On a dark night along a lonely stretch of coast, a small ship sends two people ashore. Their purpose is assassination. They have been hired by two of the most dangerous men alive to alter the balance of power in the world. If they succeed, the consequences will affect the destinies of empires, and lives both great and small. One of those arriving at that beach is a woman abducted by corsairs as a child and sold into years of servitude. Having escaped, she is trying to chart her own course-and is bent upon revenge. Another is a seafaring merchant who still remembers being exiled as a child with his family from their home, for their faith, a moment that never leaves him. In what follows, through a story both intimate and epic, unforgettable characters are immersed in the fierce and deadly struggles that define their time.
ay’s fictional worlds, while beautiful, are defined by this bleak inertia; his characters see their homes fade from the map and their own lives taken for the pettiest of causes. This perspective allows Kay to address serious topics within the framework of a fantasy adventure novel, but he never tips into the sort of grimdark cynicism that would cheapen his insights ... All the Seas of the World is a story of resilience winning out, of these two individuals finding a way to vanquish their demons in spite of all the powers arrayed against them. A master of telling small stories in a big world, Kay reveals spots of hope amid the cold cynicism of history.
Kay returns to his richly drawn fantasy world resembling fifteenth-century Europe, serving readers a suspenseful story of war, love, trauma, religion, sabotage, death, and friendship ... Depending on what the characters or settings need, Kay will jump between first and third person, past and present tense, and into the minds of different characters’ thoughts, feelings, and choices—all in the same chapter. This is an immersive reading experience; readers will taste the dust in their mouths, see the high seas from the deck of a merchant ship, feel the bustle of the city market. What results is necessary sustenance for the starving reader. A masterpiece from a master of the craft.