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The Silent Tower (Windrose Chronicles #1)

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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  2,291 ratings  ·  86 reviews
In her latest novel, The Silent Tower, Barbara Hambly has written a complex tale of dark magic, mystery and deadly danger involving a woman computer programmer who struggles to help a condemned wizard save--or perhaps destroy?--two worlds...
Mass Market Paperback, 369 pages
Published November 12th 1986 by Del Rey
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Elizabeth Mccoy
Okay, it sounds a little corny, but this book and its sequel... were some of the reasons why I actually thought that relationships could be good. My sire was emotionally abusive to my mom (and sometimes physically so), and the odds of having a good relationship after seeing about 18 years of that... Yeah, well.

I'm not going to say that I didn't wind up having some counseling on the topic, but the initial duology (Silent Tower/Silicon Mage) is one of the things that counteracted all that, and sai
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Jamie
After a dubious beginning this ended up being a good read, mostly because the characters are attractive. I was skeptical about a story where a 1980’s vintage computer programmer is transported to a magical world where she uses her programming skills to fight an evil wizard. I’m still not really buying the concept behind the evil plot to (view spoiler), but I enjoyed the characters enough to go along with it.

Caris the warrior didn’t impress me ver
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Kim
I really wanted to like this book more. The concept was intriguing and the characters were interesting. But the book has a whole was just too slow. I struggled to get through it as chapter after chapter nothing really happened. There was a lot of repetition which is something I hate and I almost dropped the book without bothering to finish it.

After around halfway though the book started improving and finally started moving forward. But it was too little, too late. By the time the good bits rolle
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Sandra
3.75 stars. A lot of fun. Nice to have Joanna's irreverent voice in the midst of mage mumbo jumbo at times. Just enough. A light touch with an improbable romance. Enjoyable romp through the merging of two worlds - the fantasy world of the eccentric mage Antryg Windrose and the early computer age in the days of massive IBM computers of Joanna, meek and mild computer programmer.
Jamie
Barbara Hambly has published works in almost every genre of fiction---and the Windrose Chronicles is one of her best series. In fact, I have been waiting for this series since I first started listening to audiobooks years ago.

Originally written in 1986, the series fetures Antryg Windrose, a renegade wizard who has been held prisoner by the Council of Mages and the Church in Ferryth. Antryg is locked in the Silent Tower where he cannot use any of his magic powers---and he is insane. One of his po
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Ron
I liked it. The Silent Tower is a fast-paced, fun read but it is flawed beyond the anachronisms you'd expect of an almost-thirty year old story written about computers. In fact, those are minor and treated in manner suggesting that Hambly foresaw that the technology of her day would soon be so antiquated as to seen quaint.

In fact, her reference to "extinct Canada Geese" was an even larger--and funnier--mistake. Until open season is declared on those rats with wings, Canada Geese will continue to
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Amy Raby
While I have no idea how this book would stand up if I read it today, this was my absolute favorite book (along with its sequel "The Silicon Mage") when I read it as a 16-year-old back in the 80's. It influenced me tremendously as a writer.

The characters are just fabulous, especially Antryg Windrose, who still stands out in my mind as one of the most fully realized and three-dimensional romantic heroes ever written. (This book wasn't marketed as a romance, but it has a strong romantic subplot, a
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Suzie Quint
Sep 08, 2012 Suzie Quint rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: romance readers who'd like to branch out
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Antryg Windrose has got to be one of the most unlikely heroes in fiction ever. A brilliant mage, he is also probably insane, a fact he acknowledges without undue distress. He is also not what one thinks of as a romantic hero. He's tall but gangly, and near-sighted, but if I were going to choose a fictional hero to bring to life, he would definitely be short-listed. I've love The Silent Tower and its sequel The Silicon Mage through many years and many readings. Barbara Hambly is the most stable a ...more
Mary Lauer
This is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. I love everything Barbara Hambly has ever written, but these series is my favorite of hers. It's just as good on a re-read more than twenty years later ...
Snarktastic Sonja
Upon finishing this book, I was angry. I did enjoy the novel, and I really liked the characters and enjoyed spending time with them. I appreciated, understood and empathized with Joanna and her fears and her purse. But, the writing wasn't great to me - my mind wandered a lot while I read - and I didn't find it difficult at all to step away from the world. So, while I enjoyed the novel, and would have rated it a solid 3 stars, I was not completely sure I wanted to read the next in the series as I ...more
Karen
This was my second read of this book. The first read was 20 years ago, and I was curious to see how well time had treated it, and if I loved it as much as I did the first time around. The computer angle was a bit dated of course, but I read it as a book of its time, and not as a "hot off the press" 2012 read. That's the way the computer world was then. I remember a computer we had that did not even have a hard drive. All system info was stored on floppy disks and a megabyte of data was a big dea ...more
Katie Bee
Somebody mentioned to me that Antryg/Joanna is a lot like a better version of Gil/Ingold from the Darwath Trilogy. I can see that. I like Antryg/Joanna much more than I like Gil/Ingold (although given that I like Gil/Ingold 0%, it'd be hard not to like Antryg/Joanna better, haha). Partly because the age-gap isn't as big - Antryg is only 40 and Joanna late 20's, instead of 24 & upper 60's. Partly because the romance is threaded throughout the book and grows naturally, instead of leaping unfor ...more
Adriaan Brae
This is one of the best books ever written in the 'transported to a land of fantasy and magic' genre. The Time of the Dark series is also very good, but I feel Hambly better captured Joanna’s feeling of being utterly adrift form her own time and space, and her competence shining through in the right situations, in ways that the earlier series glossed over.

