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Fortress in the Eye of Time [Paperback]

C. J. Cherryh
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Dec 1995
A tower in a vast forest - the haunted home of the world's last great wizard, Mauryl. Here, in the storm-drenched night, Mauryl performs a final act of the highest Old Magic. He hopes to right the wrongs of a long-forgotten wizard war. The author is a "Hugo Award" winner.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (4 Dec 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006482201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006482208
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11.4 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 343,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover


A ruined tower in a vast forest is the haunted home of the world’s last great wizard, Mauryl. Here in the storm drenched night, Mauryl performs a final act of the highest Old Magic, a Shaping, hoping that by this most wondrous of spells the wrongs of a long forgotten wizard war may be righted.

In the tower, a boy is brought full grown to life. Named Tristen, he is neither golem nor man, and to Mauryl’s dismay he has none of the wisdom needed to ensure the success of his last gambit of the wizard’s long life. Presented with the precious book that contains the knowledge he needs, Tristen cannot understand a single word. Instead, Tristen loves his maker blindly, and loves the beauty of the world.

Tristen walks alone and helpless from the last outpost of the Old Lands into a new age of holiness rife with treachery and war. A glamour protects him until, as the veils of unknowning are blown aside by events, Tristen’s power is manifest. Then Mauryl’s enemies become his. And though Mauryl’s book is with him always, still Tristen cannot read it.

'Fortress in the Eye of Time' is C.J. Cherryh’s high fantasy triumph.

About the Author

C. J. Cherryh is the award-winning author of many science fiction bestsellers, including ‘Cyteen’, ‘Downbelow’ and ‘Station’. ‘‘Fortress in the Eye of Time’ and ‘‘Fortress of Eagles’ are the first two books in her long-awaited high fantasy series resulting from her study of ancient magic. She lives in Oklahoma.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and intriguing 14 May 1999
By A Customer
It has been several months since I read this book, so it is no longer fresh in my memory, however I do know that enjoyed it. Although I am a fan of fantasy fiction, i am a frustrated fan, as most available fantasy books, particularly those published during the recent explosion of fantasy fiction, are extremely substandard, and it is necessary to wade through enormous amounts of rubbish just to find one good book. This book was a pleasant surprise, although taking place in a "standard" Medieval European setting, it manages to produce deep characterisation, a refreshing and fairly original story, something which admittedly is quite difficult in fantasy, and some real drama and tragedy. The main characters are both believable and likable, the ending although somewhat abrupt, is satisfying. Altogether a very satisfying read, and only to be expected from a writer with C.J. Cherryh's stature and experience.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Master Innocent?! 29 Oct 2003
Cherryh is justifiably praised for her unique alien cultures, her complex political and social settings and plots, her sense of fast paced action and psychological insights. But it seems that she reserves all these good qualities for her science fiction novels, and is almost a different writer when it comes to fantasy.
Fortress spends it first 200 pages on just two characters, the wizard Mauryl and his Shaping Tristen. Mauryl is one of the world's oldest creatures, and reputably one of the strongest, part of both the first and second great ages of this world. But when the book opens we are in the third age, and Mauryl is old, his powers not quite what they were. His Shaping of Tristen is his last great act of wizardry, and it does not go totally according to plan, for when Tristen appears, he knows nothing of his abilities or purpose or even the essentials of what it is to be human, and must be painstakingly taught by Mauryl. And here we see one of the main failings of this book - Mauryl could obviously be a very deep and intriguing character, but we are given almost no details about his earlier life, about what type of person he is, about why he felt that summoning his Shaping was necessary. Instead we view almost everything through the eyes of Tristen, at this point very much an innocent, who can only see the obvious. And Mauryl's enemy is very nebulous, manifesting as a wind, a shaking, with no background of what he is, what his capabilities are, or even why he is Mauryl's enemy. All of this would be perfectly acceptable for a 15 page introduction to the main story, but here it is stretched out over a very slow moving, apparently pointless 200.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting and original fantasy 3 Mar 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I enjoyed the book.

I liked the start, an interesting, if slow, introduction to this new fantasy world. But I didn't realise that it really was just a prologue for the rest of the book, and in retrospect could have been shorter.

The criticism that Tristen's abilities are unknown to the reader, and so anything can be produced is valid, but I didn't really mind, and I don't think it was abused too much.

After a very long build-up, I did think that the ending happened very fast indeed. So read the last 2% at a slower pace!

I did like the practicalities of a fantasy feudal world, so often ignored by other writers.

I have the Kindle edition, so it's possible that the typography for some of the passages might be better in the paperback. I found keeping track of who was speaking in certain passages tricky.

I'm looking forward to reading the other in the series, but perhaps after a few shorter works first.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put This Book Down 11 Dec 2008
Re-read this book again over the weekend (for around the 20th time) and enjoyed it just as much as the 1st time. The first 30 pages of this book are now individually sellotaped back in which gives you an idea of how well loved it has become.

I have read most of CJ Cherryh's books and this is one is one of the best. The characters grab you from the start. Chronicles of Morgaine also an excellent choice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely excellent fantasy book 17 Feb 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the crumbling tower of Ynefel, Mauryl Gestaurien, the last of the great wizards creates a Shaping, a man named Tristen to undertake Mauryl's task. But, Mauryl's Shaping is flawed, not knowing who he is or what his powers are. When his enemy defeats Mauryl, Tristen goes out into the world to find out who and what he is. Arriving in Amefel, Tristen is brought to the attention of Cefwyn, a prince, and heir to the whole kingdom of Ylesuin. Cefwyn and his advisors quickly grasp that Tristen can be either a great blessing or a terrible danger.
This book is well written, and exciting to read. I found the ending rather abrupt, but that is a very minor complaint. This book is a fascinating variant on the old sword-and-sorcerer theme, and I recommend it whole-heartedly.
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