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The Tower of Fools

(Hussite Trilogy #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  8,206 ratings  ·  370 reviews
A brand new trilogy from the author of the legendary WITCHER series, set during the vibrantly depicted Hussite wars.

Reinmar of Bielau, called Reynevan, flees after being caught in an affair with a knight's wife.

With strange, mystical forces gathering in the shadows and pursued not only by the Stercza brothers bent on vengeance, but also by the Holy Inquisition, Reynevan fi
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 27th 2020 by Gollancz (first published 2002)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  8,206 ratings  ·  370 reviews

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May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hussite Trilogy is a perfect choice for readers who are not afraid of terrific history/fantasy combination. I have read it several times, in Polish, and will definitely get the edition in English :)
James Tivendale
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Tower of Fools in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Andrzej Sapkowski and Gollancz. (Review posted on Goodreads 01/10/2020.)

In The Tower of Fools, we are introduced to the twenty-three-year-old nobleman Reinmar of Bielawa, also referred to as Reynevan, whilst he is having sex with another man's wife. Unfortunately, the cuckolded husband's brothers interrupt proceedings and pummel the young rapscallion. Our protagonist somehow manages to esca
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Okay now. This is something huge. But I need to properly put this book (and the prospective trilogy) in context.

If you know the Witcher series you know he writes wonderful and complex characters, enjoys a vast and subtle world-building system, and sneaks you up to immense complications.

This NEW series is entirely historical, revolving around Europe and especially Poland during the 15th Century and it is RICH with history. (When I say it's rich, what I mean is that you can get a Masters in histo
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Not that much fantasy this time from Andrzej Sapkowski but quite a generous portion of solid historical background with regard the Hussite. Enjoyed reading Books 1, 2 and 3 immensely and even toured Silesia, Poland and the Czech Republic to visit most of the places mentioned in the books. A great lesson of history together with smashing storytelling by AS.
Oct 18, 2018 marked it as to-read
Update: Looks like the English translation release date has been moved to October 2020.

During my read of the The Witcher saga, I've had many people tell me (in sadness on my behalf, it seems) that I'll never be able to read Sapkowski's greatest work, The Hussite trilogy, being an English speaker and all. Looks like my wish has come true, and soon enough I'll be able to read it! 2020 isn't that far away.

So many people have told me this is better than his Witcher books. That, I can't wait to see.
I made it to the 30% point of this book before abandoning it. At least up to there it was more of a picaresque historical fiction than it was a fantasy novel, and it was about a time and place that didn’t really interest me. I almost stopped at the first chapter, which was an extremely long, cringe-inducing sex scene. So painful. There was excellent narration of the audiobook by Peter Kenny, however. I am glad that I didn’t have to figure out how to pronounce those names. When I concluded that t ...more
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
The Tower of Fools is a historical fantasy that is set in Silesia around 1425 at the time of the Hussite Wars. It follows a main protagonist who, as in many other fantasy novels, is skirmishing through landscapes on the run and on a mission, hovering around Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany, never being able to stay out of trouble. This novel was first published in Polish in 2002 and has now been translated into English by David French, who also translated Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher serie ...more
Mick Dubois
The book starts out with an extensive report and history on the politics and rulers of the Bohemia/Silesia/Chechz/Polish territories to bring us op-to-date to 1425.
Reynevan or Reinmar of Bielawa may be a brilliant young physician who secretly dabbles a bit in the forbidden arts; he is also a very foolish young man. When he gets caught making out with the married Adele of Strecza by her brothers-in-law he has no choice but fleeing the city. When the youngest brother is killed in a freak accident,
Nov 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
This is definitely a Sapkowski work.

Readers of the Witcher saga will recognize the distinctive prose (and for English readers the translative work of David French so that’s comforting), subtle yet powerful world building, dialogue-driven storyline, and fully realized characters. Despite this being a historical fiction rather than high fantasy, the alternate 15th century Europe contains a multitude of monsters, magicians, and demons to introduce an additional layer of intrigue even for readers u
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
*A big thank you to Gollancz for the physical ARC in exchange for an honest and spoiler-free review.*

The Tower of Fools is the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy by the author of The Witcher novels, Andrzej Sapkowski. It is set in Europe in the 1420's - primarily Silesia, in Poland.

