Extended Audio Sample

Download Under Heaven Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Under Heaven Audiobook, by Guy Gavriel Kay Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,956 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Guy Gavriel Kay Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2010 ISBN: 9781101196335
Regular Price: $27.50 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $21.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

Inspired by the glory and power of Tang dynasty China, Guy Gavriel Kay has created a masterpiece.

It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father's last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses. You give a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You give him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor. Wisely, the gift comes with the stipulation that Tai must claim the horses in person. Otherwise he would probably be dead already…

Download and start listening now!

BK_PENG_001510

Quotes & Awards

  • “Kay has chosen a spare, slightly courtly style, but nonetheless moves his plot along at a rapid clip. At the same time, he continually thickens his novel with appealing minor characters, thus adding to the story’s overall richness as well as suggesting that much else is going on just outside our narrative field of vision.”

    Washington Post

  • “Historical fantasist Kay delivers an exquisitely detailed vision of Kitan, a land much like Tang Dynasty China…Kay writes deftly of women who are sexually suborned by their societies, neither minimizing their constraints nor denying their agency, and the complex intrigues of poets, prostitutes, ministers, and soldiers evolve into a fascinating, sometimes bloody, and entirely believable tale.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Meticulously researched yet seamlessly envisioned, the characters and culture present a timeless tale of filial piety and personal integrity.”

    Library Journal

  • “I loved, loved, loved Under Heaven. It had everything in it that made me such a fan of Guy Kay in the first place. I thought the new one was perfect.”

    NPR

  • “Guy Gavriel Kay’s fictional rendition of the Tang dynasty of ancient China in Under Heaven reads almost as a historical document. For anyone who enjoys a smart political thriller, a historical recreation, or a good ghost story, this novel offers all three in an immensely readable union.”

    BookPage

  • Under Heaven is virtually everything a reader could want in a book: a thrilling adventure, a love story, a coming-of-age tale, a military chronicle, a court-intrigue drama, a tragedy, and on and on. It is a sumptuous feast of storytelling, a beautifully written tale with a beating, breaking heart at its core that will have readers in tears by its final pages.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “A shimmering novel…A beautiful, compulsive read.”

    Locus

  • “Kay is peerless in plucking elements from history and using them to weave a wholly fantastical tale that feels like a translation of some freshly unearthed scroll from a time we have yet to discover…Lovers of historical fiction should also give Under Heaven a try.”

    Miami Herald

  • “A magnificent epic, flawlessly crafted, that draws the reader in like a whirlwind and doesn't let go.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Completely transporting.”

    Salon

  • A 2010 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Mythopoeic Award Nominee
  • A 2011 World Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Novel
  • Winner of the 2011 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phil | 2/12/2014

    " Very enjoyable read. Kay seemed to fall back to the style he used in _A Song For Arbonne_ so the pacing of this book felt very familiar. The last 100 pages felt a bit rushed, but that didn't detract from the experience in any great way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leani | 2/7/2014

    " Always nice when you learn a bit about a historical culture by reading a fictional work :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tanglebones | 1/24/2014

    " Yet another beautiful, haunting, melancholic book from Guy Gavriel Kay. With the one blip of Ysabel, everything he's written has been extraordinary. Like the Lions of al-Rassan and The Sarantine Mosaic, Under Heaven is an emotional look at the end of an age, through the eyes of characters who have come to love the time and place they inhabit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 12/27/2013

    " Courtiers, wine, horses, poets and the pleasure district. It had it's moments, but this may not be my moment in history to read about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicholas Tavizon | 12/27/2013

    " So far, this book is awesome! It gives you a taste of the political workings of the imperial Chinese. Also, it Kay provides the revered, but feared, fantasy of the supernatural, which only contributes to the delicacy of the story. Shen Tai is an awesome protagonist. Awesome book for anyone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa/Bluestem Cafeohlai | 12/6/2013

    " (Still reading, it's a challenge. Moves rather slowly in that it sets up a lot of exposition, both past and present.)' "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 9/27/2013

    " An epic set in ancient Japan. Complex and filled with cultural and political details as well as interesting characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie Pedersen witt | 9/9/2013

    " Really good book! I have never read this author before, but I already have another of his books on my coffee table. There was a little mysticism, a lot of court intrigue, some romance, plenty of action. Very good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gillian Barfoot | 8/17/2013

    " Difficult to put down, great story, seamless writing, fabulous detail without being boring or pedantic, complex characters and storyline are well-developed and hold the interest. Highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gerry O | 7/9/2013

    " A very interesting and moving look at a fictionalized (not too much though)Tang dynasty in China. Lots of great characters and events. Worth a read for sure. One of the best books I have read in a long time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fourborne | 3/17/2013

    " This was not the most easiest read with all of the characters, and the setting but I loved it. Couldn't put it down until I finished it. I loved the main character Tai. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jared | 2/11/2013

    " Epic fantasy set in a Tang Dynasty analog. Excellent read!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 GraceAnne | 1/4/2013

    " I love his storytelling, more than I can say. Rich in the fabric of his created world, though always based in some historical reality (this time, Tang China), with every thread tied up at last. It's a glorious journey. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat De | 11/6/2012

    " I loved this story probably because I love Chinese history. I felt as though I was getting an understanding of the culture of the Tang dynasty and reading a really good adventure as well. I will read more of this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin | 2/24/2012

    " Fun fantasy/historical fiction based in 9th century China. Well written with strong character development. Plot is very strong as well and moves quickly making it great vacation reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hélène | 11/25/2011

    " I would've given it 6 stars if I could! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Corien | 10/2/2011

    " Couldn't get interested, might try again.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darshan Elena | 5/23/2011

    " Kay's novels are grand historical epics that emphasize honor, devotion, and truth in plot and characters. I am seduced each time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 5/5/2011

    " Pacing was a bit slow, but I found the characters compelling. I actually missed them when I finished the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pamh | 5/3/2011

    " Great read! This book had the best combination of historical fiction and magical realism. This author is definitely on my to read list. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 SueBell | 4/30/2011

    " This author never fails to entertain me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 4/9/2011

    " Courtiers, wine, horses, poets and the pleasure district. It had it's moments, but this may not be my moment in history to read about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chip | 3/19/2011

    " One of Kay's best - a return to Tigana/Song for Arbonne/Lions form. It could have been better - there is one plot point towards the end that I found inconsistent, but all in all excellent. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 3/1/2011

    " Kay's latest book does not disappoint. His prose is beautiful, the subject thought-provoking, and the ending is satisfying. I really enjoyed his twist on T'ang China. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sc | 3/1/2011

    " Started off really interestingly then tuned into a fairly ordinary "plotting and backstabbing at court" adventure. Unfortuntely the main characters weren't inteesting enough to make me care what happened to them so I didn't finish it. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay is the internationally bestselling author of numerous novels. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in fantasy literature, as well as the World Fantasy Award in 2008. A two-time winner of the Aurora Award, and his works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with over forty Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.