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The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly
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The Silent Tower

by Barbara Hambly

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Windrose Chronicles (1)

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» See also 45 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
For me, this book started off really slow. I was interested in the world presented, but it took me a long time to warm up to either the characters or the story. After a while, though, my interest picked up quite a bit.

The story is set in an alternate world where magic still exists, although its influence is starting to fade. Many people aren’t sure if magic is even real, and technology is become more prevalent. A programmer from our world is kidnapped and taken to this alternate world where she gets caught up in events there. It’s too difficult to explain what those events are without spoiling the story, so I’m not even going to try.

The book starts off focusing on a character who wasn’t terribly interesting to me. The focus eventually shifted over to a couple other characters who I found more interesting. The story was published in the 80’s and it does have a slightly dated feel, particularly in its occasional discussions of real-world technology, but not unpleasantly so. I did think it failed to be as twisty as the author seemed to want it to be, maybe just because it relied on tropes that have become familiar to me and so it was easier for me to predict certain things. Plus I found it impossible to buy into the idea that Antryg Windrose was the real villain when a four-book series is named after him.

The ending is a complete cliffhanger. Although most of the main questions are answered, nothing is resolved, and our main characters are in jeopardy. I liked this book well enough by the end that I’m going to continue on and read the next book, so I can find out what happens. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | May 24, 2018 |
The main character is a computer programmer, but don’t let the self-insert feel fool you—yes, she’s targeted by and then transported to a magical realm, and yes, her meanie ex-boyfriend turns out to be in league with evil, but it’s a great story with a serious plot. I can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy! ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I had read Dragon’s Bane by Barbara Hambly some time ago and enjoyed it. A number of reviews I read, however, warned that the sequels to that book were very grim. I therefore looked for other works by Hambly that I might try and that’s how I came across The Silent Tower.

This is a fantasy of the Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole variety, involving a character from our world who finds herself in another world where the rules are different. In this case it’s a world where there is magic that only a few people have the ability to wield. The authorities (the Church) have decreed that those few aren’t allowed to use magic in any way that affects the other, not-magically-talented, people, and have even tried to convince those people that magic doesn’t exist. The first makes sense from a public safety standpoint, but the second seemed to me a bit perverse. I enjoyed the story in spite of that to the extent that when it ended on a cliff edge I had to rush right out and get the sequel, The Silicon Mage. Really the two books are one story arbitrarily cut in half for easier packaging. (In fact, they are now often packaged together and I recommend buying them that way to avoid frustration.)

Overall I found the magical world detailed and compelling even if the politics felt a bit artificial. Hambly’s writing has a verbal richness and poesy that I enjoyed most of the time, although some readers might find it excessive. My only problem with her writing style is that she has a tendency to over-stuff her sentences. By this I mean interrupting a sentence to insert a subordinate element, set off by commas, that is so long and involved that I’ve lost track of where the original sentence was going by the time she returns us to it. This happened often enough to be distracting but not so often as to make me stop reading - in large part because Hambly is so good with characters. I loved the mad wizard Antryg, although anyone who has any familiarity with actual mental illness must realize that he is not, in fact, mad. He’s eccentric, often hilariously so, but definitely sane. I also enjoyed Joanna, as well as all the other lessor characters. The linking of the fantasy world with our world through the villain’s sinister agenda provided a gripping source of conflict. ( )
  Carol_W | Sep 16, 2015 |
Upon finishing this book, I was angry. I did enjoy the novel, and I really liked the characters and enjoyed spending time with them. I appreciated, understood and empathized with Joanna and her fears and her purse. But, the writing wasn't great to me - my mind wandered a lot while I read - and I didn't find it difficult at all to step away from the world. So, while I enjoyed the novel, and would have rated it a solid 3 stars, I was not completely sure I wanted to read the next in the series as I have other books calling me and I just wasn't thrilled. I was, however, encouraged by others to pick up the next one - and told it would be worth it. And, indeed, it was. So much so, that it brought my rating of THIS book up a star.

As an aside, I find it fascinating how many novels of this era compare computer programming and magic.

The first half of this book is really a set up for the second half, so movement is slow. The movement picks up a bit when our three heroes meet up with each other and they begin their journey together. I have wondered if I wouldn't enjoy the story more if this book and the next were not simply one novel, but, in the end, I agree with the decision to separate them. They are, indeed, two journeys taken by the same characters.

All in all, I did enjoy this story. But, be prepared with the second if you want to totally appreciate the book. ( )
  SnowNSew | Oct 2, 2013 |
Substance: The conceit of mixing a magic-fantasy-world and our own contemporary-technological world was interesting, but the underlying rationale has major flaws.
I might read the sequel, just to kill time.

Style: Generally I like Hambly's work. This particular book, however, is so full of inconsistencies, incongruities, infelicities, and out-right plot-holes it resembled a piece of Swiss cheese. The characters were okay, but superficial. ( )
  librisissimo | Jul 15, 2013 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Hamblyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Poole, NicoleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salwowski, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shapiro, ShellyCartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet,Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Dedication
To the memory of Judy-Lynn
First words
"Has the Archmage returned?"
Quotations
You are twenty-six years old, she told herself sharply. The odds against your meeting the boogieman in the corridors of the San Serano Bomb and Novelty Shop are astronomical.
'Funny,' he said, 'if you're a mage, they always ask you to read the future, as if knowing it will help. I think three-fourths of all prayers prayed are for two and two not to equal four.'
'No matter what the muffins are like for breakfast, I shall have to lie and say I liked them. Such a cook ought never to be flogged more often than is necessary, as the Prince says, to keep him smart.'
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Book description
A wizard and a computer programmer from opposite sides of an interdimensional portal must work together to save their worlds from destruction.

In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about seeing a murderer disappear into a black, inky portal. The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose—a half-mad mage who understands the nature of these passages between dimensions.

On the other side of the Void is Joanna, a programmer as mild as Caris is deadly. She has spent her life in cubicles, staring into computer terminals, as far from heroism as she can get. But when the power that is crossing between dimensions draws her through the Void, she finds herself battling to save a world she never even knew existed.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345337646, Mass Market Paperback)

In her latest novel, The Silent Tower, Barbara Hambly has written a complex tale of dark magic, mystery and deadly danger involving a woman computer programmer who struggles to help a condemned wizard save--or perhaps destroy?--two worlds...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A wizard and a computer programmer from opposite sides of an interdimensional portal must work together to save their worlds from destruction In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about seeing a murderer disappear into a black, inky portal. The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose-a half-mad mage who understands the nature of these passages between dimensions. On the other side of the Void is Joanna, a programmer as mild as Caris is deadly. She has spent her life in cubicles, staring into computer terminals, as far from heroism as she can get. But when the power that is crossing between dimensions draws her through the Void, she finds herself battling to save a world she never even knew existed. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Barbara Hambly, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author's personal collection.… (more)

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