All the Time in the World

My taste in reading material is wide and varied: SF/fantasy/"speculative fiction", mysteries (police procedurals, mostly), history, fanfic, straight fiction, smutty vampire books, biographies, poetry, cereal boxes, assembly instructions, the fine print, and your mind.

The Last Light of the Sun (Kay, Guy Gavriel)

The Last Light of the Sun (Kay, Guy Gavriel) - Guy Gavriel Kay Devoted fans of Kay's books will already know that his work is, to all intents and purposes, historical fiction - it's just that the worlds he writes about never existed. In The Last Light of the Sun, the Erlings (read: Norsemen) are northern sea-raiders who prey on the coasts of the adjoining countries of the Anglcyn (English) and Cyngael (Welsh) peoples, causing these usual adversaries to work together to fend off the depredations of a common enemy. While still fascinating and hard to put down, I wasn't as riveted with this one as with previous books. Part of it was that, even when Kay is writing about bloody battles, he usually has already established sympathetic characters on both sides of the conflict, and I find myself anguished about the possibility that any of my favorites will get killed! This time, there are few of the Erlings who he allows you to get attached to - most of them are either clearly evil, or are simply mercenaries who have only a financial interest in the outcome.

It's still head and shoulders above most of what is out there, but if you're interested in Kay's books I'd recommend you start with Tigana or The Lions of Al-Rassan. NB: Kay writes strong women but sometimes doesn't do them justice. They demonstrate just how capable they are, but can be found standing off to the side looking firm, supporting their men in whatever suicidal but necessary action they're about to take. A major exception to this is The Lions of Al-Rassan. I still highly recommend him, but just be forewarned. If you're looking for women who lead the troops into battle, you won't find them here.