All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay

If you have not read Children of Earth and Sky or A Brightness Long Ago, I’d recommend reading at least one of those before starting All the Seas of the World. I read A Brightness Long Ago a few years ago but forgot most of it, so I was a bit lost at the beginning of this book. This latest publication focuses on some characters and events from those previous books.

Brief Synopsis

It is three years after the events of A Brightness Long Ago, and two powerful brothers have hired Nadia and Rafel to assassinate a khalif in a bid for power. Though their mission is successful, an unexpected turn of events completely changes these two merchants’ lives in ways they never dreamed.

The rest of the narrative follows these characters and several others in this richly detailed historical fantasy. There are many religious and geo-political factors that these characters must navigate.

Review of All the Seas of the World

It takes place in something close to Renaissance Italy. But it leans more toward historical fiction than it does as fantasy. The fantasy element is more of a whisper than anything else.

This book held my attention in stops and starts. There is a ton of info-dumping at the beginning that outlines the different religious groups and why they are at odds with each other. I found the pages in between the beginning and the end were the most compelling. The ending dragged quite a bit.

There are themes of exile, religion, identity, and memories.

While the writing style is beautiful and elegant, it is quite dense and requires a lot of focus. The POVs change abruptly, almost exclusively in the middle of a chapter.

I would absolutely recommend reading a Guy Gavriel Kay book, but maybe not this one until you’ve read the ones mentioned above.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Expected Publication: 24 May 2022

Thank you to Viking for providing me with an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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