''The Last Light of the Sun'' is a 2004 fantasy novel by Creator/GuyGavrielKay. Like ''Literature/TheLionsOfAlRassan'' and ''Literature/TheSarantineMosaic'', it is set in a world closely modeled on medieval Europe, but with elements of myth and magic incorporated. The tone is darker than that of the previous two novels, with themes of revenge, violence, the passing of an era, clash of cultures, and love especially between father and son--being particularly prominent.

For centuries now, the [[HornyVikings Erlings]] of Vinmark have ravaged the coasts of the Cyngael and Angelcyn, bringing death, destruction, and the fury of the north in their wake. But change is coming to these cold northern lands, as King Aeldred of the Angelcyn brings his people together to resist the Erling depredations. [[CrystalDragonJesus Jadism]] is spreading, and raids grow fewer and harder, as the last of the dragon ships turn away from Angelcyn shores. It's the end of an era, and most people can only watch.

Some people though, will get caught up in the changes around them. The story opens as young Erling, Bern Thorkellson, whose father's rages have destroyed his family, steals a deceased governor's horse, and flees his homeland. In Cyngael, Alun ap Owyn and his brother, Dai, plot to steal cattle from RetiredBadass Brynn ap Hywyll. And in the Angelcyn court, Aeldred's son, Aethelbert struggles to escape the shadow of the father he loves, but cannot be. These three, along with numerous others will be tied together by fate, as the Erlings of [[HiredGuns Jormsvik]] plan one, last, great raid.