One of the things I also appreciate about this series is the lack of sharply defined gender roles. Gender is essentially irrelevant in the mai
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Kathryn Young
No one else has even begun to think about and build on the great premise of the this fantasy series -- the interaction between magic and computer technology and why a a powerful mage might still need a great coder, circa 1987. Plus, Joanna has the types of things in her purse that if I were stranded on the wrong side of the void in a 18th century magic-banning society, I'd hope I'd bring with me. Excellent fantasy, great world building, and strong relationships.
Tara
My second of Hambly's books, I wasn't as in like with this one as Bride of the Rat God. Actually... I think no comparison can be drawn between the two and so I will completely separate them now.

I rather enjoyed Antryg, the slightly mad forever-a-prisoner wizard and Hambly did a wonderful job of helping me sympathize with this supposed bad guy, without ever really going overboard. The other lead, Joanna, was a little harder-going for me, but by the end I had come to be able to identify with her m
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Pernilla
I've tried reading other books by Barbara Hambly, but none have ever made the same impression on me as the books about Antryg Windrose and Joanna Sheraton. I first borrowed book 1 from an acquaintance years ago, and could hardly eat or sleep, and when I had finished it and didn't have immediate access to book 2 I thought I would perish. The worldbuilding isn't spectacular, it's pretty run-of-the-mill; but the plot and especially the characters stand out. Antryg and Joanna both really resonate wi ...more
Sara Diane
Well, the story was good, but the writing had some annoying facets. Like her over-abundent use adverbs. Drove me up the wall. And the phrase, "he knew not what" that appeared several times. It is bad writing to begin with, but to use it over and over-yuck. I won't be looking for the next book in the series (despite the fact she totally left me hanging) because it wasn't a good enough story to make bad writing worth it!
Altivo Overo
Feb 08, 2015 Altivo Overo rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: urban fantasy fans
Shelves: fantasy
This odd mixture of two seemingly contradictory worlds, the magic of wizards and dimensions and the technology of the computer, makes a good suspense story but I found the conclusion rather unsatisfying. Granted, there are two more novels in the series, and they may improve on the state in which things are left here.

Barbara Hambly ultimately presents us with a difficult conundrum here: if a person of evil intent could use magic to completely take over the body of another person well known to you
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Kate
I really enjoyed this re-read of the Silent Tower. Antryg is one of those marvellous flawed characters that you can't help but fall for and I have the hugest crush on him after finishing this series.
Ryan
A young woman from 1980s or 1990s Southern California (there were no cell phones or personal computers, but mainframes) is taken across the Void to a world where wizards and magic exist. She ends up as the traveling companion of a young soldier, Caris, and a middle-aged, mad wizard, Antryg, whose allegiance is not clear. Together they try to figure out what is draining the magic and joy from the land. The story line is similar to that of Hambly's Darwath series (without the creepy alien things t ...more
A.M.
This novel and its sequel were my first introduction to Barbara Hambly's writing (back when I was a college student living near a large second-hand bookstore and learning how to program in something much more recent than Fortran!) and every so often I come back for a re-read.

