"Tigana" by Guy Gavriel Kay is (in my opinion) his best work, and as a single stand-alone novel, it is a good way to try him out before getting involved in, say, "The Fionavar Tapestry" trilogy. Kay writes right down the mainstream of conventional fantasy: European-style monarchy/feudal warfare and intrigue sprinkled in with the supernatural here and there.
The main difference between someone like Kay and (to pick one at random that for some reason comes to mind) Terry Brooks is that Kay's characters have a lot of interesting depth and unpredictability, and Kay's plots feel a lot more original. Like Brooks, Kay has a connection to Tolkien, but Kay's at least is legitimate since he helped construct "The Silmarillion".
In this novel, an evil sorcerer/king named Brandin rules over a conquered nation that was once known as Tigana. A powerful spell prevents even the name of the old nation from being remembered by most of its inhabitants. In his old age, Brandin has mellowed a bit, though it turns out he had pretty good reason to try to wipe Tigana off the face of the Earth in the first place (at least to him; he's not just evil for the hell of it), and that opens the door for people close to him to set in motion a revolution to try to restore their old country. I tore through this one pretty quickly, and though I wouldn't put it in my top 10, it would definitely go in my top 10% (which works out to something like top 50).Posted by Observer at January 24, 2005 05:14 PM
Comments on entries can only be made in pop-up windows while those entries are still on the main index page. Sorry for the inconvenience this causes, but this blocks about 99.99% of the spam the blog receives.