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Latro in the Mist Paperback – March 19, 2003

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Latro in the Mist + Soldier of Sidon + Shadow & Claw: The First Half of 'The Book of the New Sun'
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; 1st Orb ed edition (March 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765302942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765302946
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his foreword to Latro in the Mist, which pairs Gene Wolfe's acclaimed historical fantasies Soldier of the Mist (1986) and Soldier of Arete (1989), Wolfe reveals that the two novels are in fact his translations of the diary writings of Latro, a Roman mercenary wounded in battle in ancient Greece. Latro's head wound ruined his short-term memory, but bestowed upon him the gift of conversing with gods and goddesses.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"SF's greatest novelist, and overall one of America's finest. . . a wonder, yes, a genius."-The Washington Post Book World

More About the Author

Gene Wolfe is winner of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and many other awards. In 2007, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He lives in Barrington, Illinois.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Jacob G Corbin on June 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
Having haunted used bookstores and libraries for a year or two for copies of SOLDIER IN THE MIST and SOLDIER OF ARETE, my zeal to buy this book the very day it came out was perhaps excessive but, I think, understandable.
I've been a fan of Wolfe's since the fateful summer of 2000, when I first cracked open a copy of his magnum opus, THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN, and through the course of sixteen wildly different novels and innumerable short stories he has only rarely disappointed me. That said, the Latro books have immediately jumped, if not to the head of the pack, right to the top two or three.
The main character, Latro, is a mercenary formerly in the employ of the Persian emperor Xerxes during his ill-fated invasion of Greece in 479 BCE. Struck on the head outside the goddess Demeter's temple, Latro loses his short-term memory; like the main character in "Memento", even his recent past is a mystery to him, although Latro's window of memory is twelve hours long rather than five minutes. Captured by the Greeks, he becomes a slave, passed from one master to another and one quest to another in a series of picaresque adventures ranging from the comic to the heroic to the almost unutterably grim. The word "Latro" means both "soldier" and "pawn", and Latro, despite his native cunning and skill at arms, is a pawn indeed, used by gods, men, and monsters to further their own aims; his only saving graces are his innate stoic nobility and the diverse collection of friends he accumulates along the way.
Wolfe deploys his usual stunning array of literary devices and tricks, from the de rigueur unreliable first person narrative to the more subtle possibilities allowed by Latro's illness.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Soldier in the Mist" and "Soldier of Arete" feel like an exercise, Wolfe consciously attempting to develop a storyline where the protagonist and setting are as contrary to the "Book of the New Sun" as possible. Here, Latro suffers from daily memory loss, where Severian captures everything, even if he is unaware of it. Latro travels in the dawning world of our distant past, where Man is not yet master of the world; Severian proceeds on a shriveled Urth where Man's great accomplishments are long spoiled and forgotten. The link is Wolfe at his best, weaving his rich, layered, veiled and often startling prose in first-person perspective.
Wolfe's imagination is so rich, and his narrative skills so great that you wonder whether these books can actually be memoirs as they are presented. If you marveled at the "Book of the New Sun", you will enjoy Wolfe effort at switching gears so completely. Latro's terse commentary may also be a welcome change from Severian's verbosity, but there are no creatures as wonderful as Dorcas here. Whether the "Soldier" books end-up as more than just an exercise to Exorcize "Book of the New Sun" really depends; Wolfe owes us two more books before we can make a full comparison.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By tyler hunter on May 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
The soldier series was my introduction to Wolfe. I was sitting around the bookstore reading the backs of random books in an attempt to find a new author. Sure enough the premise of this two-part book caught my attention. The book draws its premise, characters, locations, and themes from ancient greek culture and mythology, but that's were it ends. While the main character may participate in actually historical battles and locations, the actually history isn't the main focus behind the plot line in my opinion. I say my opinion cause there is great debate surrounding whether Latro is a historical statement. Wolfe uses the Ancient Greek setting as vehicle to drive his story and doesn't let the history become the story. Latro moves about Ancient Greece lost and things occur in a very haphazard manner and yet some how Wolfe manages to tie it all together in single stroke. I've read novels were writers write them selves into holes and attempt to end the impossible and fail. Wolfe ends more then the impossible and does it better then I've ever seen it done. Ill recommend this book to any one who enjoys Wolfe, enjoys Greek mythology, or simply hates typical cliché fantasy trash. And if you haven't read Wolfe I suggest grabbing Book of the New Sun, which is more or less considered his finest work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By on February 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
As with all of Wolfe's writing, he couldn't possibly care less that people understand him on the first, second, or third reading. This has given him a spirited and fiercely loyal audience but has also hurt his overall appeal. Latro is no exception in this regard. People who call it meandering are right. The plot goes any direction but straight ahead. People call it confusing and they are right. Yet this is the reason we read Wolfe: because finding out about the plot is exactly part of the fun and understanding why the confusion exists is all the importance in the reading. Latro will earn a treasured place in a Wolfe's corpus and we believe it will remain Wolfe's most accessible work that maintains the maximum rewards that reading his novels brings. There is a rumored third installment in the "soldier series" on the horizon and it will be interesting to see if it can match the vlaue of these first novels. In light of the recent cinematic productions of Troy and Alexander along with the popularity of The Gates of Fire and Mary Renault (not to mention the undimmed popularity of Herodotus) we thing there is a huge audience craving for fiction from this era. It could even be said that Latro has opened up this genre for a whole series of authors in this regard.


We can recommend Latro for two audiences: those who've read Wolfe but haven't yet gotten around to Latro and those who are intrigued with the idea of reading Wolfe but don't want to commit to the twelve novels that comprise the solar cycle. Those effete snobs who think that speculative fiction doesn't have any writers operating within it that can match the anointed ones pulling down mainstream awards should definitely read this book: it'll put a stop to those snotty little arguments.
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