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To Green Angel Tower Part one: Seige is the third novel in the memory, sorrow and thorn tetralogy. Though in truth the final book to green angel tower was split into making the series a tetraology rather than a trilogy. The series was written by American author Tad Williams and continues the stories of Simon, Josua, Miriamele and the evil king Elias.
This book is the third in the series and continues immediately after the events of the second novel The Stone of Farewell. In that novel, forces under Josua have coalesced at the Stone of Farewell; they have set up a resistance against Josua's evil older brother Elias. Simon the main character in the novel has met up with Josua after staying with the mysterious first people, the Sithi. Simon was a scullion in the first book in the series, who through forced exile has led to a period of discovery as a person who can perceive the thoughts and beliefs of the first people. Simon has overthrown an ice worm, wealded one of the first swords and has become a trusted ally of the dangerous mountain trolls. Simon's closest friend is a troll called Binabik who is guiding Simon through the mysterious worlds of magic, scepticism and philosophy.
The novel begins with Simon returning to the Stone and finds Josua re-building his forces after the disaster of the destruction of his castle at the end of the first novel. Josua appears to be recovering from the terrible events and has started to bring others dissatisfied with the rule of his older brother to his banner. Josua is the dapper counter point to Simons more bombastic approach to life under the rule of Elias, he still things his brother can be saved but has become more focused in the need to prise Elias from the clutches of the evil Storm King.
The first two novels can be viewed as a set of inter-linked but disparate stories telling the story of the breakdown of Elias' rule, his obsession with the evil Sithi Storm King and the development of Simon from scullion into knight. By the end of the two novels we have the characters set and now we are ready for major events to occur and the story to move forward. This is the third novel in a tetraology and as such it has a feel of being explaining some fine points but allowing itself to have a bit more action than the Stone of Farewell. So in this novel, we have plenty of fights, less mysticism and confusion and more this is what we are going to do and here's what happened.
It still has moments of brilliance; there is an extended battle between Josua's forces and those sent by Elias. The battle waxes and waves with plenty of gory depiction of fighting but sprinkled with intrigue, magic and surprises. Tad Williams is a very clever writer because he never lets the reader get a complete picture, we get views from different angles and there is always a sense of events occurring just out of eye line. This style of writing is incredibly hard to bring off without leaving the reader confused and annoyed but Williams fills his narrative with such energy, brilliance and dynamism that this added sense of confusion or misdirection ads to the fun of reading the novels.
The book has a sense of speed running through it, the rather staid and plodding nature of the second novel are dispelled here. Everyone is moving around, there are dynamic battles, surprising events and interesting characters popping up all the time. There is however a sense of events coming to a conclusion with previous separate stories starting to come together. This coalescing of events and characters means that by the end of the novel we have only three narrative lines, they are all important and now characters previously separated are now together.
The end of the book is one which is one of the best I've ever read, the last 100 pages all lead up to a major event and a moment of division. Come the end we know the event has happened but not what it was and how it will change the events in the final book. Very clever writing and one is a delightful twist to the normal end of a novel.
Overall, this is the best novel so far in the series and sets up for the final book in the series. Looking very forward very much to finding out how the series ends.