The Silent Tower
Barbara Hambly, 1988
New E-Edition 2011
New Ebook Edition. Copy provided by NetGalley.
Premise: In the world of Ferryth, mages are forbidden to interfere with people's lives, but factions in the government and the Church are still looking for a reason to move against them. They might get it when a minor mage is murdered by someone manipulating the dangerous Void, releasing abominations into the land. Caris, bodyguard and nephew to the Archmage, is traveling with him to try and solve the mystery. The first stop is the imprisoned mage Antryg Windrose, mad apprentice to the late Dark Mage who knew the most about the Void. The other piece of the puzzle, however, is held by a computer programmer named Joanna who is being hunted from across the Void by their unknown foe.
Most of the story concerns the mystery: who is working this dark magic, what is his/her plan, what does he/she need a programmer for so badly that they traveled across dimensions to kidnap one? Joanna soon solidifies as the main character, with Caris along as local guide and second opinion.
There's a romantic plot that works without overwhelming, and my attention was fully held by the emotional lives of the characters.
One of the weaker aspects here is that the “modern” technology, while vague enough, is quite dated. Joanna was a programmer in 1988, after all.
Also the version I read had a handful of severe and confusing copyediting problems, including whole phrases misplaced in the next or previous sentence. I really hope those aren't in the paid edition, but I don't know.
I found the penultimate section a bit shaky, but the story finishes very strong. Fair Warning: you're going to want to read the next book right away, to find out what happens next.
Thanks to Open Road Publishing for re-releasing all of Hambly's work as ebooks.
4 Stars – A Very Good Book
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