River of Stars

4,09 valoración promedio
( 4.801 valoraciones por Goodreads )
 
9780451416094: River of Stars

Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate. That moment on a lonely road changed his life in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later—and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles toward the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north.
 
Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor—and alienates women at the court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.
 
In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Guy Gavriel Kay is the internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. His work has been translated into over 30 languages. At the outset of his career Kay assisted in the editorial construction of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. He has also written for the Washington Post, the Globe and Mail, The National Post, and The Guardian, among others, and has spoken at literary events around the world. He was won numerous literary awards, and is the recipient of the International Goliardos Prize for his contributions to the literature of the fantastic. In 2014 he was named to the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER I

Late autumn, early morning. It is cold, mist rising from the forest floor, sheathing the green bamboo trees in the grove, muffling sounds, hiding the Twelve Peaks to the east. The maple leaves on the way here are red and yellow on the ground, and falling. The temple bells from the edge of town seem distant when they ring, as if from another world.

There are tigers in the forests here, but they hunt at night, will not be hungry now, and this is a small grove. The villagers of Shengdu, though they fear them and the older ones make offerings to a tiger god at altars, still go into the woods by day when they need to, for firewood or to hunt, unless a man–eater is known to be about. At such times a primitive terror claims them all, and fields will go untilled, tea plants unharvested, until the beast is killed, which can take a great effort, and sometimes there are deaths.

The boy was alone in the bamboo grove on a morning swaddled in fog, a wan, weak hint of sun pushing between leaves: light trying to declare itself, not quite there. He was swinging a bamboo sword he’d made, and he was angry.

He’d been unhappy and aggrieved for two weeks now, having reasons entirely sufficient in his own mind, such as his life lying in ruins like a city sacked by barbarians.

At the moment, however, because he was inclined towards thinking in certain ways, he was attempting to decide whether anger made him better or worse with the bamboo sword. And would it be different with his bow?

The exercise he pursued here, one he’d invented for himself, was a test, training, discipline, not a child’s diversion (he wasn’t a child any more).

As best he could tell, no one knew he came to this grove. His brother certainly didn’t, or he’d have followed to mock—and probably break the bamboo swords.

The challenge he’d set himself involved spinning and wheeling at speed, swinging the too–long (and also too–light) bamboo weapon as hard as he could, downstrokes and thrusts—without touching any of the trees surrounding him in the mist.

He’d been doing this here for two years now, wearing out—or breaking—an uncountable number of wooden swords. They lay scattered around him. He left them on the uneven ground to increase the challenge. Terrain for any real combat would have such obstacles.

The boy was big for his age, possibly too confident, and grimly, unshakably determined to be one of the great men of his day, restoring glory with his virtue to a diminished world.

He was also the second son of a records clerk in the sub–prefecture town of Shengdu, at the western margin of the Kitan empire in its Twelfth Dynasty—which pretty much eliminated the possibility of such ambition coming to fulfillment in the world as they knew it.

To this truth was now added the blunt, significant fact that the only teacher in their sub–prefecture had closed his private school, the Yingtan Mountain Academy, and left two weeks ago. He had set off east (there was nowhere to go, west) to find what might be his fortune, or at least a way to feed himself.

He’d told a handful of his pupils that he might become a ritual master, using arcane rites of the Sacred Path to deal with ghosts and spirits. He’d said that there were doctrines for this, that it was even a suggested life for those who’d taken the examinations but not achieved jinshi status. Teacher Tuan had looked defensive, bitter, telling them this. He’d been drinking steadily those last weeks.

The boy hadn’t known what to make of any of that. He knew there were ghosts and spirits, of course, hadn’t realized his teacher knew anything about them. He wasn’t sure if Tuan Lung really did, if he’d been joking with them, or just angry.

What he did know was that there was no way to pursue his own education any more, and without lessons and a good teacher (and a great deal more) you could never qualify for the prefecture civil service tests, let alone pass them. And without passing those first tests the never–spoken ambition of going to the capital for the jinshi examinations wasn’t even worth a dreaming night.

