PDF/EPUB ☆ The Garden at the Roof of the World Epub ↠ at the

To save her brother's life Gwenaella risks her own in a magical forest to seek a unicorn’s healing magic But the remedy comes with a steep price She must commit to a perilous journey through Europe the Middle East India to the high mountains of Tibet to seek the hidden Garden at the Roof of the World and pluck a fruit that would restore the father of all unicorns to health Joined by a few trusted followers called by the unicorns’ magic she will face many dangers on her epic journey To succeed Gwenaella must find a balance between faith friendship and love and discover the true meaning of sacrificeThe Garden at the Roof of the World is a stunning debut fantasy epic in a rigorously historical 13th century setting with vivid characters and a thrilling romantic story that spans cultures and continents

10 thoughts on “The Garden at the Roof of the World

  1. says:

    Note this book was made available to me via LibraryThing's early reviewers Ever since Frodo set off to toss the ring into the fires of Mount Doom or maybe before a band of heros on a virtuous uest has become a trope in fantasy fiction Other common tropes in fantasy novels include a medieval setting and rapewhoring of female characters I am sorry to say that this book hits all three of theseGarden at the Roof of the world is about a uest undertaken by Gwen and a unicorn named Britomar to find the fruit that will heal the eldest of all the unicorns She is chosen because she is both chaste and selfless Along the way they are joined by other eually chaste and selfless men and women who seek to aid them on their uest The landscape is that of 12 13th century Europe and Asia and the group of companions have adventures all over Europe the middle east and India including evil caliphs fires leviathans and yetisThis book was a uick and easy read but I found it lacking in many ways First all of the characters felt hollow with love chastity and devotion to religion being the main aspects of their characters Little time was spent exploring other aspects of their personalities except in the most simplistic way I got the sense that the author was trying to write a sort of parable about love and devotion a la Paulo Coelho but it lacked the finesse that is present in Coelho's writing When some of the characters died I didn't really care as I hadn't really come to know themSecond I have a problem with any piece of fiction that over venerates chastity An inordinate amount of time was spent in discussing the chastity and virtue of the main women None of them would so much as kiss a man without it being within the bounds of marriage with the exception of the redeemed whore who saw the error of her ways In this book a women can only occupy of the archetype of virgin or Madonna with little room for grey areas to the point where I found myself wondering if this was perhaps Christian literature as I was reading it The Messages with a capital M about religious tolerance were palatable although still preachy and without shadingThird the unicorn Britomar has a healing horn This turns into a solution for most things healing all of the main characters right and left so that their harm is minimal and many of their actions without real conseuencesFinally the book was written as if it were translated from a medieval text Thus parts are missing and it is littered with footnotes that didn't add to the story and were difficult to navigate to using an e reader This is a minor complaint overall especially as compared to the shallow characters and overly preachy toneSo overall I cannot recommend this book Perhaps a younger audience might have a greater appreciation for the book than I did

  2. says:

    A sprawling advantageous effort similar to and obviously inspired by Tolkien’s “Lord of Rings” series as well as the “Narnia” books this massive fantasy tale relates the journey of a group of young women as they search for the mystical garden at the center of the world Gwenaella Adelie and Elise are brought together by a unicorn named Britomar to reach the garden in hopes of securing the fruit from the Tree of Life to save the eldest unicorn from death Along the way there are otherworldly encounters with ogres griffins and a nasty battle with the mythical Yeti in a tension filled conclusion The author carefully mixes historical fact with well crafted mythology As long winded as the chapters can be at times the characters are fairly original; though they do often come in the form of kings ueens and princes who dominate stories of this genre As a whole this is a solid mystical adventure that will interest readers from start to finish with its likable protagonists and constant twists and turnsPublisher's Weekly on the manuscript's posting as a semi finalist in the com ABNA contest

  3. says:

    A book about women from different walks of life undertaking a epic uest with a unicorn sounds fantastic However I found this book an extremely difficult readThere seemed to be an inordinate amount of random references to sex including many about rape; which added absolutely nothing to the narrative and was only used to emphasize the importance of being chaste This constant focus of chastity forced upon our female protagonists lost its appeal very uickly and distracted from what could have been a intriguing uest Unfortunately the characters were very bland with little depth The whole story felt very contrived and fragmentedI was ultimately unable to finish this book 12 star

