Tad Williams:To Green Angel Tower

This book is unusual in being released in two volumes in paperback, and only one volume in hardcover. Perhaps Tad Williams was reluctant to turn this into a tetralogy. Perhaps Daw books wanted to squeeze out the price of two volumes from readers who have been waiting years for the conclusion of the trilogy. Or perhaps, as it says in the book itself, they decided to publish two paperbacks rather than one small-print poorly-bound no-margin brick. (Though Penguin Classics could probably have shown them a thing or two...) So, the question is, is it worth it?

The first volume moves fairly well. It brings Princess Miriamele and the monk Cadrach together with Isgrimnur, the amnesiac hero Camaris, and the Wrannaman Tiamak, and gets them eventually to the Stone of Farewell. It also depicts Prince Josua's defense of the Stone from Elias's attacking forces, with the newly-knighted Simon Snowlock aiding in the defense. It's almost more of a continuation of Stone of Farewell, and is still a middle book-- the victories won are not final, and things are building up more than racing downhill towards the climax. There is even a section which is almost padding- -a gripping incident involving Miriamele et al. and evil Wran creatures called ghants, which is tangential to the main plot, serving mostly to add incident to their voyage through the swamps.

The second volume is the true climax. Simon and Miriamele are heading off to the Hayholt, she with the misguided intention of speaking to King Elias, her father, and bringing him to his senses. For those who have been waiting for Simon & Miriamele's relationship to evolve from where it left off in the first book, this will be eminently satisfying. And Josua's forces decide on a last-ditch assault, after gathering allies in the Nabban.

And for those who came close to throwing The Dragonbone Chair across the room when Simon spent pages and pages wandering through the tunnels under the Hayholt--it's probably a good thing Daw opted for the sturdier binding, because he spends pages and pages doing it again in this volume. Perhaps it's supposed to be indicative of the ancient Sithi city that's reawakening beneath, which has some bearing on the climax, but it still gets tedious.

The climax itself--I won't spoil it too much(we knew the Good Guys would win, didn't we?), but I will say that it comes somewhere between the Tolkien ending and the Care Bears ending--the being that has been far, far, behind the scenes throughout the trilogy, Ineluki, the Storm King, is defeated by the sheer undauntedness of the human spirit. After the amount of buildup there was, the resolution could have been more dramatic.

There is also a convenient prophecy uttered over Josua's newborn children that fairly screams, "Oh, God/boy, sequels!" All I can hope is that Tad Williams writes sequel series more like Dave Duncan than David Eddings, I guess.

%A Williams, Tad
%T To Green Angel Tower
%I Daw
%C New York
%D April/July 1994
%G ISBN 0-88677-598-1(Volume 1)/0-88677-606-6(Volume 2)
%P 796 pp. each volume
%S Memory, Sorrow & Thorn
%V Book 3
%O Paperback, two volumes, each US$5.99, Can$6.99

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The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com