As for these exercises in the wood, his fierce, bright dream of military prowess, of regaining honor and glory for Kitai . . . well, dreams were what happened when you slept. There was no path he could see that would now lead him to learning how to fight, lead men, live or even die for the glory of Kitai.

It was a bad time all around. There had been a tail–star in the spring sky and a summer drought had followed in the north. News came slowly to Szechen province, up the Great River or down through the mountains. A drought, added to war in the northwest, made for a hard year.

It had remained dry down here all winter. Usually Szechen was notorious for rain. In summertime the land steamed in the humidity, the leaves dripped rainwater endlessly, clothing and bedding never dried. The rain would ease in autumn and winter, but didn’t ever cease—in a normal year.

This hadn’t been such a year. The spring tea harvest had been dismal, desperate, and the fields for rice and vegetables were far too dry. This autumn’s crops had been frighteningly sparse. There hadn’t been any tax relief, either. The emperor needed money, there was a war. Teacher Tuan had had things to say about that, too, sometimes reckless things.

Teacher Tuan had always urged them to learn the record of history, but not be enslaved by it. He said that histories were written by those with motives for offering their account of events.

He’d told them that Xinan, the capital of glorious dynasties, had held two million people once, and that only a hundred thousand or so lived there now, scattered among rubble. He’d said that Tagur, to the west of them here, across the passes, had been a rival empire long ago, fierce and dangerous, with magnificent horses, and that it was now only a cluster of scrabbling provinces and fortified religious retreats.

After school was done some days, sitting with his older students, he’d drink wine they poured respectfully for him and sing. He’d sing, “Kingdoms have come, kingdoms have gone / Kitai endures forever . . .”

The boy had asked his father about these matters once or twice, but his father was a cautious, thoughtful man and kept his counsel.

People were going to starve this coming winter, with nothing from the tea harvest to trade at the government offices for salt, rice, or grain from downriver. The state was supposed to keep granaries full, dole out measures in times of hardship, sometimes forgive taxes owed, but it was never enough, or done soon enough—not when the crops failed.

So this autumn there were no strings of cash, or illicit tea leaves kept back from the government monopoly to sell in the mountain passes to pay for a son’s education, however clever and quick he was, however his father valued learning.

Reading skills and the brush strokes of calligraphy, poetry, memorizing the classics of the Cho Master and his disciples . . . however virtuous such things were, they did tend to be abandoned when starvation became a concern.

And this, in turn, meant no chance of a life for the scholar–teacher who had actually qualified for the examinations in the capital. Tuan Lung had taken the jinshi examinations twice in Hanjin, before giving up and coming home to the west (two or three months’ journey, however you travelled) to found his own academy for boys looking to become clerks, with perhaps a legitimate jinshi candidate among the really exceptional.

With an academy here it was at least possible that someone might try the provincial test and perhaps, if he passed, the same imperial examination Lung had taken—perhaps even to succeed there and “enter the current,” joining the great world of court and office—which he hadn’t done, since he was back here in Szechen, wasn’t he?

Or had been, until two weeks ago.

That abrupt departure was the source of the boy’s anger and despair, from the day he bade his teacher farewell, watching him ride away from Shengdu on a black donkey with white feet, taking the dusty road towards the world.

The boy’s name was Ren Daiyan. He’d been called Little Dai most of his life, was trying to make people stop using that name. His brother refused, laughing. Older brothers were like that, such was Daiyan’s understanding of things.

It had begun raining this week, much too late, though if it continued there might be some faint promise for spring, for those who survived the winter that was coming.

Girl–children were being drowned at birth in the countryside, they’d learned in whispers. It was called bathing the infant. It was illegal (hadn’t always been, Teacher Tuan had told them), but it happened, was one of the surest signs of what was in store.

Daiyan’s father had told him that you knew it was truly bad when boys were also put into the river at birth. And at the very worst, he’d said, in times when there was no other food at all . . . he’d gestured with his hands, not finishing the thought.

Daiyan believed he knew what his father meant, but didn’t ask. He didn’t like thinking about it.

