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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Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer. This first novel depicts Severian as a youth, brought up in the Guild of the Torturers from the time of his birth and learned in the arts of pain, which his guild exercises at the behest of the Autarch, some shqdow of monarch exulted with near-divine reverence by the people.

He begins his journey tlrturer of the Citadel, which takes several days, and meets a variety of people, all new to his experience. From character names to descriptions to articles of clothing, Wolfe uses language in the most deliberate fashion. Loading comments… Trouble loading? The author d The title of tthe book really turned me away from reading this book for decades.

Prior to that, Severian is hired to act as carnifex for the hipparch. Here, Severian discovers that he is in possession of the Claw, thus requiring him to turn back to return it to the Pelerines. On his way out of the vast urban sprawl of Nessus, his adventures include fighting a duel with a flower more deadly than it soundsaccidentally stealing the Claw of the Conciliator a glowing, seemingly magical jewel from a temple and fishing a girl, Dorcas, out of a lake where the dead are sunk.

Topics Fiction Books blog. I found myself skimming by the last 40 pages or so. When Severian wakes again, he finds himself to be in a lazaret. There are reasons why that isn’t possible however. Once deemed acceptable as a student, he and his friends become apprentices, then journeymen, and if showing exceptional ability, graduating to Masters.


Therefore, new readers need to dedicate themselves to unraveling the many layers of plot, religious symbolism, literary references, and narrative sleight-of-hand. Eventually Severian and Dorcas encounter Dr. Perhaps it’s because I’ve read quite a bit of odd fantasy; if all I read was mainstream stuff, then I’d surely find Wolfe unpredictable, since he is a step above them. He and Baldanders are performers: The main character sits around thinking a lot, and then he talks to a few people, and then he wanders around a bit thinking and talking.

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf book review

Dorcas later identifies it as being for her. Thank you for reading my review, Marion!

Then “do not trust the text farther than you can throw it, if that far. First name Country where you live Book Your rating out of 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Your review. Only Gene Wolfe limns with words: There are no hitches: From my last attempt to read it I could have sworn it was pages long because it just seemed so endless and daunting.

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

The Shadow of the Torturer

As they move northwards, behind them they see the Cathedral of shzdow Pelerines leap into the air and burn, borne aloft on the air of the fires. Sick world, boring characters. One could write a dissertation on interpreting the meanings of these stories as they relate to the overall themes of the book, and this effort is far beyond me, but Marc Aramini does discuss the implications of a number these stories in if book Between Light and Shadow: This can also be seen as a religious allegory, though his tone is somber and the redemption is subtle and hidden in his intricate writi A dark jewel.

Want to Read saving…. And while you’re doing that, try using the language that your readers read in this case English. Thrax is a small town, and a carnifex cuts off the heads or otherwise carries out the punishment sentences of criminals of the State.

The story trickles along and ends in mid flow with many outstanding questions to lead you on to the next book should you feel you need to know the answers. Gene Wolfe is an extremely skilled writer. My only real complaint is that there are hints that he’s writing this from someplace and for some reason but we’re given no information on that. Agia, who is suspected, is stripped and searched, but Severian is accepted as innocent he later learns that Agia had indeed stolen the Claw, and planted it upon him.


One thing that struck me as odd is the Severian seems to be an incredible rarity, i. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.

I immediately connected with both the style of writing and how the narrator presents the story as reflecting back upon his life and the choices he made or did not make. It didn’t hit me over the head.

And Urth itself is dying, slowly. Wolfe’s mockery is so on-the-nose that it is indistinguishable from other cliche genre fantasy. However, it is obvious that something is wrong and that underneath everything, the secret to what has occurred will slowly be revealed, whether it be by the end of this book or in subsequent books to follow.

Recently there was an announcement that science had created a colour blacker than black. At the same time, its baroque language, ambiguous plot, unreliable narrator, and depth of symbolism are likely to discourage most casual readers.

The Shadow of the Torturer. He departs the guild headquarters, traveling through the decaying city of Nessus.

Severian is assigned to meet her requests and through the year of her imprisonment, learns much beyond his basic education as they both read and discuss philosophy and myth don’t worry, there are no pages of arcane philosophy to be skimmed past. Works by Gene Wolte.

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