diverted in the slightest. I'm an enormous fan of Simon Vance, yet he seemed to struggle with the "North American" accent, leaving some dialogue a tad wooden. Neither were deal breakers by any means, but listeners should be prepared to experience something that requires a bit more patience than anticipated from this particular collaboration.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sarah
  • Millbrae, CA, United States
  • 05-14-15

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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).

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • NJB
  • London, UK
  • 11-09-14

Great narration, but weak story

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

not unless my friend was more impressed by language over storyline

What do you think your next listen will be?

something better I hope

Was The Summer Tree worth the listening time?

I didn't get past the first hour

Any additional comments?

I hope I'm not being unfair, but it feels like the author has used flowery words and exotic names for the sake of it. However, the events themselves are cringingly bad in most cases. It was predictable, thus boring. It was frankly unbelievable at macro and micro levels. It comes across as one of those books where the author is terribly clever, but never leaves his house and has no idea about how people or events actually work. I gave up after 30 minutes, then went back and had another go, but after another hour I just thought I was wasting my time. <br/><br/>If you think holywood makes great movies, give it a go. If you're impressed by sesquipedalians ( :) get my point ), or think giving something an elvish name makes it more 'epic' then give it a go. Otherwise, jog on.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Rachel
  • Logan, Ut, United States
  • 01-29-13

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.