The Lions of Al-Rassan
is a 1995 fantasy novel by Guy Gavriel Kay
. Its world is based off the Spanish Reconquista.The story begins with murder
. King Almalik of Cartada, the largest of the three Asharite kingdoms in Al-Rassan, has a number of his enemies slain in one afternoon. The Kindath physician, Jehane bet Ishak, inadvertedly keeps one of her patients from the execution, and is forced to flee. The assassin Ammar ibn Khairan knocks off Almalik at the behest of the king's son, and is exiled. Meanwhile, in the Jaddite-controlled north, Captain Rodrigo Belmonte, the man used to collect tribute from the southern kingdoms, is ordered south to quell a feud with his rival Garcia de Rada, and to do reconnaissance on the Asharite kingdoms in preparation for war.
The three meet in the city of Ragosa and soon become good friends. In the service of the Ragosian king, they fight thieves, hired killers, and religious fanatics. A love triangle
begins to develop between Jehane and the two men. However, the shadow of war hangs heavy over them, and they know that soon they may see each other on opposite ends of the battlefield...
There have been rumours of a film adaptation, which have as yet come to nothing.
This work contains the following tropes:
- Bittersweet Ending
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Ishak ben Yonannon, Jehane's father, had his eyes and tongue cut out for saving the life of the king's concubine; that is, in order to properly save her during childbirth, he had to see her naked. His eyes were taken for having seen her naked; his tongue, so he would never describe her beauty to others. Note that this was the king's way of showing mercy - had he given in to the priests' demands, Ishak would have been killed.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Asharites are Muslims, the Jaddites are Christians, and the Kindath are Jews.
- Cue the Sun
- Deadly Decadent Court
- Dirty Coward: Garcia.
- Disney Death: Diego
- Distant Finale
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The world is an analogue to Medieval Spain.
- Foregone Conclusion
- Frontier Doctor
- Grey and Gray Morality
- Heroic Sacrifice: Mazur ben Avren.
- While not happening "on screen", Ishak ben Yonannon can arguably count. See the Cold-Blooded Torture example above, and take into account that (as we learn later in the book) he was completely aware of what would be done to him, but went on anyway to abide by his oath as a physician.
- Historical Fantasy
- Holier than Thou
- Meaningful Name: Almalik means "the king" in Arabic. "King Almalik" doubles as a Department of Redundancy Department.
- My Country Right or Wrong
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Rodrigo Belmonte is based on El Cid.
- Perfect Poison: Averted with the poisoned arrow that hits Queen Ines.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Jehane and Ser Rezzoni were once lovers, but it's mentioned that he sleeps with all of his female students, and some of the male ones.
- Throw Away City: Sorenica.
- Triang Relations: Jehane, Ammar and Rodrigo. Type 3.
- It's really more like Type 10. Type 8 is also implied. Though angles of that are unrequited. Really it's five sides once you factor in Rodrigo's wife Miranda and Alvar's unrequited love for Jehane.
- Two Lines, No Waiting
- What a Senseless Waste of Human Life
- Vestigial Empire: Al-Rassan, which has fallen far from its height.