The story's not as dated as you would expect from the blurb - partly because it focuses more on the general ideas about programming, selfhood, logic, insane wizards, and saving the world, rather than depending on specific te
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William Leight
"The Silent Tower" is basically a reboot of Hambly's previous Darwath fantasy series that began with "The Time of the Dark". Once again our heroine is an intelligent, unsociable misfit from the LA area: this time she's a programmer rather than a grad student, and stuck in a relationship with a man she doesn't particularly like rather than defiantly alone, but the similarities outweigh the differences. Once again, she is carried across the Void by a wizard to a world where magic exists, though wi ...more
Maggie
This was is the opening book of the Windrose Chronicles so there is a lot of exposition to get you into the multiverse setting of the book. It took me about half way through the book to get caught up by the characters, Antryg, Joanna and Caris. When I finally connected with the concepts and the characters and began to care what would happen to them, I began to really like the book, although occasionally I wanted to smack Joanna who doesn't recognize a user when she meets one and it smacks her in ...more
Donna Weaver
WHAT IT'S ABOUT
A wizard and a computer programmer from opposite sides of an interdimensional portal must work together to save their worlds from destruction

In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about seeing a murderer disappear into a black, inky portal. The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose—a hal
...more
Arminion
I really don't know what to say about this book. At first I was captivated - by the story, characters, world, ideas, magic and the writing. But somewhere in the middle of the book I became bored by all of this, so I really started to drag with the reading.
At first I thought that the idea of a human programmer coming from our world to a magical medieval alien world and viceversa, interesting, but as I said... the story starts to drag and becomes more confusing by every page. We have so many thing
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Sineala
The Windrose Chronicles -- specifically, the first two books -- are some of my favorite comfort reads ever, and Antryg Windrose is one of my favorite fictional characters ever. (Joanna Sheraton is also up there, as far as awesome, competent, nerdy heroines go.) I like to reread them every year or so, and you know a book's good when I do that, right? Fair warning to anyone picking the series up: the first two are a very tightly-linked duology, and the ending of The Silent Tower is an extremely ev ...more
Jade Lauron
The first time I read this I gave it four stars? Really? Was I drunk? I mean, it's an okay story, but even I'll admit that this "silicon mage" business is a bit, uh, campy. And once you get to know me, it says something that I'll willingly say that. Many authors have tried to pull of the mixture of computer geekery and magic, sadly, most of them fall short, and some of them land in truly epic fail territory.

Barbara Hambly is no garden variety author, so she at least puts a credible face onto thi
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Lindsay Stares
The Silent Tower
Barbara Hambly, 1988
New E-Edition 2011

New Ebook Edition. Copy provided by NetGalley.

Premise: In the world of Ferryth, mages are forbidden to interfere with people's lives, but factions in the government and the Church are still looking for a reason to move against them. They might get it when a minor mage is murdered by someone manipulating the dangerous Void, releasing abominations into the land. Caris, bodyguard and nephew to the Archmage, is traveling with him to try and solve
...more
Lara
So, I have mixed feelings about this book. I started with high expectations, then found it hard to get into. It took far longer for Joanna to get to the alternate world than I expected, and in the meantime I didn't really feel that I cared that much about her. There were hints that I would like her, but I didn't have a good enough feel for her to really care. And the darkness of the story in both worlds was grim and uninviting.

Caris would have been interesting as a character if he weren't so pa
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Marniy
I have a very old Sci-fi book club compendium of the "Silent Tower" and the "Silicon Mage".
Barbara Hambly is one of the authors I know I can pick up her books and enjoy them every time.

Way before there was steam punk, this book was set during a fantasy world's painful transition between magic of the old ways and the modern technology of the industrial revolution.

A woman from 1980's LA is sucked into the politics and intrigue of the magical world with the help of a lunatic, renegade mage. They ha
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  • The Quest for Saint Camber (The Histories of King Kelson, #3)
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10333
aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.


"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
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More about Barbara Hambly...

Other Books in the Series

Windrose Chronicles (4 books)
  • The Silicon Mage (Windrose Chronicles, #2)
  • Dog Wizard (Windrose Chronicles, #3)
  • Stranger at the Wedding (Windrose Chronicles #4)
Children of the Jedi (Star Wars) Dragonsbane (Winterlands #1) The Time of the Dark (Darwath, #1) Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher, #1) The Armies of Daylight (Darwath, #3)

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“Of course I’m frivolous,” [Antryg] replied mildly. “You yourself must know how boring gravity is to oneself and everyone else.” 4 likes
“To the pure, all things are pure,” Antryg remarked, in Magister Magus’ best soothsayer voice, “and to the unimaginative, all things are devilish.” 3 likes
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