  4. says:

    This is the perfect read for anyone who loves historical fantasy This book is packed with adventures and there’s never a dull moment It’s definitely a page turner What I loved most about the book are the female characters who are exceptionally well developed The three main female protagonists all had very distinct personalities All three of them felt very real and each one of them had their own uniue voices My favourite character is Elise since she’s the most flawed character in the book Because of that I could relate to her the most and what I loved the most about her is how she often had “romantic notions” in her head seeing herself as the protagonist in the stories sung in songs Unfortunately though the same cannot be said about the male characters Unlike their female counterparts they are a lot less fleshed out In fact if their names weren’t mentioned I might not have been able to tell the difference between them Another minor disappointment was the unicorn Briotmar I had looked forward to reading her particularly since she represented the goodness of the world but her character might have been the most under developed of them all It seems as if she only appeared in the book to heal her companions or battle to defend them I would have liked scenes with her and for her to have character development Nonetheless it was a great adventure read and I strongly recommend it to all those who love adventure books You won’t regret reading it

  5. says:

    Originally posted on Tales to Tide You OverWhile on the surface this novel might seem a traditional children’s fantasy with a uest and unicorn it has little in common with that genre Instead The Garden at the Roof of the World takes you on a journey through dangers both physical and metaphysical as Britomar the unicorn gathers her company to undertake a uest to save the life of the oldest unicorn with the ranks of Hell set against her This is most definitely not a children’s book It explores adult uestions of purity lust belief and relations between those of different religions But mostly it explores the uestion of love platonic chaste marital and pretty much any type of love you can imagine as the group explores their relationships with each other with their gods and most importantly with themselvesThe book is written in a style common to ancient Persian texts than modern Western both lyrical and unhurried It also exists within not one but two frameworks that of the scholar who discovers and translates the manuscript in modern times complete with footnotes and the voice of the narrator who begins by recounting the tales of others only to end with his own The style reminds me a little of Robin Hobb another author who takes the time to introduce the world and the characters before the main story gets rolling However once I accepted the world I was swept away Which is not to say there is no story in the beginning but rather that the beginning is formed of a series of bridges crossing to the same island in the center from whence the true journey begins each bridge formed of the uniue circumstances that bring the various women to this uestThe Garden is as much a spiritual journey for the characters as a physical one Adam’s first wife the sorceress Lilith joins forces with the Christian monks to preserve the life of the king of the unicorns despite her hatred of Eve and all that came after While some might consider Lilith evil this novel uses an older interpretation one in which Lilith is kept separate from the rest of humanity because she left Eden before the fall Hell sends demons to possess tempt and even attack those helping Britomar and her chosen maiden Gwen and Lilith stands with the Christian God to aid them Each of the women must face her own weakness in battles that challenge them to understand themselves first of all and to learn what they find to be important out of the clutter of distractions that form their livesThis is no easy stroll where all obstacles are banished through magic or miraculous intervention They travel in the company of a unicorn but there are wounds even Britomar cannot heal Physical dangers form only a part of what opposes them as conflicts between the women and later men who assist as well as personal doubts prove as much of a barrier as any sword raised against themAnd if that weren’t enough they must cross from Christian lands through those held by many other religions at the time of the Crusades when relations between the descendants of Abraham are tense at the best of times True to the period as in modern times many of those who claim to be pure followers of a sacred text have been corrupted by greed and power Even when not actively doing the work of demons some of the leaders they run across are uite willing to find other purposes for Britomar and the women having little to do with assisting their uestAs usual I’m trying to avoid spoilers while giving you a hint of why I found this a compelling story through generalities It’s hard because every aspect physical or spiritual is bound up tightly with the events they face Even naming the various characters can reveal too much what with the circumstances of their personal journeysTaking a step back from the specifics of this tale this novel touches on something near and dear to my heart the need to respect other people and their beliefs rather than holding onto the prejudices taught by those interested in dividing than coming together in peace This is why I enjoyed The Compassionate Warrior and why I think this novel is worth reading for than just the adventure Their company ultimately includes Christians Jews Muslims followers of Dharma and atheists Rather than making them unable to relate or ignoring the history to make them all instant friends The Garden takes the company through the steps of prejudicial beliefs to recognition of the flaws in those beliefs to acceptance within the teachings of their various paths It’s a powerful statement that looks to those who give mouth service to the teachings while using religion to create strife as well as those who look beyond prejudice to recognize the need for respect and acceptance over a defensive reactionThis is not your traditional fantasy in so many ways but those are the ways that make it strong You experience the journey on a personal level with none of the characters held up as an example to the others but rather the recognition that every person has weakness But at the same time it is our choices and how we spend our lives that determine whether we learn and grow or wallow in those aspects that make us less than we could be This is a thinking novel wrapped around a powerful story with characters you can love facing untold dangers and risking everything on their holy missionI belong to a writers workshop with the author and some time ago I critiued a few chapters of The Garden The story intrigued and lingered enough that when I saw his title come through NetGalley I reuested a copy in return for an honest review

