So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


The Death of King Tsongor. Laurent Gaude

In his youth King Tsongor inherited a small kingdom from his father. Through war and courage he built a vast empire. But now Tsongor is an old man. He is about to marry his only daughter to the prince of a neighboring land. The prince, at the head of a vast army, has arrived at the city gates loaded down with presents. At this moment of supreme happiness for Tsongor and his kingdom, another suitor shows up leading a second army. He is the childhood love of the princess who has been away building his fortune and power. He has rushed back to claim her based on her long-ago promise to be his bride.

Two men, each with an army outside his gates, have been promised his daughter. Tsongor is tired of war. He stays up the whole night to decide what to do.

What does his daughter Samilia do now that she has two men to decide between? What of these men who cannot lose face before their armies? And lastly, whose side does Samilia's father and brothers take?

This is the story of Tsongor's decision and the events that follow from it. It is an epic tale filled with tragedy, told in a sparse yet hypnotic style fairy tale style.

The translation from the French is excellent. This is Gaude's first work to be translated into English. I hope we will see more.

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