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All the Seas of the World    by Guy Gavriel Kay order for
All the Seas of the World
by Guy Gavriel Kay
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2023 (2022)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've long enjoyed Guy Gavriel Kay's superb historical fantasies. The author distills the essence of an era in history and then recreates it in a fascinating alternate version with remarkable characters and intricate plots. He delivers again in All the Seas of the World.

This time, his leads are accomplished assassins/spies, Rafel and Nadia. They have worked together for three years, since he took her aboard his Silver Wake and hid her after she escaped enslavement. They raided and traded and occasionally took on special jobs. Nadia has not returned to the home destroyed by raiders in Batiara when she was taken as a child, and doesn't know if her mother or brother survived.

After they succeed in an assassination that will change the balance of power in the world, they go to Batiara to sell two invaluable stolen items, a diamond and a book. So begins a complex tale, in which Rafel and Nadia thread their way through a maze of violent plots among the most powerful of the day - and manage to survive and even thrive. Fans of the author's work will find quite a few references to previous books.

Along the way, Nadia (who was once, and is again, Lenia) discovers that miracles can happen, finds family, and accustoms herself to freedom - and choice. Rafel worries that she will choose vengeance, but Kay ends by showing that 'there are sometimes grace, mercy, kindness, friendship, love ...' in this world.

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