In fog and ground–mist, the early–morning air cool and damp, the breeze from the east, the boy slashed, spun, thrust in a bamboo wood. He imagined his brother receiving his blows, then barbarian Kislik with their shaved scalps and long, unbound fringe hair, in the war to the north.

His judgment as to the matter of what anger did to his blade skills, made before, confirmed this morning, was that it made him faster but less precise.

There were gains and losses in most things. Speed against control represented a difference to be adjusted for. It would be different with his bow, he decided. Precision was imperative there, though speed would also matter for an archer facing many foes. He was exceptionally good with a bow, though the sword had been by far the more honored weapon in Kitai in the days (gone now) when fighting skills were respected. Barbarians like the Kislik or Xiaolu killed from horseback with arrows, then raced away like the cowards they were.

His brother didn’t know he had a bow or he’d have claimed it for himself as Eldest Son. He would then, almost certainly, have broken it, or let it be ruined by dampness, since bows needed caring for, and Ren Tzu wasn’t the caring–for sort.

It had been his teacher who had given the bow to Daiyan.

Tuan Lung had presented it to him one summer afternoon a little more than a year ago, alone, after classes were done for the day, unwrapping it from an undyed hemp cloth.

He’d also handed Daiyan a book that explained how to string it properly, care for it, make arrow shafts and heads. It marked a change in the world, in their Twelfth Dynasty, having books here. Teacher Tuan had said that many times: with block printing, even a sub–prefecture as remote as theirs could have information, printed poems, the works of the Master, if one could read.

It was what made a school such as his own possible.

It had been a private gift: the bow, a dozen iron arrowheads, the book. Daiyan knew enough to hide the bow, and then the arrows he began to make after reading the book. In the world of the Twelfth Dynasty, no honorable family would let a son become a soldier. He knew it; he knew it every moment he drew breath.

The very thought would bring shame. The Kitan army was made up of peasant farmers who had no choice. Three men in a farming household? One went to the army. There might be a million soldiers, even more (since the empire was at war again), but ever since savage lessons learned more than three hundred years ago it was understood (clearly understood) that the court controlled the army, and a family’s rise to any kind of status emerged only through the jinshi examinations and the civil service. To join the army, to even think (or dream) of being a fighting man, if you had any sort of family pride, was to disgrace your ancestors.

That was, and had been for some time, the way of things in Kitai.

A military rebellion that had led to forty million dead, the destruction of their most glittering dynasty, the loss of large and lucrative parts of the empire . . . That could cause a shift in viewpoint.

Xinan, once the dazzling glory of the world, was a sad and diminished ruin. Teacher Tuan had told them about broken walls, broken–up streets, blocked and evil–smelling canals, fire–gutted houses, mansions never rebuilt, overgrown gardens and market squares, parks with weeds and wolves.

The imperial tombs near the city had been looted long ago.

Tuan Lung had been there. One visit was enough, he’d told them. There were angry ghosts in Xinan, the charred evidence of old burning, rubble and rubbish, animals in the streets. People living huddled in a city that had held the shining court of all the world.

So much of their own dynasty’s nature, Teacher Tuan told them, flowed like a river from that rebellion long ago. Some moments could define not only their own age but what followed. The Silk Roads through the deserts were lost, cut off by barbarians.

No western treasures flowed to Kitai now, to the trading cities or the court in Hanjin. No legendary green–eyed, yellow–haired dancing girls bringing seductive music. No jade and ivory or exotic fruits, no wealth of silver coins brought by merchants to buy longed–for Kitan silk and carry it back west on camels through the sands.

This Twelfth Dynasty of Kitai under their radiant and glorious emperor did not rule and define the known world. Not any more.

Tuan Lung had taught this to that same handful of them (never in class). In Hanjin, at the court, they still claimed to do so, he said, and examination questions expected answers that said as much. How does a wise minister use barbarians to control barbarians?

Even when they carried wars to the Kislik, they never seemed to win them. Recruited farmers made for a large army but not a trained one, and there were never enough horses.

