Lord of Emperors, Guy Gavriel Kay
(HarperPrism 0-06-105121-7, $24, 531pp, hc, March 2000, cover by Keith Birdsong; UK edition Simon & Schuster/Earthlight March 2000)
Lord of Emperors is Book Two of the ''Sarantine Mosaic'' duology, which began with last year's Sailing to Sarantium. The books are set in a version of historic Byzantium on a world with two moons, in, Faren Miller writes in the March 2000 Locus,
''a Yeatsian city filled with intrigues and subtle magics, ambitious men, extraordinary women – a host of characters living at high pitch in a fascinating place. There's a world outside as well, with religions and rules of its own, but everything seems to lead to Sarantium and find a way into its vast mosaic.''
The story follows Crispin, the mosaic-maker from Book One, and Rustem, a physician from the desert lands who comes to Sarantium as a spy.
''By mid-book, Kay has transformed his own array of literary elements into something quite remarkable, as a single afternoon of killings, jealousy, dark magic, impending war(s), and a packed crowd at the Hippodrome for the races, shares in the same intensity and importance. ... But there's also time for reflection. Lord of Emperors explores the forces of history along with the workings of individual passions, the inner truths of religions and the uncanny, and perhaps most of all the human need for heirs, heritage, ways of making one's way into history. ... Closer to Tolstoy than to Tolkien, in ''Sarantium Mosaic'' Kay plumbs his reworking of history and finds the deeper truths at its heart.''
Revelation Space, Alastair Reynolds
(UK: Gollancz 0-575-06875-2, £17.99, 476pp, hc, March 2000, cover by Chris Moore)
A very big novel with a spaceship on the cover, writes Jonathan Strahan in the March 2000 Locus.
''E.E. 'Doc' Smith style space opera has been remade afresh by each new generation of science fiction writers, most recently by British writers like Stephen Baxter, Iain M. Banks, and Peter Hamilton. Now Interzone writer Alastair Reynolds takes his turn with Revelation Space, a novel long enough to have been written by Hamilton and funny enough to have been written by Banks...''
The book is set 500 years in the future in a galaxy filled with neutron-star computers, sentient oceans, enormous ''shrouds'' of space-time -- but no living intelligent species besides humanity. Archaeologist Dan Sylveste enters one of the shrouds and finds what may be the key to why the galaxy's sentient species have disappeared. Strahan's review concludes that the book
''is ultimately a very refreshing and entertaining reconsideration of some of the genres oldest tropes. Revelation Space is an impressive first novel, and quite possibly the space opera of 2000. Watch for it at awards time.''
Gary K. Wolfe in the same issue of Locus examines Reynolds's numerous forebears and considers the book's many plot lines, including political and romantic intrigue and plenty of cosmic mysteries.
''[C]onceptually Revelation Space delivers the goods, tying together its vast puzzles like a paranoid dream. Reynolds may be exploring territory similar to that which we've come most recently to associate with Peter Hamilton and Stephen Baxter, but he does so in his own voice and takes his own risks. Although it's early in the year, this is certain to be one of 2000's most impressive debut novels, and one of the most significant large-scale epics of the year. It's enough to convince me that Reynolds is the next writer to watch in the long resurrection of the conceptually intelligent space opera.''