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4.0 out of 5 stars An Archaeological Thriller
Few authors can be better equipped to write about the history of ancient Greece and Rome than Valerio Massimo Manfredi. Professor of archaeology at the university of Milan, he has carried out many excavations and expeditions in the Mediterranean region. He has produced many factual books on historical matters, mainly military and has still found the time to write several...
Published on 17 Feb 2008 by J. Chippindale

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a curate's egg
Interesting to read the huge divergance of reviews about this book on Amazon. it seems you either loved it or you hated it with no middle ground permissable. I have just finished the book ( 5 minutes ago ) and feel the need to write a review that lies in between these extremes.
I'll start with the frustrating. The cover suggests a Roman desert novel which is...
Published on 24 July 2007 by Mr. David Webb-peploe


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a curate's egg, 24 July 2007
By 
Mr. David Webb-peploe (shepperton uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tower (Paperback)
Interesting to read the huge divergance of reviews about this book on Amazon. it seems you either loved it or you hated it with no middle ground permissable. I have just finished the book ( 5 minutes ago ) and feel the need to write a review that lies in between these extremes.
I'll start with the frustrating. The cover suggests a Roman desert novel which is unfortunate as only the prologue is set in Roman times. This may be the fault of the publishers who should have made it far clearer that this was not a classic Manfredi antiquity novel but a more modern thriller. The love interest, I agree with a previous reviewer, was poorly handled and highly improbable which confirms that Manfredi should stay well away from Mills and Boone territory. The telecommunication device hurtling through space, orbiting round some distant galaxy and then hurtling back with Marconi tracking it all the way was unfortunately so ridiculous as to be laughable. I know other mythological aspects were also ridiculous but I thought Manfredi managed to weave them in quite well. But the huge frustration was the ending. As the various protaganists approach the tower I expected a denouement that would neatly fit all the jigsaw pieces into place. But not a bit of it - the ending turned into one horrible and it seems very hastily written mess. I had to read the last few pages again to try and extract some sort of hidden meaning but I simply could not. What destroyed the tower? What was in the tower? What was the meaning of the Cain reference? Why did the hunter have to destroy the tombs and what was in them? What were the faceless creatures ( Jobert's comments were thoroughly unhepful )What was the tower for and why did it need to be destroyed anyway? Immensely frustrating.
But the book did have it's good points - the mythological references mixed in with the early creation story were ingenious. I liked Manfredi's description of ancient sites ( especially the catacomb under the monastry in Italy ) and his obvious familiarity with this subject. The chief villain Selsnick was hugely entertaining ( Alan Rickman should play him in the film version ). The dodgy workings of the Catholic church always make for a good read and the plot ( until the end ) spun me along quite nicely ( I finished the book in 3 days which must say something for it ).
So there you have it. A ripping yarn that was flawed in places and finished in a total mess. A shame really as it had good potential.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable!, 27 Aug 2007
By 
This review is from: The Tower (Paperback)
The cover blurb promises "an archeological adventure...a philological puzzle...a mystical enigma...". What you get is a complete lack of plot (plot?) structure, cardboard characters, no sense of time or place, and the only enigma is how it ever managed to get published in the first place.

I struggled to the end hoping that the garbled narrative strands would somehow be tied up, and possibly explained. I needn't have bothered. There was no kick in the tail. It still remained (to quote the blurb again) an "unutterable mystery".

One reviewer suggested Alan Rickman might be a good choice for a character in a film version. If it was ever filmed even Mr Rickman couldn't lift this out of the mire.

I bought my copy from a charity shop, but I would feel really guilty about giving it back and causing someone else to waste their money.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful ... no ... really i mean it !, 15 May 2007
This review is from: The Tower (Hardcover)
What a mess! It was difficult to follow, quite a few times I would have to check the characters names because you couldn't work out who they were or what they were supposed to be doing. Some time before the end i began to suspect we were not going to learn anything... i was right. I thought for a moment of going over the last few pages again in the vain hope i had missed something significant that would help it all make sense ... but frankly I couldn't be bothered and i suspect it would of made any difference.

A bad cross between an episode of Lost and a Clive Cussler book.

