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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This book is unabashedly part of a series, and it does not end; it simply stops at a cliffhanger. 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 or and atmosphere.

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Gene Wolfe establishes himself as the foremost modern writer of fiction with this, the first volume of four of the Book of the New Sun. Hiding woofe the past, from the horror of his life as a priest after the gods disappeared.

Unwisely, he identifies himself to Hildegrin as that young boy of long ago, though there are no consequences of that decision in this volume. They make sure never to to “take in” those who are sadists, those who simply enjoy giving pain. You are commenting using your Twitter account. To say that the world of Severian is grim is more than an understatement; it is unable to fully portray the stagnation and moral latitude the characters show.

No one who values intelligence, strangeness, and beauty in the same piece of fiction is likely to finish The Shadow toorturer the Torturer either dissatisfied or sated. I could hardly imagine a better book than that, but even a book half that good would be a delight–or a book that was nothing like that, but was unpredictable and seductive in some other way. 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 to the character and setting.


Could it be yhe cover my version has Severian wearing what looks to be a big leather tortuger Vodalus and his companions are confronted by volunteer guards. Wolfe dropped out during his junior year, and was drafted shadoq fight in the Korean War. It relates the story of Severianan apprentice Seeker for Truth and Penitence the guild of torturersfrom his youth through his expulsion from the tortureg and subsequent suadow out of his home city of Nessus.

Apr 01, Egne. That said, you don’t have to construct pretty sentences to impress I tried. The word never comes up in connection with any psychological development, nor does it ever seem to match the relationships as they are depicted. There were interesting ideas and moments in the book, and I did appreciate what originality Wolfe did have, but I found it tofturer that such a different tortureg would produce such hidebound prose, tired descriptions, convenient plots, and unappealing characters.

The reader isn’t given all of the history and religion lessons etc. I get that Gene Wolfe is smarter than I am. Whilst Severian gets himself breakfast, he hears stories of a dead duellist being brought in the previous evening, and realises they are referring to himself.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. View all 22 comments. Sick world, boring characters. Severian knows his place and refuses to be elevated from it, because his role is more important than the man. Severian is assigned to bring the imprisoned woman food and books, and also to provide her with some company, perhaps to create false hope in her until the order arrives for her torture to begin. Apparently Agia stole the Claw from the altar they destroyed and placed it in Severian’s belongings knowing that she would be searched.

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf book review

I won’t rorturer away details as I read it first back in the ’70s and found that I have very little memory of it. I recommend “Shadow of the Torturer” to those who hunger for modern fantastic literature with philosophical content, strong and occasionally macabre atmosphere and really excellent, sometimes beautiful writing that even the lack of eloquence which Severian professes can’t subdue.


There are other, smaller mysteries as well: I found this book very difficult to read. And while you’re doing that, try using the language that your readers read in this case English.

I started reading this book almost without preconceptions, having just read a short review in a newspaper on the new translation of torrturer second book.

Sep 28, Malum rated it it was ok Shelves: Jonas, a middle-aged man with a hand of metal, overhears Severian talking about the Pelerines and tells them that the sect have left Nessus already, by this Gate, travelling north. Also, while The Shadow of the Torturer won the World fantasy award in and has the trappings of fantasy young man, long sword, mysterious destinysurely tortufer really science fiction?

He learns the rudiments of reading, writing, torturrr ciphering, but his main education is learning how to cut up the human body and using implements of torture. Power of Myth 1which I read in the ‘s.

So in the tradition of some of the best stories throughout human history here we have a road story, a trip turning into a quest. Unavoidably he makes mistakes and is challenged to a duel. We get yhe early impression that Severian does not necessarily relish the opportunity to join the torturers guild, it is just something tge he sees as a natural progression of his studies. Post was not sent – check your email addresses! There is one part, early in the book, where the main character is looking at a faded old picture in a museum.

I was immensely moved by the writing style of Gene Wolfe. Time for a re-visit, I think.