Book - 1999
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The people of a land cursed by the sorceries of their tyrant king seek to overthrow their conquerors and heal their broken land.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : ROC, [1999], c1990.
Edition: Special 10th anniversary ed.
ISBN: 9780451457769
Branch Call Number: SCIFI Kay Guy 06/1999
Characteristics: 676 p. ;,21 cm.


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IndyPL_SteveB Dec 20, 2018

One of the finest one-volume fantasy novels ever written and still impressive almost 30 years later. The characters and the plot are complex and deeply involving.

Tigana is a conquered country, invaded and conquered 20 years before by two warrior-sorcerers. Brandin, the King of Ygrath, saw his son killed in battle by the Prince of Tigana. In his grief, Brandin cursed Tigana with a magic spell unique in fantasy writing. The memory of Tigana’s existence was wiped from the minds of everyone except those born in Tigana before the final battle. If someone from Tigana said the name, no one else could hear it. A few holdouts work for 20 years to find a way to kill Brandin and break the curse.

What really makes the novel most powerful is that Brandin is not your standard fantasy villain and is a somewhat sympathetic character. Brandin would like to be a good King after his conquest; but he is undone by his grief over his son’s death. Even a Tiganan female survivor, who has worked her way into being his lover in order to kill him, falls in love with him. As a villain, he is one of the most interestingly divided characters in fantasy literature.

Jan 26, 2016

Guy Gavriel Kay has been my favorite writer, period, for 10 years. Considering that isn't much less than half of my entire life, I hope it stands alone as a sort of recommendation. Tigana is one of his finest. Read if you want your heart broken by beauty. He is a master of the storytelling craft, of language, and of understanding the human condition. Yes, the book contains graphic sex and violence. So does every second on TV and of passing billboards. The difference is that when Kay includes those elements, he does so in a way that serves the bigger purpose, and never without reason. He errs on the side of sensitivity and grace, never garishness or uncaring. You won't regret picking up Tigana or one of his other books.

Oct 11, 2015

There's too much been written about this novel and its author for me to add much, so I'll just say that Guy Gavriel Kay is among fantasy's elite writers, and this is near his peak. All of his work is worth reading.

Apr 18, 2014

A great storyline. Much imporved over the Guy Kay's Summertree series.

Jul 11, 2012

I haven’t read a fantasy novel in years and years, but Tigana is the perfect fantasy novel for a reader like me. If you like reading, and you like fantastic adventuring, political intrigue, and character development without having to memorize family trees, made-up maps and ten volumes worth of plot development, this book is for you too.

Since I hadn’t read the back of the book, my first surprise was that Tigana was not the chick on the cover, but a small province in an invaded country. My second surprise was that you don’t need to care a whit about Tigana itself to enjoy this book. This is the story of a group of men and women who have a mission to restore the small corner of their homeland – that their mission means nothing to anyone else, even the reader, surprisingly does not take away from the story at all. A minor character even asks at one point, “Why should I care about Tigana?”

The answer is that unless you are a citizen of Tigana, there is little reason to care, but it doesn’t matter. When you take up residence in the story, you come to care about the greater world of the characters and all whom they meet; their relationships, their motivations, their travels and intrigues. When the storytelling is this accomplished, the subject barely matters. The author is fully aware that the world of Tigana is just in a book: he focuses entirely on the pure art of storytelling and doesn’t take his role as God of a fantasy world too seriously. There is even a sex castle.

Jun 10, 2012

Good story, but somewhat overwritten. I enjoyed reading this for my Sword and Laser book cub, but thought there was too much plot and not enough action. But, all in all, I'd recommend it to anyone with a good amount of patience.

Apr 17, 2011

Revenge is the motive in this complex novel of good and evil. It is the reason the land of Tigana was brutally conquered and the driving force for those who survived being conquered. An involved story where many different characters work together through different story lines in the attempt to avenge and redeem what they have lost. This is an exceptional story and a hallmark in the genre.

Oct 12, 2010

Guy Gavriel Kay has crafted a wonderful tale of identity, memory, love and destiny that is far more than just a fantasy story. Readers used to action-based fantasy may not enjoy Kay’s slow, measured telling but for fans of thoughtful literature this is a must-read.

Lorna Aug 17, 2009

Background on Tigana is available at:

Jan 02, 2009

Another wonderful and timeless tale by Kay. His understanding of the human heart and his ability to express this through beautiful prose has made me a huge fan since I was just a tween.


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Jan 26, 2016

teezeng thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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