And if the twice–yearly tribute paid to the much more dangerous Xiaolu in the north was declared to be a gift, that didn’t change what it really was, their teacher said, over his end–of–day wine. It was silver and silk spent to buy peace by an empire still rich, but also shrunken—in spirit as well as size.

Dangerous words. His students poured wine for him. “We have lost our rivers and mountains,” he sang.

Ren Daiyan, fifteen years old, dreamed of glory at night, swung a bamboo sword in a wood at dawn, imagined himself the commander sent to win their lost lands back. The sort of thing that could only happen in a young man’s imagining.

No one, Teacher Tuan said, played polo, perfecting their horsemanship, in the palace or parks of Hanjin the way they had once in Xinan’s walled palace park or city meadows. Red– or vermillion–belted civil servants didn’t pride themselves on their riding skills, or train with swords or bows, vying to best each other. They grew the nails on the little fingers of their left hands to show the world how much they disdained such things, and they kept the army commanders firmly under their thumbs. They chose military leaders from their own cultured ranks.

It was when he’d first heard these things, the boy Daiyan remembered, that he’d begun coming to this grove when tasks and rain allowed, and cutting himself swords. He’d sworn a boy’s oath that if he passed the examinations and arrived at court he’d never grow his little fingernail.

He read poetry, memorized the classics, discussed these with his father, who was gentle and wise and careful and had never been able even to dream of taking the examinations.

The boy understood th...

"Sobre este título" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

Los mejores resultados en AbeBooks

1.

Guy Gavriel Kay
ISBN 10: 0451416090 ISBN 13: 9780451416094
Nuevos Cantidad: > 20
Librería
BWB
(Valley Stream, NY, Estados Unidos de America)
Valoración
[?]

Descripción Estado de conservación: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Nº de ref. de la librería 97804514160940000000

Más información sobre esta librería | Hacer una pregunta a la librería

Comprar nuevo
EUR 10,97
Convertir moneda

Añadir al carrito

Gastos de envío: GRATIS
A Estados Unidos de America
Destinos, gastos y plazos de envío

2.

Kay, Guy Gavriel
ISBN 10: 0451416090 ISBN 13: 9780451416094
Nuevos Cantidad: > 20
Librería
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, Estados Unidos de America)
Valoración
[?]

Descripción 2014. PAP. Estado de conservación: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería VP-9780451416094

Más información sobre esta librería | Hacer una pregunta a la librería

Comprar nuevo
EUR 7,54
Convertir moneda

Añadir al carrito

Gastos de envío: EUR 3,42
A Estados Unidos de America
Destinos, gastos y plazos de envío

3.

Kay, Guy Gavriel
ISBN 10: 0451416090 ISBN 13: 9780451416094
Nuevos Cantidad: 1
Librería
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, Estados Unidos de America)
Valoración
[?]

Descripción 2014. PAP. Estado de conservación: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería IB-9780451416094

Más información sobre esta librería | Hacer una pregunta a la librería

Comprar nuevo
EUR 8,13
Convertir moneda

Añadir al carrito

Gastos de envío: EUR 3,42
A Estados Unidos de America
Destinos, gastos y plazos de envío

4.

Guy Gavriel Kay
Editorial: Penguin Random House
ISBN 10: 0451416090 ISBN 13: 9780451416094
Nuevos Cantidad: > 20
Librería
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, Estados Unidos de America)
Valoración
[?]

Descripción Penguin Random House. Estado de conservación: New. Brand New. Nº de ref. de la librería 0451416090

Más información sobre esta librería | Hacer una pregunta a la librería

Comprar nuevo
EUR 8,77
Convertir moneda

Añadir al carrito

Gastos de envío: EUR 3,00
A Estados Unidos de America
Destinos, gastos y plazos de envío

5.

Kay, Guy Gavriel
ISBN 10: 0451416090 ISBN 13: 9780451416094
Nuevos Softcover Cantidad: 3
Librería
VNHM SHOP
(Pompano Beach, FL, Estados Unidos de America)
Valoración
[?]

