The Tower by Simon Toyne

The Tower by Simon Toyne

AFTER THE RISE, COMES THE FALL. The forbidden Citadel at the heart of the ancient Turkish city of Ruin opens its gates for the first time in history. Why now, after centuries of secrecy? A deadly disease has erupted within, and threatens to spread beyond its walls. Infected charity worker Gabriel Mann may hold the cure – but can one dying man stop an epidemic? Without him, former journalist Liv Adamsen is vulnerable, surrounded by strangers in the desert oasis that is her new home. Liv, however, has far bigger concerns than just her own life…

In the USA, newly qualified FBI Agent Joe Shepherd investigates the disappearance of NASA’s most senior professor. Is it a vanishing act, an abduction, or something darker? Shepherd’s investigation approaches a powerful conspiracy with global reach, and profound consequences. For them all, this much is clear: something big is coming. Something that will change everything. But will it be a new beginning or the End of Days?

The End of Days has arrived in the form of the final instalment in the Sancti trilogy – The Tower. Only time will tell if this really does mean the end of life as we know it and only Simon Toyne, author of the three books, can tell us how it all unfolds and ultimately ends.

When I first read Sanctus back in April 2011 I was, like so many other readers, completely captivated by the city of Ruin in Turkey. Readers wanted to travel to the city, live there and explore every inch of The Citadel – the only problem is that only one man could ever be a tour guide, Toyne. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when reality set in and I discovered travel agents were unable to reserve any hotels in Ruin and I discovered I couldn’t physically explore The Citadel but life moves on and at least I had the second and third instalment to look forward to. The problem is, now that it has all ended, I still want more!

The Tower has a very different feel to the first two books and is for me a book of two halves. In the first half we spend little time in The Citadel and I have to admit I was slightly disappointed. The book does take a little time to get going, certainly compared to the first two, and although you can see a very good storyline and plot forming it was missing a little something for me. The problem the author faced was an unenviable one. How do you follow two highly successful novels without repetition? It’s hard but repetition or not, I did miss my Citadel fix!

There was a point however that the book clicked for me, I can’t for the life of me remember what point it was but once I reached that veritable sweet spot I couldn’t put the book down. The story moves at a frenetic pace in the last 100 or so pages and the work Toyne puts in building a solid foundation is certainly rewarded at the end. There were a couple of points that confused me and I couldn’t quite workout why one thing happened but the way the author brings in the rookie Shepherd into the mix was very enjoyable, a point which leads me into characterisation nicely.

As with most books there is a change in personnel from one volume to the next and The Tower is no different. The author introduces us to two new FBI agents in Franklin and Shepherd and although there is a distinct lack of trust at the beginning – between both agents – I found it very interesting how the partnership developed as the story unfolded. I really liked Shepherd and although Franklin at times came across as an old cantankerous Feebie I did eventually warm to him too. Some of the old favourites are back of course, Gabriel Mann, Liv Adamsen, Inspector Arkadian and Athanasius, some playing a bigger role in the grand scheme of things than others but there were points in the novel that Toyne had me holding my breath as I became emotionally involved in their plight.

This is where Toyne excels. In the last third of the book I lost count on how many times the atmospheric descriptions got the better of me. I absolutely loved some of these final scenes as the author began to pull everything together, the culmination of many years of hard work and storytelling. Although we do not spend a great amount of time in The Citadel, there were a number of jaw dropping scenes that will stay with me for a long time. It’s hard for me to explain myself for fear of giving too much away but take it from me the final chapters are quite emotional and yet satisfying at the same time.

A little slow to get going The Tower does redeem itself in the second part of the book. Full of atmospheric scenes, an imaginative narrative and a well thought out and gripping plot with some of the best characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading, this is one trilogy I am so glad I didn’t miss. A fitting and realistic conclusion puts the Sancti to bed and brings about The End of Days.

The Tower is available in Hardback and Kindle formats.

Also available (and highly recommended) is Sanctus and The Key.

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (11 April 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0007391633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007391639
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