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The Tower of Fools

(Hussite Trilogy #1)

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4.08  ·  Rating details ·  7,411 ratings  ·  263 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of the legendary Witcher series--the books that inspired the Netflix show and the hit video games--comes the first in an epic new trilogy.

Reinmar of Bielawa, sometimes known as Reynevan, is a doctor, a magician and, according to some, a charlatan. And when a thoughtless indiscretion finds him caught in the crosshairs of powerful n
...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published October 27th 2020 by Orbit (first published 2002)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Beata
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
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
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Beata
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.
Bradley
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
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Celise
Oct 18, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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.
Faith
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
Mick Dubois
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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,
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Athena (OneReadingNurse)
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
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Lou
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sambora
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*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
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Ondrew
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

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Liviu
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
Grima
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
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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
Moominboy
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.
Kari Rhiannon (Moon Magister Reviews)
Unfortunately, when you try to translate a 20 year old book, you also translate all the misogyny and homophobia...
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
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Night
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 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
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Konstanze
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
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Liviu
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.
Keith Currie
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
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Andreas
Review scheduled at publication date 27.10.
Vivienne
My thanks to Orion Publishing Group Gollancz for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Tower of Fools’ by Andrzej Sapkowski in exchange for an honest review. It is the first in his ‘Hussite Trilogy’ and was originally published in Poland in 2002.

After the success of his Witcher series, this earlier work is now being published in an English translation by David French, who previously translated the Witcher books.

It is listed as a historical fantasy though it isn’t high fantasy; rather it is historical f
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Mike
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sapkowski, who of course is best known for the *Witcher* books, has in fact written other things. This first came out in 2002, but wasn’t translated into English until now - the English translation comes out at the end of the month, courtesy of the same translator who did most of the *Witcher* books. Thanks to Orbit for this kinda-advanced review copy.

This book kicks off the Sapkowski’s *Hussite Trilogy*, and it’s got a lot about it that interests me. It is a historical fantasy, set in 14th Cent
...more
Claire Mac
Apr 13, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Just found out an English edition is coming in October :)
Lauren Stoolfire
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Tower of Fools (Hussite Trilogy #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski is an historical fantasy novel that was original published back in 2002 and has just now been translated into English by David French. I've read some of the Witcher books and stories as well as the Netflix adaptation which I've enjoyed so I had high hopes for this new to me series opener. There's quite a bit to like here, but it never quite worked for me. I liked the com
...more
Adeel
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
"O, young fool!' said the priest a moment later. "You ought to be Locked away at once in the Narrenturm, the Tower of Fools! You would fit in perfectly with its residents."

The first word that comes to mind when I think of how to describe The Tower of Fools is "different". You would be mistaken if you think you're going to expect similarities to Andrzej Sapkowski's highly acclaimed Witcher series. This is most definitely not a Witcher book. Compared to that series, there is only a smidgen of Fant
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Cornelia
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sapkowski is great in describing the huge world and its issues in the small world of Silesia and its neighbours during the time of the Hussite Wars. He shows the bigotry of bishops, inquisition and nobles, the functionality of late medieval/early modern age society very well and last not least the development of Reinmar from Bielau, a young physician and alchimist. He adds some magic which has its sources in well-documented protocols of witch and other inquisitionary trials.
Online Eccentric Librarian
Oct 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, fantasy
More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

This 'new' novel by Andrzej Sapkowski (originally published in 2002, but only translated now to English) is an historical fiction novel set around 1450 in the area between Poland and the Czech republic at the time of the Hussite Wars (which also sets the scene for the whole book). The main premise is the schism between the reformers, protestant Hussites and the Holy Roman Papacy. Knowing a bit of European history give
...more
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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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“A ja myślę, że całe zło tego świata bierze się z myślenia. Zwłaszcza w wykonaniu ludzi całkiem ku temu nie mających predyspozycji. ” 59 likes
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