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The Tower at Stony Wood by Patricia McKillip

Review by Alleandra

From the jacket text:

"During the wedding festivities of the king, Cyan Dag, a knight of Gloinmere, is sought out by a mysterious bard and told a terrifying tale: that the king has married a flase queen - a lie cloaked in ancient and powerful sorcery. Spurred on by his steadfast honor and loyalty, Cyan departs on a dangerous quest to rescue the real queen from her tower prison, to prevent war, and to awaken magic in a land that has lost its way..."

Patrica McKillip weaves her magic once again in this entralling story. Once more, her plotting is kept fairly simple, what capitvates the reader the most are the characters and her lyrical storytelling style. I started reading the book when in Galway, and the rural beauty of that countryside fit the mood of the book perfectly.

There are several interconnected storylines: first we have Cyan Dag, a knight of an old, but poor family. His king is getting married, and he receives some news from the bard that comes to court with the bride...this starts off his story. Is the bard correct? Or was she lying? And how is Cyan to accomplish his task?

Then there is Melanthos and her mother. They are capitvated by what they see in an old tower in their town. Is what they see real or false?

The third group consists of Thayne of Ysse, his father and brother. Thayne is also sent on a strange journey. Again, the reality of the quest is in question.

Lastly, there is the lovely Gwynne.

McKillip introduces us to all of her people and sets about intertwining their stories. Finding out the connection for these wonderful characters is pure reading bliss.

McKillip's characters are gentle and fiesty both. They are courageous and flawed, and they catch at the reader.

Perhaps Tower is not as exciting as Song for a Basilisk, but it is enchanting and lovely to read. It has a nice romantic flavor, as most of her work does, and it completely capivated me. She is a wonderful storyteller...for McKillip fans, this book is a must. For those new to McKillip, almost any of her books is a good starting point, this one included. 4.75 amulets out of 5. I am a stingy grader, btw. *g*


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