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A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay

Review by Alleandra

The World
The world is similar to medieval times, and the language evocative of French. The action centers mainly in the countries of Gorhaut, a harsh northern country, and Arbonne, a country where singers and poets are as well regarded as warriors

The Characters
As with many GGK books, there is a large and rich cast of characters. At the center of the action is Blaise, a mercenary who has strong ties to the throne of Gorhaut, but who hides this fact, his friend Rudel, who has hidden ties of his own, Bertran de Talair, a powerful Duke in Arbonne, Ariane, the Queen of the Court of Love in Arbonne, Lissuet, a troubadour of Arbonne, Signe, the Countess of Arbonne and her daughter Beatritz who is a high priestess of Rian. There are many other characters as well.

The Story
We first meet Blaise who is in the employ of Mallin de Baude, a lesser baron of Arbonne. It is his job to train the coran, or house troops for de Baude. We learn why Blaise exiled himself from his country when Bertran comes to de Baude for a visit. Blaise ends up employed by the fascinating Bertran, who has many secrets of his own. In Bertran’s employ, he is enmeshed in plots and court intrigues quite against his will.

Meanwhile, back in Gorhaut, Ademar, the young king, has plans of his own…plans that involve the taking of woman-ruled Arbonne, plans that bode no good for Arbonne at all.

Guy Gavriel Kay mixes his intrigue and characters with a deft and confident hand. The plot is woven back and forth carrying the reader along, enthralled. Never try to guess what will happen in a GGK plot, chances are you will be wrong. He is a master at keeping you guessing, and in A Song for Arbonne, he does a very good job of it. Although I do not rank this book quite as highly as Tigana or Lions of Al-Rassan, it is excellent just the same. I highly recommend this and his other works.

4.5 amulets

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