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Fiction Historical

All the Seas of the World

by (author) Guy Gavriel Kay

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
May 2022
Historical, Action & Adventure, Renaissance
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


“This is an immersive reading experience; readers will taste the dust in their mouths, see the high seas from the deck of a merchant ship, feel the bustle of the city market. What results is necessary sustenance for the starving reader. A masterpiece from a master of the craft.” —Booklist (starred review)

Returning triumphantly to the brilliantly evoked near-Renaissance world of A Brightness Long Ago and Children of Earth and Sky, international bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay deploys his signature ‘quarter turn to the fantastic’ to tell a story of vengeance, power, and love.

On a dark night, along a lonely stretch of coast, a small merchant ship sends two people ashore: their purpose is assassination. They have been hired by two of the most dangerous men alive to alter the balance of power in the world. The consequences of that act will affect the destinies of empires as well as lives both great and small.

One of those arriving on that stony strand is a young woman who had been abducted by corsairs as a child and sold into years of servitude far from her home. Having escaped, she is trying to chart her own course—and is bent upon revenge. The man who will bring the others out from the city on his ship—if they survive their mission—still remembers being exiled as a boy with his family, for their faith; it is a moment that never leaves him. In what follows, through a story both intimate and epic, unforgettable characters are immersed in the fierce and deadly struggles that define their time.

All the Seas of the World is a stand-alone page-turning drama that also offers moving reflections on memory, fate, and the random events that can shape our lives—in the past, and today.

About the author


GUY GAVRIEL KAY is an international bestselling author. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in the literature of the fantastic, is a two-time winner of the Aurora Award, and won the 2008 World Fantasy Award for Ysabel, a #1 bestseller in Canada. His works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Visit his Canadian website at and his authorized international website at

Guy Gavriel Kay's profile page


  • Long-listed, Canada Reads
  • Short-listed, Aurora Award - Best Novel

Editorial Reviews


One of:
Amazon's "Best science fiction and fantasy of 2022"
The Globe and Mail’s “Best books of 2022”
“Tragic, stirring, romantic, meticulous, comic, rueful, worldly-wise, and written in the intimate, deceptively nonchalant voice of a storyteller offering up his great gift, All the Seas of the World is classic Kay, and to this reader, at least, there can be no higher praise.”
—Michael Chabon

“A compelling historical fantasy, [All the Seas of the World] develops with the creeping intensity of an avalanche: an action here, an assignation there, and before you know it, all hell has broken loose. It’s a thrilling and exciting reading experience. . . . Written largely during the pandemic [the novel] has an elegiac quality, an aching awareness of the temporary nature of lives, empires, worlds. As Kay writes, ‘If we take a moment for them it is also a moment taken for ourselves. For those who love us, those we love.’”
—Robert Wiersema, Toronto Star
"The heart of All the Seas of the World is the relationship between Nadia bint Dhiyan and Rafel Ben Natan . . . fully realized, powerful and thought-provoking characters. Kay asks questions . . . about how we move forward in a world shaped by loss. From his very first trilogy, The Fionavar Tapestry, Kay has shown an ability to inhabit female characters with depth and intelligence, while exploring how they navigate worlds built for and by men. . . . All The Seas of The World captures all that Kay does best: a deep look at what makes us human, woven into a package of thrilling adventure."
—Winnipeg Free Press
"Kay revives familiar characters and introduces new ones as his plot charts a seafaring course across a violent world. . . . [But] for all the globetrotting the characters do, their actions are ultimately motivated by a search for home. . . . This is familiar territory for Kay: many of his novels have centered on these questions [but] All the Seas of the World finds a way to reframe the familiar through new, compelling characters, making it one of Kay’s finest novels yet."
—The Globe and Mail
"Gorgeous, generous, humane and deeply aware of the intricacies of human desire and attachment, All the Seas of the World is another masterpiece from Kay."
James Bradley, author of Ghost Species
“A mosaic of captivating story lines within a mesmerizing narrative frame. . . . Kay constructs a rich world that easily draws readers in. Historical fantasy fans will be wowed.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This is an immersive reading experience; readers will taste the dust in their mouths, see the high seas from the deck of a merchant ship, feel the bustle of the city market. What results is necessary sustenance for the starving reader. A masterpiece from a master of the craft.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Meticulously crafted in structure, pace, language, dialogue.... but crafted not just with skill but with heart ... so one is both saddened and gladdened in turn, moved and inspired throughout.”
—Fantasy Literature
"Epic and gorgeously detailed, warm and ruthlessly chilling."
—Daily Mail (UK)

"All the Seas of the World is as rich a tapestry as we've come to expect from Kay—perhaps one of the richest."
"All the Seas of the World is a story of resilience winning out, of . . . individuals finding a way to vanquish their demons in spite of all the powers arrayed against them. [Kay is a] master of telling small stories in a big world."
—BookPage (starred review)
“Kay does a wonderful job at inhabiting frantic, tense characters in especially neurotic, high-strung moments. . . . [He has] talent for crafting genuinely evocative scenes that lend themselves well to the visual imagination. . . . [A]rtful. . . . [G]ripping.”

Select praise for Guy Gavriel Kay:

“Kay is a genius. I’ve read him all my life and am always inspired by his work.”
—#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson
"In seductive prose, Kay’s historical fantasies transport the reader to a Renaissance Europe that never quite existed and rival the works of George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb for sheer excitement." —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

“[Read] anything by Guy Gavriel Kay.”
The New Yorker

“As with any Kay book, there is beauty of language and intelligent observations. This is a book to be savored.”
New York Times bestselling author Robin Hobb, on A Brightness Long Ago

“A masterpiece; perhaps the finest work of one of the world’s greatest living storytellers. . . . Kay’s language is elegant in its simplicity, yet painstakingly profound as it cuts to the core of what makes us think, and act, and remember.”
—Fantasy Book Review, on A Brightness Long Ago
“Exquisitely crafted and deeply moving. . . . Guy Gavriel Kay has written a masterpiece, yet again.”
—Nicholas Eames, on A Brightness Long Ago

“A new Guy Gavriel Kay is always occasion for rejoicingand this dazzling adventure is a diamond-bright jewel.”
—Marina Endicottt, on A Brightness Long Ago

"[Kay's] novels, read together, build a rich and intricate universe spread over centuries and several novels, starting as far back as The Lions of Al-Rassan (1995). . . . All The Seas of The World is a glittering thread in the tapestry."
—Winnpeg Free Press

“History and fantasy rarely come together as gracefully or readably as they do in the novels of Guy Gavriel Kay.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“Guy Gavriel Kay has a wonderful talent. He tells stories in an invented world that is so rich in historical echoes that I found myself smiling with pleasure as I heard the echoes, while engrossed in the story. Warmly recommended.”
Edward Rutherfurd

“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.”
The Miami Herald

“You’re immersed in a beautifully detailed fantasy renaissance world, then swept along in its warm, deep, dangerous currents. Here be silks and swordplay, undreamed-of wealth and terrible danger for Lenia and Rafel, two hard-bargaining seafarers, as they battle fate, enemies, and their own doubts to survive.”
—Daily Mail (UK)

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