Fortress in the Eye of Time (Fortress Series #1)

Fortress in the Eye of Time (Fortress Series #1)

by C. J. Cherryh

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Deep in an abandoned, shattered castle, an old man of the Old Magic muttered almost forgotten words. His purpose -- to create out of the insubstance of the air, from a shimmering of light and a fluttering of shadows. that most wonderous of spells, a Shaping. A Shaping in the form of a, young man who will be sent east on the road the old was to old to travel. To right the wrongs of a long-forgotten wizard war, and call new wars into being. Here is the long-awaited major new novel from one of the brightest stars in the fantasy and science fiction firmament.C.J.Cherryh's haunting story of the wizard Mauryl, kingmaker for a thousand years of Men, and Tristen, fated to sow distrust between a prince and his father being. A tale as deep as legend and a intimate as love, it tells of a battle beyond Time, in which all Destiny turns on the wheel of an old man's ambition, a young man's innocence, and the unkept promised of a king to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061743931
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: C. J. Cherryh's Fortress Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 784
Sales rank: 119,531
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

C. J. Cherryh—three-time winner of the coveted Hugo Award—is one of today's best-selling and most critically acclaimed writers of science fiction and fantasy. The author of more than fifty novels, she makes her home in Spokane, Washington.

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Chapter One

Its name had been Galasien once, a city of broad streets and thriving markets, of docks crowded with bright-sailed river craft. The shrines of its gods and heroes, their altars asmoke with incense offerings, had watched over commerce and statecraft, lords and ladies, workmen and peasant farmers alike, in long and pleasant prosperity.

Its name under the Sihhë: lords had been Ynefel. For nine centuries four towers reigned here under that name as the forest crept closer. The one-time citadel of the Galasieni in those years stood no longer as the heart of a city, but as a ruin-girt keep, stronghold of the foreign Sihhë: kings, under whom the river Lenúalim's shores had known a rule of unprecedented and far-reaching power, a darker reign from its beginning, and darker still in its calamity.

Now forest thrust up the stones of old streets. Whin and blackberry choked the standing walls of the old Galasieni ruins, blackberry that fed the birds that haunted the high towers. Old forest, dark forest, of oaks long grown and sapped by mistletoe and vines, ringed the last standing towers of Ynefel on every side but riverward.

Through that forest now came only the memory of a road, which crossed a broken-down, often-patched ghost of a bridge. The Lenúalim', which ran murkily about the mossy, eroded stonework of the one-time wharves, carried only flotsam from its occasional floods. Kingdoms of a third and younger age thrived on the northern and southern reaches of the Lemialim, but rarely did the men of those young lands find cause to venture into this haunted place. South of those lands lay the sea, while northward at the source of the Lentialim,lay the oldest lands of all, lands of legendary origin for the vanished Galasieni as well as for the Sihhë: the Shadow Hills, the brooding peaks of the Hafsandyr, the lands of the legendary Arachim and the wide wastes where ice never gave up its hold.

Such places still existed, perhaps. But no black-sailed ships from the north came in this third age, and the docks of Ynefel had long since gone to tumbled stone, stones slick with moss, buried in mud, overgrown with trees, indistinguishable at last from the forest.

Call it Galasien, or Ynefel, it had become a shadow-place from a shadow-age, its crumbling, weathered towers poised on the rock that had once been the base of a great citadel. The seat of power for two ages of wizardry had become, in the present reign of men, a place of curious, disturbing fancies. Ynefel, tree-drowned in its sea of forest, was the last or the first outpost of the Old Lands ... first, as one stood with his face to the West, where the sea lords of old had fallen and new kings ruled, so soon forgetful that they had been servants of the Sihhë: or the last edge of an older world, as one might look out north and east toward Elwynor and Amefel, which lay across the Lenúalim windings and beyond Marna Wood.

In those two districts alone of the East the crumbling hills retained their old Galasieni names. In those lands of upstart men, there remained, however few and remote in the hills, country shrines to the Nineteen gods Galasien had known - while in Elwynor the rulers still called themselves Regents, remembering the Sihhë: kings.

Nowadays in Ynefel birds stole blackberries, and built their nests haphazardly in the eaves and in the loft. A colony of swifts lodged in one great chimney and another in the vaulted hall of Sihhë: kings. Rain and years eroded the strange faces that looked out of the remaining walls. Gargoyle faces - faces of heroes, faces of the common and the mighty of lost Galasien - they adorned its crazily joined towers, its ramshackle gates, fragments of statues seeming by curious whimsy to gaze out of the walls of the present fortress: some that smiled, some that seemed to smirk in malice, and some, the faces of Galasien's vanished kings, serene and blind.

This was the view as one looked up from the walls of Ynefel. This was the view over which an old man gazed: this was the, state of affairs in which he lived, bearded and bent, and solitary.

