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Publisher's Summary

"A fantastic novel that any fan of The Witcher will instantly appreciate." (The Gamer)

Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher series has become a fantasy phenomenon, finding millions of fans worldwide and inspiring the hit Netflix show and video games. Now the best-selling author introduces listeners to a new hero on an epic journey in The Tower of Fools, the first book of the Hussite Trilogy.

Reinmar of Bielawa, sometimes known as Reynevan, is a healer, a magician, and according to some, a charlatan. When a thoughtless indiscretion forces him to flee his home, he finds himself pursued not only by brothers bent on vengeance but by the Holy Inquisition.

In a time when tensions between Hussite and Catholic countries are threatening to turn into war and mystical forces are gathering in the shadows, Reynevan's journey will lead him to the Narrenturm — the Tower of Fools.

The Tower is an asylum for the mad...or for those who dare to think differently and challenge the prevailing order. And escaping it, avoiding the conflict around him, and keeping his own sanity will prove more difficult than he ever imagined

"A ripping yarn delivered with world-weary wit, bursting at the seams with sex, death, magic and madness." (Joe Abercrombie)

"This is historical fantasy done right." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"A highly enjoyable historical fantasy." (Booklist)

The Tower of Fools is an historical novel set during the Hussite Wars in Bohemia during the 1400s, a period of religious conflict and persecution. Characters in the novel may express views that some listeners might find offensive.

Also by Andrzej Sapkowski:

Witcher collections

The Last Wish

Sword of Destiny

Witcher novels

Blood of Elves

The Time of Contempt

Baptism of Fire

The Tower of Swallows

Lady of the Lake

Season of Storms

The Malady and Other Stories: An Andrzej Sapkowski Sampler (e-only)

Translated by David French

©2020 Andrzej Sapkowski (P)2020 Orbit

Critic Reviews

"Sapkowski's energetic and satirical prose as well as the unconventional setting makes this a highly enjoyable historical fantasy. Recommended for Sapkowksi's many existing fans." (Booklist)

"Sapkowski's love for the period is clear as he touches on notorious historical events and figures.... The carefully painted landscapes and intricate politics effortlessly draw readers into Reinmar's life and times. This is historical fantasy done right." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

What listeners say about The Tower of Fools

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  • Overall
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Just half way through...

I rarely write reviews much less half way through a audiobook but "The Tower of Fools" earned it.

Without a doubt I will listening to this book over and over again. Sapkowski is known as a great writer but this book is as if he distilled Abercrombie, Lynch, and Cornwell drinking them undiluted to make his already fantastic writing even better. Storyline, characters, and description are perfect. I like witty gritty historical fantasy with just a dose of magic and this book has everything I like in abundance.

Peter Kenny delivers an epic performance that makes "Tower of Fools" live and breath in your minds eye.

"Tower of Fools" is the first in the "Hussite" series. Please for the love of all that is good in this world keep Peter Kenny as the narrator. The two were made for each other.

37 people found this helpful

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Don’t waste your credit

The narrator was the only positive of this work; the story was rambling and by chapter 15, I still don’t know what the book is about (nor am I Interested enough to continue and find out).

8 people found this helpful

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Too much dialog

This is really just (very detailed) historical fiction with a few random, not well thought out, fantasy elements thrown in. And similar to the Witcher books, there is just way too much dialog. Sapkowski is a good example of an author who doesn't show the reader's the story, he just tells them what's happening. It's hard to get interested.

I did enjoy the main characters Reinmar, Scharley, and Samson though and liked some of their side stories. But overall a boring book and I won't be reading the rest.

5 people found this helpful

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Pompous.

Peter Kenny puts in a stellar attempt at narrating an author who should not have attempted to capitalize on the media exposure of his Witcher series.

Sapkowski begins his new trilogy with a pompous monologue that is more effective at conveying the author's concern with appearing to be refined than it is at providing any information about the characters it purports to introduce. This monologue is followed immediately by descriptive sex scenes that better befit raunchy paperbacks than serious historical fiction.

Pompous monologues and graphic sex have their place in decent fiction, but typically these only hit the mark when the characters involved have first been introduced in a more meaningful context. Such character development is notably absent early in this work.