The book as a whole has been quite well received, with critics praising its darker tone, evocative settings, well-developed characters, and general sense of grandeur and nostalgia. It's worth noting that the book contains far less sex and politics than is usual for Kay, and a lot more violence. Depending on the reader this may be a good thing or a bad one. Kay was nominated for the 2005 Canadian Sunburst Award after writing it.
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'''Tropes found in ''The Last Light of the Sun'' include:'''
* AntiHero: [[JerkAss Alun]] and [[ZenSurvivor Thorkell]].
* AntiVillain: Bern, Brand, and the rest of their crew.
* ArrangedMarriage: Aeldred is in the process of arranging his daughter, Jadwina's, marriage. [[spoiler:Played with in the case of Anrid and Bern who enter into a marriage of convenience arranged by themselves]].
* AuthorAppeal: Kay's standards of female domination and cheating wives are, of course, present. It's far less prominent than in his other works though, to the relief of many.
* {{Badass}}: Thorkell Einarson, Bern Thorkellson, Brand Leofson, and Aeldred.
** BadassFamily: Thorkell and Bern. Subverted by the Volgans. The Volgan himself was a tremendous BadAss, but his son Ragnar never really did any raiding and his grandsons, [[DumbMuscle Mikkel]] and [[TheSociopath Ivar]]? The tropes attached to them speak for themselves. Dangerous, but hardly BadAss.
** RetiredBadass: Brynn ap Hywyll. His rival, the Volgan, is a [[PosthumousCharacter Posthumous]] {{Badass}}.
* BittersweetEnding: The Erlings are gone, and Alun, Aethelbert, and Bern all survive, while [[TheSociopath Ivar]] dies. Aeldred and his wife stay together, and he fully intends to turn his kingdom into a civilization that will match those in the south. Yet [[spoiler: Thorkell]] is dead and never really reconciled with his son, and both the raids, and the feelings of mystery and magic in the world, are fading away. See EndOfAnAge for more on that.
* TheCaptain: Brand to Bern and his crew.
* CombatPragmatist: Bern, Aethelred, Ivar.
* ContinuityNod: Both the lead characters of ''Literature/TheSarantineMosaic'' get shoutouts: there are mentions of Crispin's two mosaics in Varena (Aeldred thinks they were by two different artists), and a scroll of medical knowledge written by Rustem in Esperana.
* CoolShip: The dragon ships.
* CrystalDragonJesus: Jadism is Christianity. The Erling's repeatedly reference their own religion, and its blatant paralells for Odin and Thor.
* CuteWitch: Anrid may be an EeriePaleSkinnedBrunette, but she's still portrayed as attractive, if rather frightening to Bern.
* DirtyCoward: Mikkel is one. Ivar is often regarded as such, but the truth is [[CombatPragmatist much]], [[TheSociopath much]] [[ManipulativeBastard worse]].
* DuelToTheDeath: Bern vs Gurd, [[spoiler: Thorkell vs Brand]].
* DumbMuscle: Mikkel Ragnarson, and to a lesser degree, Brand. The [[BadAss latter]] [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure gets]] [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy enough]] [[TheCaptain characterisation]] that it isn't [[TropesAreNotBad too bad]].
* EndOfAnAge: Present throughout, and beautifully done, as unity and Angelcyn power replace disunity and the chaos of the Erling raids. Yet despite this, its almost impossible not to feel a certain sense of nostalgia as the last dragon ships head over the horizon.
* EvilAlbino: Ivar Ragnarson has white hair, and white skin. He also suffers from poor vision in the daylight, although he seems to see better in the twilight.
* EvilCripple: Ivar again. He's much smaller, and much more slender than is usual for an Erling, with hunched shoulders that aren't quite level with one another.
* EyepatchOfPower: Brand.
* TheFairFolk: A Fae queen keeps the soul of Alun's brother Dai captive. Getting her to let go is a major part of Alun's character arc. Aeldred has also had encounters with the Fae in the past, which has somewhat shaken his faith in Jadism, as his faith claims the supernatural does not exist.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: The Angelcyn are the English, the Cyngael are the Welsh, and the Erlings are the Vikings.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Remaining alive during a blood-eagling. Seriously, you do ''not'' want that to happen to you.
* ForTheEvulz: [[DumbMuscle Mikkel]] wants to avenge the Volgan. It's why he goes raiding at Brynn's. [[TheSociopath Ivar]]? He's just bored and looking to hurt some people. He's especially interested in finding a way to keep [[FateWorseThanDeath someone alive while blood-eagling them]], the little creep.
* TheFundamentalist: Aeldred's wife. It leads to some interesting moments between the two of them, as her fondness for her husband and her belief that SexIsEvil war in her head.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: So very much. The Cyngael, Angelcyn and yes, the Erlings, are all portrayed in a thoroughly sympathetic light.
** ALighterShadeOfGrey: The Angelcyn and Cyngael are supposed to be this, but it doesn't really stick. Kay captures [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Erling]] culture well enough that they come off as equally sympathetic, despite their fondness for raiding and murder. Only [[TheSociopath Ivar]]'s presence really blackens their reputation.
* HappilyMarried: Aeldred and his wife, though don't tell [[SexIsEvil her]] that. Brynn and his wife are as well, in what seems to be an open marriage that allows for both to sleep with other people without either being upset.
* HeelFaceTurn: Thorkell, right at the start. In exchange for his life, he swears loyalty to Brynn and his wife.
* HiredGuns: The Erlings at Jormsvik are raiders and killers for hire.
* ILetYouWin: [[spoiler: Thorkell lets Brand kill him as part of his plot to let Bern and the other Jormsvik Erlings get away]].
* LastMinuteHookUp: [[spoiler:Anrid and Bern]]. And yet, due to the way its written, it seems to work.
* ManipulativeBastard: Ivar, although he's not as good as he thinks.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Anrid's control of the serpent, and Ivar's deformities and manipulative abilities are alluded to being supernatural in origin, but deliberately kept vague.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Aeldred is Alfred the Great, who unified the English to resist the first waves of Viking attacks. Ivar Ragnarson is likely a reference to the semi-historical [[Literature/RagnarLodbrokAndHisSons Ivarr "The Boneless" Ragnarson]], who invaded England alongside his brothers to take revenge for their father, in much the same way that Ivar and Mikkel seek to avenge their grandfather. Thorkell and Bern might be a reference to Erik the Red and Lief Erikson.
* PoisonedWeapons: Ivar.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: How the Erlings tend to come across when contrasted with the Angelcyn or Cyngael.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Aeldred and Cenion. Brand, while not looking like one to outsiders, is an Erling example.
* RedRightHand: Ivar. Is there a single ''good'' trope associated with him?
* SexIsEvil: Aeldred's wife is convinced of this (despite the fact that she thoroughly enjoys it).
* ShutUpHannibal: [[spoiler: Bern stabs Ivar in the back mid-spiel]].
* TheSmartGuy: Bern to the Jormsvik Erlings.
* SmugSnake: Ivar. He's contemptuous of everyone around him, and considers every breathing person to be his inferior.
* SnakesAreEvil: Even Anrid isn't comfortable with her pet snake, but she needs it to keep the other witch-women under control.
* TheSociopath: Guess who? [[spoiler: Ivar]].
* TookALevelInBadass: Bern, Alun, and Aethelbert.
* TookALevelInJerkass: Alun after Dai's death.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Aethelbert; Bern to a lesser degree.
* WhatTheHellHero: Bishop Cenion calls out Aeldred on [[spoiler: his murder of surrendering Erlings]].
* WickedWitch: The first ''volur'' embodies this, despite not having any real powers to speak of. Anrid, despite having actual powers, is not this, being an altogether pleasant (if slightly creepy) young lady.
* WiseBeyondTheirYears: Anrid.
* YouKillItYouBoughtIt: The only way to become a Jormsvik Erling is to kill a current member in single combat.
* YourCheatingHeart: Brynn's wife cheats on him with Cenion, the bishop, every time he comes to visit. But Brynn routinely sleeps with serving girls, so they appear to have an understanding.
* ZenSurvivor: Thorkell. By the end, Bern has also picked up many of these traits.
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