And, judging the portent of the season and the clouds, leaden-gray at twilight, the old man frowned and took his way in some haste down the rickety steps, well aware of danger in the later hours, in the creeping of shadows across the many gables and roofs. He did not further tempt them. Age was on him. His power, which had held the years and the shadows at bay, was fading, and would fade more swiftly still when this night's work was done: such strength as he had, he held close within himself, and guarded, and hoarded with a miser's single purpose.

Until now.

He reached the door and shut it with a word, a tap of his staff, a touch of his gnarled hand. Thus secure, he caught a calmer breath, and descended the steeply winding stairs with a limp and a tapping that echoed through the creaking maze of stairs and balconies, down and down into the wooden hollowness of Ynefel.

He lived alone here. He had lived alone for - he ceased to count the years, except tonight, when death seemed so close, so ... seductive in the face of his preparations.

Better, he had long thought , to fade quietly.

Better, he had determined unto himself, to deal no more with the shadows and to stay to the sunlight. Better to listen no more to the sifting of time through the wood and stone of this old ruin. He owed nothing to the future. He owed far less to the past.

We deserved our fate, he thought bitterly. We were too self-confident. Fortress in the Eye of Time. Copyright © by C. J. Cherryh. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Fortress in the Eye of Time (Fortress Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
About a young man's uncertainty as he finds out he can do things no normal person can do. It is my favorite novel and once I was in I was up all night reading the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The development of the main character is extremely interesting and heartfelt. I read this book in two days, and i must say the only reason it doesn't merit 5 stars is because the ending did not pack as much punch as it might have.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has an amazing story line that continues throughout the series. There is an abstract quality to the story, which can daunt some readers; however, this allows the story to unfold and for the reader to really think about how things are presented. In some ways this is as complex fantasy as it gets, similar to complex sci-fi concepts. Tristan is complex in his simplicity, and as he loses this, his depth increases!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really love Cj.Cherryth and her desciptions in all her novels, but I found this book confusing and very boring. There is great character development but the plot is too dry and doesnt have a fast pace. ithis book just moves much too slowly for me.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Despite the fact that C. J. Cherryh is one of my favorite authors, I just couldn't get into this series. I gave it a go for four volumes, but it just didn't grab me. I may give it a break, reread the first one and see if I can figure out why I'm not happy with it.
Gkarlives on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While the character developement holds up to Cherryh's usual high standards, I found the ending abrupt and jarring. I was left with questions about the character of Tristen who's nature is revealed through flashbacks that, at times, seem contradictory. In the end, I did not feel his past was fully clarified and I very much wanted to know. A lot of build up for only a little bang.
purplereadinggiraffe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a marvelous fantasy. The world is a dangerous and confusing place for a full grown man child possessed of such innocence that he captures the heart and friendship of a jaded prince. This tale is full of magical language, compelling relationships, humor, suspense, adventure, and some very unique world building somewhat hidden behind the familiar feudalistic trappings of high fantasy.I am really quite amazed at the people who don't 'get' this book. It is one of my all time favorites, and while the plot and the story get even better as the series progresses, the first half of this book never fails to delight me when I need a lift to my spirits. Tristen and Cefwyn's friendship is marvelous, and when Ninevrise shows up, that courtship is great fun, too.There are a lot of interesting magic versus wizardry versus sorcery ideas here; some comparative religion; dark political machinations and treachery; all contrasted with the wonder of pigeons in flight. This series is magical with endless depth and soaring spirit. Try it.
reading_fox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First of the series. Tristen is conjoured into being by an old old magician, desperate against an ancient foe. His nerve fails him an Tristen is less than he hoped or needed, enthralled by the pattern of raindrops or beat of a butterfly. Tristen escapes and finds his way to the kings court with the mage's magic still unfolding.....After re-readOne of Cherryh's pure fantasy works, and again a masterful telling of what it takes to be human, in a well crafted an easily understandable fantasy world. Full of the traditional themes of fantasy bu managaing to avoid all the cliches and make a genuinally new and original telling.Tristain the Shaping, student at best from the ancient wizard Mauryl arrives at Hensamef, innocent and unknowing of the perils of being human. The prince and heir to the throne Cefwyn is doing his best to contain the local politics and rivalries rife in this old province, never the most stable of the new realm. Incursions and threats - and offers - from the neighbouring Elwynem make life tricky. Then the ever suspicious king heres word of Cefwyn's dealings and decends in secret, and insufficient force.A gripping tale, the innocence of tristain is wonderfully portrayed, as is difference between inate magic and that hard studied. A very enjoyable read, dense and thrilling, avoiding the hack and slash details but with a close attention to people and politics, which is alwas Cherry's strongest point.
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the story evolved well and you get hooked!
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