Hopeless ... don't buy it, or borrow it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Tower, 24 Aug 2007
By 
Mr. A. Towse (Scarborough UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tower (Hardcover)
Like peter davis I found this very disappointing. It may have been the translation that was at fault but the story was well below Professor Mancini's standard. It was eratic, disjointed and left large gaps hoping that the reader would put two and two together and 'fill in the missing detail' of which a great deal was omitted. I would not try to resell my copy preferring to donate it to a charity shop!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing, 7 Jan 2007
By 
Mrs. J. Naylor (Newport, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tower (Hardcover)
I enjoyed the Alexander trilogy, Tyrant and The Last Legion, so naturally I assumed this book would be as good. Sadly no. I've read this to the bitter end in the vain hope that it would improve. That didn't happen. I didn't understand what was going on, the characterisations were weak, and the whole thing made no sense. And the ending .... well I'm not even going to mention that! I don't know if it's the translation from Italian that has ruined this book - I was left feeling as if I should be putting in sentences myself to make the whole thing more understandable. Or perhaps this author is just riding the crest of a wave and trotting out rubbish that will sell just because of the success of his previous books. It was awful. I've never reviewed a book on Amazon before, but this has incensed me so much that I felt the need to write this - that's how bad this book is.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Archaeological Thriller, 17 Feb 2008
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Tower (Paperback)
Few authors can be better equipped to write about the history of ancient Greece and Rome than Valerio Massimo Manfredi. Professor of archaeology at the university of Milan, he has carried out many excavations and expeditions in the Mediterranean region. He has produced many factual books on historical matters, mainly military and has still found the time to write several novels. This book is a real thriller.

2 thousand years ago a mysterious force hidden in an isolated tower in the Sahara desert, massacred a squad of Roman soldiers. There was only one survivor from the horrific attack, an Etruscan diviner Avile Vipanas. He later described the terrible being in the tower, and suggested ways in which the creature could be destroyed.

Just what is the malevolent being that slumbers in the remote tower? Who are the fierce desert dwelling Blemmyae seen by the ancient travellers. Do they exist or are they just figments of people's imaginations.

In an attempt to find the isolated tower and sole the mystery that has come down through 20 centuries, three men begin a journey into te hear of the Sahara. An archaeologist, a colonel from the Foreign legion and a priest. Why do these men from such different backgrounds feel the need to solve a mystery that has lived on for 2,000 years?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pants, 7 Jun 2007
By 
Luke Swinson (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tower (Paperback)
I picked this up for some light reading on a holiday to Rome (yes I know, I judged a book by its cover).

However even once I discovered that this wasn't about Rome or Romans I still could not have prepared myself for such a terribly cliched, poorly written and inconclusive novel.

It's not that the plot is similar to an Indiana Jones movie (without the sense of humour) or that there is no conclusion to speak of; as the book just ends abruptly with some poorly contrived mumbo jumbo, loosely tied in with its 'theme' about the dark side of mankind.

It's more that the characters are completely one dimensional, with the book containing one of the most ineptly constructed romances I have ever read (apparently it's possible to woo a princess by stalking her and shouting lots). The dialogue is melodramatic, in some cases laughable and the plot is as predictable as they come.

Avoid.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fantasy Adventure, 27 Jun 2007
By 
Mr. William Oxley "oxenblocks" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tower (Paperback)
Manfredi is a great writer and storyteller who has produced a gripping tale. The story is hard to follow at times, and so it does not flow as well as expected. But the plot keeps you turning the pages.

The Tower is a modern day archaeological adventure, and not a historical novel that we would assume when seeing the author is Manfredi. The cover does not help here, leading you down the wrong path if you are expecting a Roman epic.

Philip Garrett takes on the task to find his father who has disappeared in the Sahara dessert. Whilst the Catholic Father Boni is drawn to discover the mystery of an ancient text. There is plenty of action, love, betrayal, dark forces, and undiscovered mysteries.

You may love the ending or hate it, but I on the whole The Tower is worth a read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A paradox - much promise, badly delivered, 15 Mar 2008
By 
Mark Loughridge (Letterkenny, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tower (Paperback)
I think the reason The Tower draws such ire from many readers is because it promises much - not just the blurb on the back, but throughout. It could have been so much better.

There is something gripping about it - even though it kept underperforming I found it hard to put down. That's still something of an accomplishment. I think its because the plot itself holds promise and you keep reading in the hope that the story might get better. But since it doesnt ever deliver, is hard to follow, and ends with a "quick I've got to finish writing before teatime" ending that doesn't remotely satisfy - it gets one star

Dont waste money or time on this one, unless looking for a good plot that needs to be better written
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas hamstrung by huge plot holes, 22 April 2008
This review is from: The Tower (Paperback)
Well, I enjoyed this book enough to read it again, but I found it equally as frustrating the second time around.

There are some great ideas here - the other version of the bible, the ancient race, the creature in the tower. But all the time you are stumbling over unlikely character behaviour and gaping plot holes.

And the ending.... well the book spends ages building up to it, and rather than a climactic and dramatic scene we are left with 2 pages of confusing and unlikely action that ends up with... well, nothing, to be honest. No answers, no resolutions, and a hastily tacked on "What Happened Afterwards" section.

Such a shame - it could have been great.
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The Tower
The Tower by Valerio Massimo Manfredi (Paperback - 4 May 2007)
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