To say that Gene Wolfe is a difficult author is both a compliment and a knock. In Shadow of the Torturer, the first in a four book series known as The Book of the. The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume of the four-volume “One expects any book from Gene Wolfe to be a classic — and here it is. Gene Wolfe’s science fiction is neither operatic nor scientifically accurate; his In the early part of the first novel, “The Shadow of the Torturer,”.

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I don’t think its a coincidence that the chapter is named Hethor and he makes his first appearence.

My theory is that he has loosed some sort of creature that is causing quite a commotion. View Edit Discuss History Print. The Shadow of the Torturer. Disch In a stunning blend of the lyric extravagance of fantasy and the keen edge of science fiction, meeting in wolce future so distant that it seems like the ancient past, Gene Wolfe begins his chronicle of Severian the Torturer, in this the first volume of The Book of the New Sun.

The Shadow of the Torturer: SFF’s greatest and most challenging epic

One is not born into the torturers’ guild, one is adopted there from the children of its victims. In the great Citadel built of unsmeltable gray metal, tortuder Severian and his fellow apprentices study to achieve the rank of Master Torturer learning the ancient mysteries of the guild, sworn to torture whom the Autarch says to torture, and to kill whom he says to kill.

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But with the coming of Thecla, a beautiful and intelligent woman whose indiscretions have lost her her place in the inner circle of concubines of the House Absolute, life changes for Severian, as he disobeys the rules he has been raised to follow.

The young torturer expects to be killed for his crime; instead he is exiled from the city to serve as a simple executioner in distant Thrax ,the City of Windowless Rooms.

The Shadow of the Torturer – Wikipedia

As he leaves, his master gifts him with the ancient executioner’s sword, Terminus Estthe Line of Division. So armed, he sets forth into the vast City, heading for the distant gate.

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On his way he encounters the twins Agia and Agiluswho drive him to an arcane duel on the Sanguinary Field; the acting troupe of Dr. Talos, a charlatan, Baldanders, a monstrous giant, and the lovely Jolenta; and Dorcas, a mysterious girl who appears on the shore of the Lake of Birds, where the dead lie. Into Severian’s hands falls also the miraculous gem, the Claw of the Conciliator, whose powers promise to lead him to the very throne of the House Absolute.

But first he must journey north, to the land of the mountains, and it is at the great gate of the City Imperishable, the largest in the world, that the first volume of The Book of the New Sun closes, with Severian standing in the portal of his destiny.

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The Book of the New Sun: science fiction’s Ulysses? | Books | The Guardian

His book The Fifth Head of Cerberus has been widely praised. Wolfe lives in Barrington, Illinois, wiht his wife and four children, where ahadow writes five pages every day on one of two ancient IBM typewriters.

This is magic stuff! Totally original, new, incomparable: Wolfe’s world of Urth is a reminder that Romantic was once a dangerous word. Dark, daunting, and thoroughly believable.

It takes hold of you and conducts you down strange corridors Surely a chain of conjuror’s scarves, as one fantastic reality is pulled out of the folds of the one before One thinks at times of Jack Vanc’s richly textured alien-human cultures, or of the rotting world-castle Gormenghast, of Aldiss’s baroque Malacia, or Borges’s mcrocosms But it is Wolfe’s own inimitable brand of strangeness Scenes of vivid horror and velvet humor, episodes of bravura slapstick and vaudevillian bravery A book a protean as its author’s talent.

Adventure, pain, laughter, heartbreak.

No one who values intelligence, strangeness, and beauty in the same piece of fiction is grne to finish The Shadow of the Torturer either dissatisfied or sated.

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