Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
|Guy Gavriel Kay isn't flying under anyone's radar. A modern master of the fantastical, his resume includes the masterwork Tigana, the thrilling historical fantasy The Lions of Al-Rassan, and he is responsible for turning The Silmarillion into a masterwork from the notes and files of J.R.R. Tolkien. (For any who have The Silmarillion and then the other texts compiled by Christopher Tolkien, it is easy to see that Kay is responsible for making this volume readable.)|
Recently, Kay has concentrated solely on historical fantasy, and so it was with great surprise that I cracked open Ysabel to find that this book was set in the present day.
Ysabel is a story of love, the idea of love, and the lengths that people will go to for the chance of it. It is a coming-of-age story set in the south of France; a location with millennia of blood soaked history -- all of which can be explained by Ysabel herself, and the men that love her.
What surprised me most about this novel was the wit and candor in the dialogue. It was literally hilarious at times, and I laughed aloud in more than one instance. There is also sexual tension between many characters, and while there is no sex to speak of in the text, there are many scenes which are erotically stimulating. And the mystery of Ysabel and the adventure she prompts are quite absorbing as well.
I believe Ysabel to be Guy Gavriel Kay's best novel since The Lions of Al-Rassan, and it just may be one of his signature works.
This book is released in February 2007, but feel free to order now. This is one you'll want in your collection.
Kay's Ysabel Journal is online here.