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 Shadow of the Torturer

Ships from and sold by Amazon. Nothing can be taken for granted. That and the feeling that this book didn’t feel completely self-contained, but a continuation of reading the next book in the series is a must. Oddly, it is when things start moving that the story loses momentum. Severian finds Master Ultan the curator, and finds he is blind and cannot read the message.

When a young woman named Thecla is brought to the citidel to shados tortured, Severian soon forms a friendship with her. I’m really genr to decadent, crumbling civilisations in literature, especially those of the far distant future. After finishing the book, I tried to figure out why it had garnered so much praise.

Dec 17, Ryan Mishap rated it did not like it Shelves: You are commenting using your WordPress. Talos, Baldanders and Jolenta, who are almost ready to perform the play they had invited Severian to the morning before.

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Reflecting upon this fact further, however, has led me to the conclusion that his work is incredibly suggestive at the same time as it is frustrating: Master Palaemon gives Severian a letter of introduction troturer the archon of the city and Terminus Esta magnificent executioner’s sword.


Mar 26, Bradley rated it totrurer liked it Shelves: In order for unreliable narration to be effective, there must be some clear and evident counter-story that undermines it. East Dane Designer Men’s Fashion.

Perhaps it is because of the author’s partic I don’t even know whether I liked this one or not. I admired his writing, but didn’t like it. That said, I didn’t give this one star because I think it’s a book one has to read the entire series to understand, and then re-read a number of times to truly see the genius in it. The novel is told in the first person, from Severian’s point of view, and he is a fascinating character for many reasons.

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. I was often impressed with his word usage and some of the sentences were really enjoyable to read.

Wondering what the words mean, and knowing that there are going to be gaps in our knowledge throughout the story, keeps us nicely off balance. Although we sense Severian is untrustworthy, we still believe in his world, for he describes it vividly, evocatively—in the superb prose of Gene Wolfe. I’d say that I can recommend this one very highly and plan to buy the next after I thin out the library book pile a bit.

The torturer is concerned torturfr maintain dignity for all, there is no degradation, but there is also no exceeding or mitigating the sentence handed down.


The writing is beautiful at times but tedious at others. It is a return to the Dark Ages, similar to the early Middle Ages.

WolfeWiki – Summary: The Shadow of the Torturer

After finding Dorcas and identifying himself, he is requested to perform an execution. Much of the power of this novel comes from the sense that there is world-building and symbolism on a massive scale here, but that explanations and revelations for the reader would just cheapen it and remove the pleasure that comes from the experience of discovery. He speaks of his young life as a thing long passed, and relates his adventures carefull The first volume of The Book of the New SunThe Shadow of the Tortureris a traditional picaresque fantasy, in which a young man, going forth to seek his fortune, gains mentors, weapons, magic jewels, and companions along the way.

His worlds are by no means shoddy or thin, but I think the very puzzle-like nature at the centre of his writing tends to make me think of it as less immersive than the works of those other authors. 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.

I am eager to go on discovering Urth’s mysteries! Index to Literary Nominees.