  6. says:

    WOWZA Am I glad I read this one and even glad that I paid money for it although it was on sale when I purchased it still I do not begrudge a pennyThis is a wonderful story set in in the High Middle Ages with cameo appearances by Albertus Magnus and Thomas Auinas Our heroine must undertake a seemingly impossible task but she does it out of love And who can turn their back on a talking unicorn with magical powers?The novel therapies all over Europe the Near Est Middle East and up into the Himalayas where there cameo appearances by YetiBeautifully written by someone who loves the English language extremely complex plot adroitly handled characters of such substance that they become peopleRead it You'll be glad you did

  7. says:

    SummaryOne maiden bound by a promiseA thief trying to escape her noble father's killersA lover wanting to proof her chastityA knight living a virginal lifeA Jew safed from the fireand all of them on a uest to save the first Unicorn who walked Earth at Adam's sideThese are only some hints to the story you will find in The Garden at the Roof of the World by W B J Williams It's a story about chastity and love bravery and loosing the ones you love but still never giving upI had been lucky to receive a copy of this wonderful book as an Early Review version The story caught me right from the very start Do you know those books where when you start reading them you forget to eat and drink don't want to sleep all in favour to keep reading and reading till the book is over? This was one of those books for me The story evolves around Gwen a young maiden who after receiving a favour is sent on a uest to safe the first unicorn stallion who fell mortally ill She is accompanied by Britomar a unicorn mare and joined by many different characters women and men helping her on her way to the Garden at the Roof of the WorldWhat was good about the bookI loved how the book 's chapters where written from different points of views Each female character who joins the group gets her very own story retelling her life until she follows Britomar's call showing her hopes and fears Every member of the party has a special role to play even if it is just a short one Fascinating about the story was the mixture of the different cultures and religions Each new member brings his or her believe into this uest sometimes colliding with others sometimes surprisingly close to someone whom they never expected I liked how the author was able to melt all religions together but not creating one big new one but to let everyone have his or her own believe and god but still be able to work and live in the group accepting the others the way they are That's a really big achievement in the storyAlthough this is a book about unicorns it's surprising how openly sex is discussed Normal believe is that only a virgin might be able to call a unicorn since they will only accept innocence But although this story starts with a chaste maiden we happen to hear uite a lot about the imaginations of sexual life the women have Some scenes are really clear Still I think it a good take on the idea of unicorns that they don't only look for innocent maidens but will also accept women and men in their commpany who are trully loving their partners with all the conseuences The difference here is made between true love and lust with lust being the thing a unicorn cannot standWhat was bad about the bookWas there anything bad in this book? Well I for my part would have loved to hear some of the stories of the men in the group although I know that the story was focussing on the women The story works without deeper knowledge of the men it would still have been a nice addition ConclusionAll in all I can say I would give this book 4 of 5 stars for dealing wonderfully with an old theme and for such a lovely variety of strong female characters Since I have the ebook version I can't say anything about the actual book's layout but what I saw from the ebook was uite nice with ornaments at the start and end of each chapter and a well done map of the route that is taken at the beginning of the book Additionally there were only a few spelling and grammar mistakes so rare it was easy to overlook them I've seen some really bad ebook editions with mistakes on every page which will give you a hard time while reading You won't get that hereWhen you're looking for a book dealing with strong female characters and don't mind some sexual references and religious remarks go and get this book when it is published on 31th of August It's really worth a try

  8. says:

