In the concluding volume of the Sarantine Mosaic, after Sailing to Sarantium, we continue where we left off: talented mosaicist Crispin, now Imperial Mosaicist to Valerius II, is working on a magnificent dome for the Emperor and Empress of Sarantium (a fantasy version of ancient Byzantium and Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora). But because this is a large, complicated city, and Crispin is now an important person, he finds himself unavoidably inveigled in plots and conspiracies, as the Emperor plans for a war in Crispin’s homeland. Then a new character enters the play, Rustem of Kerkakek, a physician from the eastern desert kingdom of Bassania; a reward for saving his emperor’s life. Now Sarantium has a host of unusual citizens, while Crispin keeps his allies together – a slave girl and mistress, the exiled queen of Antae, Gisel, and this new and enigmatic character, Rustem.
Guy Gavriel Kay continues to build on the momentum and creativity of Sailing to Sarantium, but also introduces new and interesting characters, as well as creating new plotlines that weren’t visible in the first book. He does what is key to a sequel: building on the story already established, but at the same time taking the reader down new and undiscovered avenues.
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Originally written on October 27, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.