The Summer Tree

Matt's gaze was unwavering. "She betrayed her mage," he said. "In the laws of our Order, there is no crime so deep. None. No matter what the cause. Every year Loren and I curse her memory at midwinter and we do so truly. And every year," he added, very low, very gently, "when the snows melt in the spring, we lay the first of the wildflowers on her grave."

The story:

Five people of our world are invited to Fionavar for a celebration. The High King of Brennin has reigned for fifty years, and now Kim, Gwen, Paul, Kevin and Dave are invited, one for each decade of his reign.

But everything is not well in Fionavar. The oldest prince is in exile, noone is allowed to even speak his name. And a ancient enemy is about to wake. But the five aren't quite defenseless themselves.

Someone has waited for Kimberly Ford for years, and now she finally comes to face her destiny.

And Paul Schafer, who cannot forget, and cannot cry for the woman he loved, Rachel Kincaid, and who cannot live until he has forgiven himself. But Fionavar offers him a chance to become whole.

Thoughts about the book:

The Celtic and Arthurian influences are quite clear in this story, as is the influence of J. R. R. Tolkien. Still, I find the story fascinating and very well written.

Kay's characters has life, and style, though perhaps some of them are more than a little flawless and perfect. Still, the characters are rich and well described.

And though the story isn't exactly original, it has a beauty and a brightness that deserves credit. It is beautifully written, with some heart-aching moments.

For some reason, I have problems remembering the plots of Kay's books. I don't know why; they are not bad, far from it, I love most of them, and they are very well written. Maybe because what I end up remembering are the characters, or perhaps because he writes well; he has a way of writing that is fairly unique.

This is one of the books whose plot I do remember. Possibly because it has a fairly classic fantasy storyline. And it is one of the books I pick up at regular intervals to re-read.

Kay is one of my absolutely favourite writers. He is an excellent author and a fantastic writer. While The Summer Tree has a somewhat familiar story, with elements from, it seems to me, Narnia and Lord of the Rings, there is something about his writings that set them apart.

Like this: "The dog, too, hadd heard Paul's cry; without the strength to raise its head in reply, it found yet in the words, in the desperate, scarcely articulate vow, a pure white power of its own; and reaching back, far back into its own long history of battle and loss, the grey dog met the wolf for the last time with a spirit of utmost denial, and the earth shook beneath them as they crashed together."

There is so much power in his words, so much emotion, so much beauty.

About the author Guy Gavriel Kay
About the next book, The Wandering Fire
About the third book, The Darkest Road