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2.6 out of 5 stars23
2.6 out of 5 stars
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on 24 July 2007
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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on 27 August 2007
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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on 15 May 2007
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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on 24 August 2007
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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on 7 January 2007
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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THE TOWER Valerio Massimo Manfredi 2006 UK 1st edn. Hardcovers

THE TOWER was first published in English in 2006 although it had previously been a best seller in Italy under the title `La Torre Della Solitudine' in 1996 and is one of several novels that use a background of history and archaeology to a story of mystery, murder and the supernatural a genre at which Manfredi excels. I originally purchased the hardcover edition when it was published in 2006 and have just recently re-visited it.

Dr. Valerio Massimo Manfredi, is a very eminent Italian historian and the Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Bocconi and the author of some dozen or so very successful historical novels, several of which have been used as the basis for screenplays, but this novel for some reason does not seem to have reached the popularity in the UK that his other novels achieved.

This is a good old fashioned archaeological mystery thriller with a good measure of mystical intrigue added to the mix. Three very diverse explorers enter the Sahara hoping to find a fabled Tower which legend has as the resting place of an undying malignant being.

By the author's own admission this novel is almost entirely fiction, although the usual highly researched and meticulously accurate historical background gives a sense of reality to the story built upon a 2000 year old rumour.

I was one of the readers that enjoyed the book, it is a cracking good story although it does seem to bog down slightly in places; some of the dialogue however, seems to have lost something in translation from the original Italian but the action was mostly fast paced and exciting. Some of the added revisions updating the story from the 1990s to 2006 are a little crude but never-the-less as with all Dr. Manfredi's novels I found that this was one of those books that is difficult to put down until you have finally discovered all the twists and turns and reached the story conclusion.
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on 7 June 2007
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.

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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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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2008
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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on 22 April 2008
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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