The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay...a trilogy consisting of the following fantastic books:
The Summer Tree
The Wandering Fire
The Darkest Road
Why do I love this series so much?
Mostly because it tells a intricately-woven story of 5 people from this world being taken to a parallel universe where they are desperately needed to fill the roles that have been crafted for them in
Its a simple story of a group of 5 Canadian university students, Paul, Kim, Jennifer, Kevin and Dave, who attend a seminar one evening in Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto.
They are there to hear a presentation by Lorenzo Marcus, i.e. Loren Silvercloak, at the Second International Celtic Conference. What they don't know is that they are about to be guided into a parallel universe, High Kingdom of Brennin, by Loren Silvercloak, a mage of that world, and his assistant, Matt Soren. While listening to Loren's talk, they are secretly being watched by a svart alfar, a creature of evil, that has crossed over undetected with Loren and Matt.
"Ostensibly invited to come to the other world as guests of the court for a celebration of the anniversary of the monarch's ascension to the throne, all five students quickly find that their roles in Fionavar are far more complex than they originally expected." ~ GGK's website
Sound a little too weird for you?
I also though that when I initially began reading this magical book for the first time. But, after reading a few chapters it became crystal-clear to me that this was no ordinary sci-fi/fantasy paperback. It is a deeply thought-out piece about the age-old theme of good and evil, light and dark, joy and sorrow.
I love the lios alfar and Galadan of the Andain...the mage Loren Silvercloak. I also love Diarmuid, Crown Prince of Brennin and the Mother Goddess, Dana.
I've been reading these 3 books over again every few years for about 20 years. This summer, I picked up GGK's Ysabel. Set in Provence, it's a lovely romp, AND as a delicious surprise, there's a tie-back to the Fionavar Tapestry that caused me to shriek with joy! To find that familiar touchstone secretly placed in another of GGK's books was like colour to the blind.
A fariy story for grownups, a long, languid read for the summer holidays...whatever it is, this series of Kay's is such a lush read that it begs to be picked up every few years...and I do!
" Riding the mad crest of that speed, the two men at the tiller fought to hold their course, their bodies taut with brutal strain.
And then, with no surprise at all, only a dulled, hurting sense of inevitability, Paul saw Lancelot du Lac grapple his way to their side.
And so, at the last, it was the three of them: Coll conning his ship with Lancelot and Arthur at either side, their feet braced wide on the slippery deck, gripping the tiller together, in flawless, necessary harmony, guiding that small, gallant, much-enduring ship into the bay of the Anor Lisen." ~ Guy Gavriel Kay in The Wandering Fire