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Watchtower (1979)

by Elizabeth A. Lynn

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chronicles of Tornor (1)

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646631,602 (3.41)34
In a land brought to life by warriors and lovers, war and honor, the legendary tower, Tornor Keep, is invaded by raiders. No longer the watchtower at the winter end of a summer land, Tornor turns to a young prince with the hopes that he might protect the future of the enchanting land.
  1. 00
    Delan the Mislaid by Laurie J. Marks (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Both are a quieter kind of fantasy, with a focus on the personal and social rather than epic, and some understated explorations of gender themes.
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» See also 34 mentions

English (5)  German (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
This first book in the Chronicles of Tornor trilogy can be read as a standalone. The other two books seem to follow different characters.

The book starts when Tornor Keep is taken by an enemy and the main character, named Ryke, starts to work for the him as a soldier. The prince, Errel, is captured and forced to be a jester. They both try to escape and find a plan to go back and put the prince in command of the keep again.

This is a character driven story with little plot and some world building. There aren’t many action scenes and the fights are over pretty quickly.

I liked the characters, but they could have been a bit more fleshed out (especially Norres). The bits of world building were interesting and I liked that there was a w|w couple and a bi main character. I wish both of the women in the relationship had the same care when it comes to characterization, but since the story is told from the perspective of Ryke I can forgive that.

I liked that the prince was interested in an art similar to Tarot and trusted the cards as a way of predicting the future too.

Ryke mentions his family here and there, but I never got a sense of who they were and it gives the impression that he doesn’t care that much for them. This character is a bit sexist at first, but the text shows that it’s out of ignorance and doesn’t make him that unlikable.

I was expecting that a romantic relationship would develop between Ryke and Errel, but that didn’t happen. There is only sharing the bed moments and unshakable loyalty from Ryke to his prince and then… the ending!

This book has a surprisingly feminist ending and this was the first time I saw a main character that had 2 unrequieted crushes and no other love interest! I kept seeing reviews about how this book is not original by today’s standards, but this was really unique. I would like to know where people saw something executed like this before.

This short book is mostly focused on dialogue and learning. The plot isn’t that original, but some decisions of the author at the end pleasantly surprised me. I am still surprised by how much I enjoyed this book first published in 1979 and how well it holds up by today’s standards, even though it took me some chapters to get into it and there is at least an outdated word. ( )
  elderlingfae | Aug 11, 2022 |
A good story and interesting characters and themes but some stilted dialogue and prose. ( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
Tiptree Award retrospective shortlist ( )
  SChant | Sep 5, 2016 |
The story of Ryke, a soldier of Tornor Keep, a harsh castle in a wintry land. When the fortress is taken by raiders, Ryke stays loyal to his prince (now lord, since the old lord was killed in the battle), and contrives a way for them to escape the fort with the help of two neutral messengers, Sorren and Norres, whose gender and identities are secret....
They travel to a secret valley, named after a mythical land of always-summer, where an exiled soldier, Van, is teaching small groups of followers a martial art that is somewhere between judo and capoeira, infused with a new spiritual philosophy of balance. They set out to re-take the keep - but harsh lessons are in store before each of the characters learns that their path in life may not be what had always been expected of them.

It's a short book, but for a first novel, excellent. Still, I feel if Lynn had written this later in her career, she probably would have fleshed out both the characters and the complex details of their world to a greater extent. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Although it's been a long since I first read the book I still keep a good impression of it. It's an original fantasy in wich things turn to be different than we expected and in wich we find a plausible way for a woman to play a crucial role in this adventure that takes place in a men's world. It's also quite refreshing the cheari way of life, a sparkling light in midst of the darkness of war. Perhaps this is not a masterpiece, but only the first fantasy novel of a (by then) young writer, but I surely would have missed it if I had not read it.
  garalgar | Oct 6, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth A. Lynnprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ladd,EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For RWS, who saw it start.
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Tornor Keep was dead and burning.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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In a land brought to life by warriors and lovers, war and honor, the legendary tower, Tornor Keep, is invaded by raiders. No longer the watchtower at the winter end of a summer land, Tornor turns to a young prince with the hopes that he might protect the future of the enchanting land.

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