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The Ant Tower [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Ruz
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Parkin, a soldier-turned-mercenary, has been hired by the King's Magician to accompany him on a long journey into the great western desert, in search of an ancient and powerful artefact. After years spent battling the heathens in the frozen north, Parkin is glad for what he thinks will be an easy contract.

But there's more to fear in the desert than thirst, and as Parkin's comrades fall one by one, he's forced to ask - what does the Magician really want from him? And what evil has taken root in the rock mound known as the Ant Tower?

The Ant Tower is an 8000 word swords-and-sorcery fantasy in the style of Gene Wolfe and Michael Moorcock. The Ant Tower was also collected in Future Tides, a 60,000 word, 18 story collection by Christopher Ruz, comprising of all his science fiction and fantasy work published between 2007 and 2011. Future Tides is available for just $5.99, exclusive to the Kindle store.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fragment 9 April 2012
By Furio
Format:Kindle Edition
This short story appears to have been detached from a longer work: not because the story is incomplete or characterization lacking -quite the contrary I would say- but because it mirrors a fantasy world that we assume without having really seen it. Personally I would have loved to see it.

It is set in an arab-like fantasy world dominated by heat and sand. The lead is gay but even if the story is emotionally explicit there is nothing graphic.
Writing is excellent. The world seen through the eyes of the lead is very much alive even if the slight price to pay -due to the shortness of the story itself- is that all the other characters are a little out of focus.

I only have one objection but it is a serious one: the narration is told along two timelines, the present and the recent past leading to the present events. It is quite a refined structure, especially in a short story, but confusion is bound to arise as the settings of the two timelines are essentially identical, the first covering the trip to the last town and the second the trip from there to the ant tower. It took me several pages to understand flashbacks of a very recent past (we are talking of mere days) were alternating with the present and it did spoil the fun a bit.
I can see the sense of interrupting the gritty trip through the sands with quieter moments but the quality of the story is such that it would have more than tolerated a single timeline.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I didn't really get it :( 4 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Formatting, layout and proofing seems good for the Kindle.

I liked the writing style and thought I'd enjoy this short story. To me it had echo's of Iain M. Banks ~ a narrative that takes no hostages and just tells it's tale expecting the reader to catch up like the adults we are.

And that's when it all started to fall apart a little bit for me. I got the tale. I got the characters. I just did not get "the message" or the point or the spirit or whatever it is that usually makes one care about the words that are being read.

The author seems confident and competent enough, so I am guessing it's a fault in me :( I hope others enjoy it more. CW.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive read! 12 Feb. 2012
By Sugarbumyum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This story begs to be read in one sitting. This is a brilliant example of what fantasy can do; transport you entirely into another world. 'Ruz' writes his characters convincingly, creates a dreadful, beautiful world, and throws you face fist into his atmospheric story. No book is perfect, but this one did not disappoint. Buy it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Characters Make the Story Shine 16 Nov. 2011
By Carmen Seitan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
One of the reasons I love Christopher Ruz's writing is his ability to create complex, detailed characters. Reading through a story, you feel like you know the character so well it's like you regularly meet with him or her for a cup of coffee and conversation at the nearest Starbucks. "The Ant Tower" is pure character goodness in a fantasy setting that is sure to please lovers of the genre. While "The Ant Tower" features an evil wizard, a quest through life-threatening conditions, and a sword wielding hero who has no idea what he's gotten himself into, the story is anything but cliche. I was blown away at how alive each character came and Chris has given each such depth, even giving the main character a sexual orientation that causes tension among his comrades.

If you've ever enjoyed a fantasy story, you have to read "The Ant Tower."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fragment 9 April 2012
By Furio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This short story appears to have been detached from a longer work: not because the story is incomplete or characterization lacking -quite the contrary I would say- but because it mirrors a fantasy world that we assume without having really seen it. Personally I would have loved to see it.

It is set in an arab-like fantasy world dominated by heat and sand. The lead is gay but even if the story is emotionally explicit there is nothing graphic.
Writing is excellent. The world seen through the eyes of the lead is very much alive even if the slight price to pay -due to the shortness of the story itself- is that all the other characters are a little out of focus.

I only have one objection but it is a serious one: the narration is told along two timelines, the present and the recent past leading to the present events. It is quite a refined structure, especially in a short story, but confusion is bound to arise as the settings of the two timelines are essentially identical, the first covering the trip to the last town and the second the trip from there to the ant tower. It took me several pages to understand flashbacks of a very recent past (we are talking of mere days) were alternating with the present and it did spoil the fun a bit.
I can see the sense of interrupting the gritty trip through the sands with quieter moments but the quality of the story is such that it would have more than tolerated a single timeline.
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