3 people found this helpful

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The main character is a fool

The main problem with this book is the main character. The entirety of the novel consists of Reynevan doing something very stupid and/or devoid of common sense, getting rescued by chance or the hard work of his friends, lather, rinse, repeat.

It gets really tiring, really fast.

3 people found this helpful

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Struggled with the story line

Having fallen in love with The Witcher series I looked forward to reading the Tower of Fools. I definitely had multiple issues sticking with the complex historical background and large varied characters. The singing was off putting but I just ignored it not really understanding the meaning of the song. Basically could not wait to finish it because I grew tired of my lack of understanding.

3 people found this helpful

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Its not the Witcher, but there is something here

The book starts off slow but the build to the ending is very good. Don't come in expecting a Witcher novel it's something unique and fresh and I cannot wait to see where this goes.

2 people found this helpful

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Wild journey of Reynevan

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 translated, and I'm not very familiar with that part of European history, so much was hard to follow.
I had fun with the first half of the book, but Reynevan was a character that I soon grew tired of, because of his constant stupidity. A couple of his supporting characters saved the day, as far as keeping my interest in the story with humor and common sense. I think if I could have read the original version and have known something of the historical characters and time period, I would have enjoyed this book more. Peter Kenny was spot on brilliant with his narration, as usual.

2 people found this helpful

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Good Enough I'll Continue the Trilogy

Andrzej Sapkowski's The Tower of Fools won't necessarily appeal to fans of his far more popular The Witcher series. While elements of his distinctive writing style carry over to this first book of the Hussite Trilogy, the story itself is a major departure from what readers might expect.
The Tower of Fools is more akin to Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver (the first book of The Baroque Cycle) or Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, in that it's a dense fantasy tale firmly embedded within true European historical context. Whereas The Baroque Cycle transpired in a fictionalized version of the late 1600s to early 1700s, and Clarke's novel took place in the 1800s, Sapkowski's trilogy inserts itself into Eastern Europe of the 1400s.
We are introduced to Reinmar of Bielawa, an unlikely and peculiar hero, as unwanted adventure is thrust upon him by virtue of Reinmar caught in the process of a different sort of thrusting--with the wife of a member of a wealthy and powerful family. On the run from vengeful aristocrats (and those working on their behalf), the inquisition (for being a magician and heretic), and sinister forces with unknown motives, Reinmar finds himself on a meandering scramble across the Eastern Europe of the late Middle Ages.
Populated by an almost intimidating cast of additional characters, while not as bad as Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow--a book I've never been able to finish--it becomes challenging at times to keep track of precisely who is who. Strange acquaintances along the way become friends, friends become enemies, and enemies become victims of the peculiar sort of charmed life Reinmar seems to live. With the familiar wit and subtle comedic writing Sapkowski brings to the narrative, we witness an extreme example of fortune favoring the fool. As Reinmar stumbles from one bit of trouble to another, dragging unfortunate allies with him as he careens from frying pan to fire and back again.
Densely packed with historical events and figures of the Hussite Revolutionary period, The Tower of Fools is as much a history lesson as a tale of fantasy. Though Sapkowski's novel incorporates elements of magic, witches/sorcerers, and supernatural beings aplenty, the narrative is so deeply fixed in a foundation of historical veracity that it all feels more textured and real than it might otherwise. Of course, those familiar with The Witcher are well aware that the author is capable of fleshing out a fictional world without the benefit of drawing the fine details from real-world history. It's a nice touch, though, being able to explore a historical period many of us aren't familiar with.
The titular Tower of Fools--though referenced at numerous points throughout the story--makes an appearance in Chapter 26, at almost the end of the book. It could be argued that the wider world we witness in the book is the real Narrenturm, and the whole of Eastern Europe and the Holy Roman Empire makes up the real Tower of Fools.
Though the story is not one that I can praise in more than peculiarly specific ways, the narration provided by Petter Kenny is spectacular. This narrator is impressive, to put it mildly. He successfully tackles various accents, dozens of characters, as well as songs and chants performed in Latin and other languages, all with a clarity and quality that almost astounded me.

1 person found this helpful

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What a great book!

I have over 300 audio books and this is one of my favorite listens. If you like European history with a twist, you will enjoy this.

1 person found this helpful