The story follows a young man called Reynevan as he is forced to flee his home after being caught sleeping with the wife of a Knight and angering a powerful family in the region, the Sterczas.
Reynevan is a doc
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much to Orbit Books for the eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own!

Oh Reynevan, part of me thinks that him and his entire lot needed a turn in the asylum. After bedding a knight’s wife and apparently falling madly in love (which she clearly didn’t return), Reynevan sets off on a series of misadventures when he should honestly be fleeing the country.

This is a very historically dense book, with many names and details that bogged the pace down quit
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tower of Fools is the first instalment in a brand new historical fantasy trilogy, which tells the story of Reinmar of Bielawa, also called Reynevan de Bielau. The action takes place in Silesia in 1425, at the time of the Hussite Wars. Twenty-three-year-old nobleman Reinmar of Bielawa, aka Reynevan, both a medicine and magic scholar, has made a huge mistake; one that'll impact his life for the foreseeable future. He has slept with a knights wife, Adèle of Stercza, but as soon as they are doing th ...more
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

Or at least, Witcher fans who enjoy history...

Apparently, Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, famous for his fantasy Witcher series, wrote this new series, The Hussite Trilogy, some years ago, but it’s
only now being translated into English.

The Tower of Fools is the first volume.


The Witcher books, although apparently set in roughly the same (but indefinite) time period, are fantasy novels with no discussion of his
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

After three or four re-reads I finally decided to write a review of this, in my humble opinion, historical/fantasy-lite masterpiece. The story takes place in Bohemia and Silesia in 1425, during the time of the Hussite Wars.

It follows a young medic/academic/herbalist/"magician" Reinmar von Bielau, also called Reynevan. Compared to Sapkowki's more famous main protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, Reinmar is his exact opposite. He's naive, virtous (or at least he tries to be), easily falls in love with eve

Kari Rhiannon (Moon Magister Reviews)
Unfortunately, when you try to translate a 20 year old book, you also translate all the misogyny and homophobia...
Had high hopes for this one but it was disappointing overall.

The novel is well researched, one can find A LOT of references to Medieval Eastern European or in general European history, it is well written, it was funny and absurd in parts, and I adored the amount of puns that could be found in various languages.

However, story-wise it's just random af and seems to be going nowhere. Our protagonist is on the run because he was discovered having sex with his (married) mistress, he encounters numer
Marius Paulsen (Antari-kun)
4.25 stars
Absolutely enjoyed this romp of an adventure! Magic, knights, politics, religion and just utterly cool fights! Highly recommend you check it out! Made me eager to pick up the Witcher-series for sure!
Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

Mankind is capable of many vices. Throughout history, we have been subject to severe punishments, attempting to cleanse the population of these vile beings capable of corrupting good whenever they please. As various factions rose to power, the indoctrination of the populace was within their grasp and anything they willed could become a heresy. Just when the common folk became vulnerable, things couldn’t get any more chaotic as the Church finally
Reynevan is caught with another man's wife. Vengeful brothers are hot on the trail and so the story of the trials of Reynevan begin. Our main character is an absolute fool that everyone tries to help along the way, which he repeatedly ignores following a fools course, thus The Tower of Fools is aptly named. Set somewhere between the Czech Republic and Poland, he finds himself caught up in the war of the Hussites and the Catholics, with neither side trusting his motives.
A lot of this story isn't
Excellent novel - has a picaresque feel as Reynevan stumbles from one misadventure to the next, getting into trouble by trying to do "the right thing" as he sees it... The magic is subtler to start with, though it becomes more explicit towards the end with a hallucinating ride through the air on a bench and witches/wizards night on a mountain; not able to resist the charms of attractive women may still be undoing of the main hero, but by the end of this book he discovers a purpose and joins the ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to give this saga a go, coming from the Witcher's, which I absolutely loved.

I enjoyed this first book, but I didn't love it. I'm giving it 3 stars because, overall, the storyline isn't as great as almost every single one outlined in each book of the Geralt of Rivia's saga. AND, because it has one of the most annoying and idiotic characters that I've came across as the protagonist. The main reason I write this review is to vent about that, honestly.

