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on 26 May 2013
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 17 November 2015
The tower, is the mystery, in this great VM Manfredi historical classic.
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on 3 December 2015
rated author
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on 11 June 2015
Loved it.
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on 27 December 2013
Love it love it love it a little gem on a long journey easy read and finished In a day
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on 30 July 2016
Typically great book from this guy. Love his religious history he puts in to some of the novels!
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on 30 November 2016
By far the worst of the prof's books I have read (though Oracle runs it close for its convoluted and unconvincing plot). A tale of ancient races, signals from out of space, mythical creatures, supernatural forces, Arab tribesmen, Foreign Legionaries, Vatican plotters, secret documents, magical instruments, seven tombs, wounds that don't heal - and more! Quite what was actually going on is somewhat obscure - there is no real explanation at the end. At times I wondered if it was worth pressing on - it was too far-fetched to be page-turner unlike his more historical novels which - even when rather unrealistic - are at least full of enough action to keep you interested. Can't complain too much - only paid 25p for it in a library sale! Try his Alexander trilogy or his Last Legion for a rather better idea of what Prof Manfredi can do.
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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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VINE VOICEon 27 June 2007
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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