Fortress in the Eye of Time

C. J. Cherryh, Author
C. J. Cherryh, Author HarperPrism $22 (568p) ISBN 978-0-06-109295-4
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Mass Market Paperbound - 784 pages - 978-0-06-105689-5
Hardcover - 978-0-06-105195-1
Ebook - 784 pages - 978-0-06-115668-7
Ebook - 784 pages - 978-0-06-076292-6
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 784 pages - 978-0-06-076290-2
Open Ebook - 784 pages - 978-0-06-076293-3
Ebook - 784 pages - 978-0-06-174393-1
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Despite a few brief, shining moments, Cherryh's (Foreigner) new fantasy novel (her latest SF novel is reviewed below) proves an overwrought concoction. After a moderately interesting foray involving Mauryl, the aging wizard who conjures a ``Shaping'' named Tristen, the meandering of the nearly empty-headed Shaping takes center stage for far too long. Tristen sets off upon a quest knowing neither who he is nor what he seeks. Fortuitous happenings eventually bring him to Cefwyn, a prince in line to rule the land, and to Cefwyn's wizard, Emuin, himself a former student of Mauryl's. (The villains here are of two types: nebulously motivated men and erotically minded women.) A series of escapades involving prosaically presented political machinations leads to an inevitable final battle--and to the likelihood of a sequel. Several plot threads, such as Tristen's similarity to a golem and an invocation of the ``Thirty-Eight,'' indicate that Cherryh is leaning on texts of Jewish mysticism here, but it's unlikely that even the most diligent of kabbalists would have the patience to wade through this substandard work. (May)
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