    The Garden At The Roof Of The World by WBJ Williams is an ambitious debut Presented as a found manuscript the epic tale of three young women sweeps continents stirring up myth and legendGwenaella Adelie and ‘Elise join on a uest to save the oldest unicorn They must journey to the garden at the roof of the world to find a particular fruit No one knows where the garden is however or if it still exists So begins a classic uest beset with trials and challenges many of which are personal Gwenaella accepts the uest in payment for the life of her brother Adelie dreams of journeying with a unicorn and ‘Elise seeks to prove her virtue They are joined along the road by several other characters each with their own purpose They fight mythical beasts possession by demons capture the machinations of men and themselves The three women also take a personal journey where they each attempt to define their own fate The Garden At The Roof Of The World is delightfully easy to read The story has a fairy tale uality but uickly disabuses the reader of any notion the happy ever after will be easily won It is not a children’s book The torments of the demons are very adult in nature Many of the battles and trials are bloody Not everyone survivesThe format that of found manuscript allows the author to add footnotes and commentary much of which was interesting and useful Some felt a little unnecessary but the passion and dedication of this fictitious translator can be forgiven as the story must have seemed remarkable The book echoes much of our own history and legend making the inclusion of myth almost plausible An Appendix at the end offers another translation that of myth into story — how some men might be viewed as giants and creatures such as unicorns and griffins were found in medieval bestiaries It’s an interesting premiseWhile I found the interwoven stories fascinating the book did wear me out at times So much happens and often in such a short period of time There are too many references and too many points of view Some of the ‘voices’ started to take on a sameness as each character agonised over similar uandaries I would have been just as happy to follow the original three women on a lesser journey Gwenaella in particular suffers neglect after the first half of the novel So much time is spent engaging the reader in her story at the beginning I felt she should have remained central to the novelThe constant reminder of the women’s need to be seen as chaste also irked These women travelled half the world and fought gruesome battles In their situation chastity would have been the least of my worries But I live in a different world one where unicorns and griffins live only in booksRecommended for fans of fairy tales and mythology and anyone who enjoys an epic uest with all the inherent twists and turnsWritten for and originally posted at SFCrowsnest

  9. says:

    I had expected a conventional fantasy novel but W B J Williams has written one that that is a little different The novel begins as Gwenaella is fetched home from the convent school by her uncle because her brother is critically ill As they drive away from the school an elderly woman is hit in the head by a rock Gwenaella insists on taking her back to the convent for medical attention over her uncle’s objections and on the ride back to the convent the old woman tells Gwen to seek a unicorn in the forest near her home This small act of kindness is the beginning of an epic journey for Gwen and companions she meets along the way The first thing that surprised me was that the convent school that Gwenaella attended was conventional Roman Catholic Traditional fantasy books tend to use imagined religions either entirely made up or with a basis in actual religions The uest takes Gwen far from her home in France and she meets Jews Muslims and Hindus The author’s biography says he has advanced degrees in anthropology and archaeology which he appears to have used while crafting this tale The story is set in the 13th century and the Publisher’s Weekly review says that the novel is “rigorously” historically accurate I cannot attest to this since I am not a student of medieval history and I found nothing that appeared anachronistic So we have a realistic setting with unicorns mermaids demons ogres griffons yetis and sea monsters And it works beautifullyThe author does an excellent job of fleshing out all the characters involved in the uest which is no mean feat since all together there are eight people and a unicorn There is a lady who is running away from an unwanted marriage and her maid a knight that had been on his way to join a crusade and a girl of the streets that is running for her life and this is before they leave France and meet others who will join their uest to find the garden at the roof of the world I really enjoyed watching the characters grow and change through the course of the novelThe book is well written and the pacing is uite good All in all it was a good read and I would read other books written by W B J WilliamsI received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  10. says:

    The Garden at the Roof of the World by WBJ Williams is a strange book It reminded me of The Chronicles of Narnia The Lord of the Rings The Decameron and The Egyptian In general I liked the story There is everything to make it an good adventure book with forbidden love drama in family magical creatures dangerous uest maidens in danger champions for maidens It has it all an What I did not like and it's only my problem it does not make the book any less interesting is all this talk about God and religions and beliefs I guess it had to be that way course at that time stories where written always as cautionary tale as what would happen to those who did not believe But for me it was too much Do not get me wrong I liked the story itself and I liked how all the different religions and beliefs where brought together at the end but at the beginning I felt it dominated the story too muchIt's not a bad book it just would be good to be prepared to what to expect