Descripción Softcover. Estado de conservación: New. Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate. That moment on a lonely road changed his life in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later?and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles toward the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north. Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor?and alienates women at the court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has. In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars. Nº de ref. de la librería 116463754

Más información sobre esta librería | Hacer una pregunta a la librería

Comprar nuevo
EUR 12,73
Convertir moneda

Añadir al carrito

Gastos de envío: GRATIS
A Estados Unidos de America
Destinos, gastos y plazos de envío

6.

Kay, Guy Gavriel
Editorial: New American Library (2014)
ISBN 10: 0451416090 ISBN 13: 9780451416094
Nuevos Paperback Cantidad: 1
Librería
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, Estados Unidos de America)
Valoración
[?]

Descripción New American Library, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería 0451416090

Más información sobre esta librería | Hacer una pregunta a la librería

Comprar nuevo
EUR 10,59
Convertir moneda

Añadir al carrito

Gastos de envío: EUR 2,56
A Estados Unidos de America
Destinos, gastos y plazos de envío

7.

Guy Gavriel Kay
Editorial: New American Library, United States (2014)
ISBN 10: 0451416090 ISBN 13: 9780451416094
Nuevos Paperback Cantidad: 10
Librería
The Book Depository
(London, Reino Unido)
Valoración
[?]

Descripción New American Library, United States, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate. That moment on a lonely road changed his life in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later--and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles toward the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north. Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor--and alienates women at the court. But when her father s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has. In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780451416094

Más información sobre esta librería | Hacer una pregunta a la librería

Comprar nuevo
EUR 13,56
Convertir moneda

Añadir al carrito

Gastos de envío: GRATIS
De Reino Unido a Estados Unidos de America
Destinos, gastos y plazos de envío

8.

Guy Gavriel Kay
Editorial: New American Library, United States (2014)
ISBN 10: 0451416090 ISBN 13: 9780451416094
Nuevos Paperback Cantidad: 10
Librería
The Book Depository US
(London, Reino Unido)
Valoración
[?]

Descripción New American Library, United States, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate. That moment on a lonely road changed his life in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later--and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles toward the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north. Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor--and alienates women at the court. But when her father s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has. In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780451416094

Más información sobre esta librería | Hacer una pregunta a la librería

Comprar nuevo
EUR 13,59
Convertir moneda

Añadir al carrito

Gastos de envío: GRATIS
De Reino Unido a Estados Unidos de America
Destinos, gastos y plazos de envío

9.

Kay, Guy Gavriel
Editorial: New American Library
ISBN 10: 0451416090 ISBN 13: 9780451416094
Nuevos PAPERBACK Cantidad: > 20
Librería
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, Estados Unidos de America)
Valoración
[?]

Descripción New American Library. PAPERBACK. Estado de conservación: New. 0451416090 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Nº de ref. de la librería SWATI2132167904

Más información sobre esta librería | Hacer una pregunta a la librería

Comprar nuevo
EUR 10,37
Convertir moneda

Añadir al carrito

Gastos de envío: EUR 3,42
A Estados Unidos de America
Destinos, gastos y plazos de envío

10.

Guy Gavriel Kay
Editorial: New American Library
ISBN 10: 0451416090 ISBN 13: 9780451416094
Nuevos Paperback Cantidad: 2
Librería
BuySomeBooks
(Las Vegas, NV, Estados Unidos de America)
Valoración
[?]

Descripción New American Library. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Paperback. 656 pages. Dimensions: 9.0in. x 6.1in. x 1.6in.Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate. That moment on a lonely road changed his life in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years laterand his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles toward the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north. Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperorand alienates women at the court. But when her fathers life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has. In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780451416094

Más información sobre esta librería | Hacer una pregunta a la librería

Comprar nuevo
EUR 10,56
Convertir moneda

Añadir al carrito

Gastos de envío: EUR 3,38
A Estados Unidos de America
Destinos, gastos y plazos de envío

Existen otras copia(s) de este libro

Ver todos los resultados de su búsqueda