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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Severian falls into a lake used to inter the dead, and while emerging finds a young woman named Dorcas to have come up from the lake as well.

WolfeWiki – Summary: The Shadow of the Torturer

If you’re a scholar of SF, you’ve work to do. Naturally this leads to mounting tension. From character names to descriptions to articles of clothing, Wolfe uses language in the most deliberate fashion.

The prisoner turns out to be his challenger, Agia’s brother, whom he executes. That said, you don’t have to construct pretty sentences to impress I tried.

When I think of my own death, or of the death of someone who has been kind to me, or even of the death of the sun, the image that comes to my mind is that of the nenuphar, with its glossy, pale leaves and azure flower. Those who know my tastes know how much I love Jack Vance’s “Dying Earth” books, set in a world where the days of the starfaring and ambitious aims of humanity have long dwindled away and in fact the sun itself has ceased to be the warming, welcome beacon it once was but has grown feeble and weak og millions of years.

The book opens with the protagonist, Torturebarely surviving a swim in the River Gyoll. There are a few torture scenes and tprturer violence is graphic but minimal.

WolfeWiki – The Shadow of the Torturer

The world has been thrown backward into an almost medieval setting and the people both dress and behave in the same manner. Fill in your details below or click torhurer icon to log in: I have read this book many times, often with a dictionary beside me, but laziness and an assumption that many terms I did not recognise were made up, led me to tortufer look them up.


I honestly resent him.

Wolf is a much subtler writer, perhaps just as talented, and he has fleshed out his own “dying Earth” with exquisite detail that definitely rivals Vance for strangeness and atmosphere.

I picked it more or less at random years and years ago when I used to have the time to wander aimlessly through a bookstore and explore new titles and authors. Perhaps I just got my hopes up too high. It was all understated and slipped in so gently that we the readers were delightfully focused upon the characters long enough to be surprised by the full weight of the world.

They are primarily here to summon an atmosphere, and they do that very well. I first read it in my early twenties, and recently picked it up again because I wanted to visit the world of Urth again. Select a particular edition title for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.

They never, never do more nor less than the “clients” are sentenced to by the courts. This is the third time I have tried to read this book over the last 20 years and today I finally read the whole thing. I admired his writing, but didn’t like it.

He comes to an inn, where wokfe first meets Baldanders and Dr. I have read the series annually for more than 20 years and each year wonder at the efficiency Wolfe achieved whilst conveying a great depth zhadow the character thhe setting. View all 15 comments. I did feel that Sevarian was a bit too trusting of every single person he met! As the Torturer, he is simply doing his job, but he certainly is also the mythological intermediary between shhadow common beings and the gods.

I’d have just been more impressed with Wolfe’s ability to use fancy words which he either makes up or I’m just too stupid to comprehendand been angry with him for wasting my time. You won’t regret it. The character himself has no idea who Armstrong is.

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In the near future Emotional Transference is the drug of choice.

To say that Gene Wolfe is a difficult author is both a compliment and a knock. 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. Apparently, this is the thing his fans most appreciate about him–I find it to be an insulting and artificial game.

Now that’s a good start: Severian briefly describes the necropolis, then how the torturers recruit boys so they sjadow not know their ancestry. The novel is told in the first person, from Severian’s point of view, and he is a fascinating character for wofle reasons. Shadow of the Torturer has that in spades.

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf

Thin Air Richard K Morgan 8. After the distancing, comes the interest in the details of the technique, the rituals, the taught practice, the means of doing the job properly.

City of Burning Shadows Barbara Webb 8. At that point, it’s just a trick–adding complexity to the surface of the story without actually producing any new meaning.

But then, that begs the question, doesn’t it? This is regarded by many great writers and readers to be a fantastic SF book and the basis for a lot of modern interpretations and influences in the genre, for me, it was a bit of a messy and convoluted story regarding a torturer who wouldn’t stop rambling.

He departs the guild headquarters, traveling through the city of Nessus. Learn how your comment data is processed. Not to clap my hands to my face and get orgasmic because the writer is so very talented and smart.

The Autarch ruler of the Commonwealth wishes to use Thecla to capture Vodalus.