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. It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future. The locked and rusted gate that stood before us, with wisps of river fog threading its spikes like the. Overview: The book opens with the protagonist, Severian, barely surviving a swim in the River Gyoll. Severian is an apprentice in the torturers’.

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The reality of his worlds comes more from allusion than from immersion. Once he begins to remember his life, he cannot forget anything being blessed!?! This is magic stuff! I got to the end after hundreds of pages and realized nothing really happened, the plot was dead in the water, and I didn’t give a fuck about any of the characters. Wolfe is an author who defies expectations. Severian briefly describes the necropolis, then how the torturers recruit boys so they do not know their ancestry.

He could have and even in his own eyes should have received worse, much worse.

Why do they despise the women they obtain? Learn more about Amazon Prime. Severian is forced to accept, and he departs with the sister, Agiato secure an averna deadly plant that is used for dueling. The Shadow of the Torturer.

I got it from my school library in In the great Citadel built of unsmeltable gray metal, young 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.


Frankly, I don’t give much of a fuck. At first, I was expecting something along the lines of Jack Vance, and while Wolf is a fantastic craftsman of prose, his dialogue does not sparkle as Vance’s does and the humour and sardonic wit that is a staple of Vance’s writing is not here.

The Shadow of the Torturer

From a technology point of view, Wolfe has an unparalleled ability to imagine a future so distant that dozens of civilisations and their advancements have thrived and perished leaving a technology detritus of objects and infrastructure that behave in such a way that may well be magic to the current inhabitants of the world.

I mean it is slow from the first line to the last. Sep 23, Geoff Sebesta rated it really liked it. I think this was probably shadiw of those books that was so revolutionary at the time that everybody spent thirty years ripping it off and now it seems less original than it really was.

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As Clarke’s Third Law says: The sequel to ‘The Book of the New Sun’. I was awash in strange expectations and assumptions before picking up this book, and after coming out the other side, I’m happy to say that this thoughtful novel pleased me.

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. Thecla, the beautiful concubine of whom there are thousands, basically taken to ensure obedience from her wealthy family of the Autarch, is an educated woman, and requests books from the library.

From the lightless tunnels to the freezing necropolis, the Citadel can genne seen as emblematic of a dying culture and a dying world.

It’s the same old story of an awkward, emotionless male protagonist who is inexplicably followed and harangued by women who fall in love with him for no given reason, familiar to anyone who’s seen a ths anime. After returning to the United States he earned a degree from the University of Houston and became an industrial engineer.


Read more Read less. Severian is symbolic stand-in of the Ferryman Charon who demands a coin before transporting souls across the river Styx. For 38 years I was under the belief that I had read this book and just couldn’t remember much about it. Please try again later. Published January 9, January 7, There’s one problem here, though, as early on he admits that to some degree he is probably insane and that even though his memory is near-perfect, he can’t quite be sure if the events he remembers really happened or whether his own mind has torturre them in some way.

Thin Air Richard K Morgan otrturer.

Gene Wolfe is indeed a literary author: The Book of the New Sun. I might have balked at such a blatant use of tropes for an SF novel had it not also been full of characters I truly liked.

Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Oddly, it is when things start moving that the story loses momentum. Apr 10, Mattia Shaddow rated it it was amazing.

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I suppose that I am fantasy-poisoned. And so neither my positive nor my negative expectation was met. He next encounters and falls in love with Theclaa beautiful aristocratic prisoner.