So, if you're not really into politic
Edy || Hex
I love when books become an adventure. It doesn't have to happen much in said book, but the way it is told, the way how characters act - it just flows for you. This book is much much more mature than The Witcher and I dare to say - better to read. And even if I quite disliked the main character for most of the book - for various reasons I will not list here - it was all just on point. What can I tell, I have such a soft heart for books which somehow touch historical events and lands I love. 5/5. ...more
A trilogy set in 15th century Schliessen (Polish Slask). Massive battles mix with small amounts of old folk magic and an elaborate conspiracy plotline. The author must have done an incredible amount of research to create such a realistic 15th century setting. Fascinating and a treat for history buffs. Hopefully it will appear in English soon.
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was ok
This started out strong for me, and went rapidly downhill. True, I did not know anything about it coming in other than that I love have a love-hate relationship with the Witcher series, so maybe it's my own fault for having the wrong expectations.

The problems:

1) The main character. Reynevan is privileged, entitled, and utterly lacking in common sense. I feel like Sapkowski tries to frame him as naive and sincere, maybe even chivalrous, but looking at his actions he thinks only of himself, putti
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much to Netgalley for a copy of this book.

The description and name of the author had me request The Tower of Fools quickly.

The main character, Reinman, is a doctor, magician, and maybe a charlatan. He gets caught sleeping with a married woman, so he must flee. Cue in everything I love - one big journey, meeting many fascinating characters, politics, history. Action, attacks, running away, meeting more characters. Jokes and good sarcasm. Oh, Reinman loves too easily, young and too
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
This is a real non starter for me, I hit too many wtf’s very early on.

The prologue was all names and dates and historical facts and unpronounceable words and I ended up skipping most of it..

Then the air is described as ‘ozone-rich’. What does that even mean (apart from there being a lot of ozone in the air) and why am I supposed to care? What possible impact does that have on the story?

We then have a woman’s vagina described as an “orchard of pomegranates” and this interesting passage during the
I rarely read fantasy or history; my best friend calls me "picky". Consequently I wouldn't have picked up this book if I didn't have some sympathy towards the author thanks to his Witcher series. The book didn't disappoint, but then again the 15th century would make it hard on anyone to be depicted in a boring way.

Plotwise, the books very repetitive: They get themselves into a mess (most likely due to the monumental stupidity of Reynevan, the main character), they get rescued, they get themselve
Keith Currie
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A penitential cross

The author is well known for his Witcher series and many readers will be attracted to this novel for that reason. Be aware that this historical fantasy is very different. Ye gods, there is a tremendous amount going on here. It is the first of three volumes, known as the Hussite Trilogy, set in the Fifteenth century, and showcases the author’s profound knowledge of the wars of religion in that century. So, we are treated to the proto-reformation of the Hussite Bohemians against
Allen Walker
I want to thank Orbit and Netgalley for the ARC but this just wasn't the book for me, despite being a lover of history.

DNF @ 33%

Reynevan continues to make terrible decisions re: pretty women and by a third of the way through the book, I didn't see where the story was headed.

There are a LOT of Polish and Czech names.of towns and people, some real and some fiction and, while I normally love historical backdrops, this 15th century religious war just was too far in the background and the pace just
Very good alt-history of the Hussite times with magic. The atmosphere is done very well and the main characters are interesting. The ending is at a good point and I am definitely interested in the sequel. Hopefully there will be an English language edition too.
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Tome Time: Read: Chapter 37 2 7 Jul 12, 2020 02:27PM  
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Tome Time: Read: Prologue 3 11 Jun 16, 2020 10:44AM  
Tome Time: Read: Chapter 19 1 4 Jun 15, 2020 02:57PM  

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Andrzej Sapkowski, born June 21, 1948 in Łódź, is a Polish fantasy writer. Sapkowski studied economics, and before turning to writing, he had worked as a senior sales representative for a foreign trade company. His first short story, The Witcher (Wiedźmin), was published in Fantastyka, Poland's leading fantasy literary magazine, in 1986 and was enormously successful both with readers and critics. ...more

Other books in the series

Hussite Trilogy (3 books)
  • Boży bojownicy (Trylogia husycka, #2)
  • Lux perpetua (Trylogia husycka, #3)

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