Looks like this one came out, let me see, a few days ago. This is the first I’ve heard of it. Here’s what the post at tor.com says:
We all know how the story of the chosen one goes. We all know of fellowships formed around unlikely heroes who come from nothing but become something like legends when they declare against the darkness. We all know that the fate of the land, or the larger world, or perhaps the entire galaxy, hangs in the balance in this tradition of fiction. A Brightness Long Ago isn’t about any of that. Instead, it’s interested in what we don’t know—in the little things that happen to the little people, in particular.
Isn’t that interesting? About as far from, say, The Fionivar Tapestry, as you can get. Little people, doing little things. How about that.
This review goes on:
Imagine what fantastic fiction could look like if its designers deliberately directed our attention away from the centre of the stage. There, where there is less light, and the shadows are correspondingly softer, “richness and sorrow can be entangled.” There’s no pure good in this place, and no absolute evil. Indeed, in what can be interpreted as a declaration of intent, what simple wickedness there is in A Brightness Long Ago is dispatched fast—done away with within half a chapter, in fact.
This strikes me as a little unfair. Last I noticed, one can perfectly well get all the grays in the most epic of all epic fantasies; that’s hardly a quality that’s restricted to slice-of-life fantasies. Anyway, I do like the idea of doing away with the Big Bad in the first chapter and moving on with a different kind of story. I like that a lot!
Amazon’s description doesn’t make this novel sound quite as non-epic as the review. That description includes this paragraph:
Vivid figures share the unfolding story. Among them: a healer determined to defy her expected lot; a charming, frivolous son of immense wealth; a powerful religious leader more decadent than devout; and, affecting all these lives and many more, two larger-than-life mercenary commanders, lifelong adversaries, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance.
Two larger-than-life mercenary commanders, lifelong adversaries, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance … you know, I might have seen a situation like that in a previous GGK title. Well, that kind of conflict certainly seems adequate to frame whatever other kinds of stories Kay is tellling in this new novel of his.
I’m definitely looking forward to this, though I couldn’t begin to guess when I’ll get to it.