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Latro in the Mist Paperback – March 19, 2003

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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)

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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: 5.3 x 1.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 66 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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14 of 15 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sergey Lenkov on January 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
It`s not quite a fantasy or sci-fi novel. Let`s call it culturological novel. Impressed by writings of the Ancient Greek historian Herodotos (Father of the History) Wolfe re-creates internal spiritual world of the ancient people and thier vision of the world around them, there hyerophania (the revealing of the God or the pagan gods) is usual experience of everyday life.
Hero of the novels, soldier Latro, retreats with the defeated Persian army through Greece in 479 B.C. and tries to remember his past and to understand his own life. The worst mistake of all novels about the history - to place modern character in the historic environment and to describe his (or her) adventres as in cinema (a kind of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra). There`s no such a mistake. Wofe tries to re-create heroic and religious aspects of the ancient culture of the Mediterranean world.
Novel "Soldier of the Mist" is among the best novels of the Ancient Greece. It is written as poem in prose, with its own rhythm of narration. Probably Wolfe was impressed also by European Symbolist artists (Klimt etc.) and by their vision of the Antiquity.
By the way, I read this novel before "The Book of the New Sun" and "Soldier of the Mist" impressed me much more than Wolfe`s well-known novels (well, I`m a historian).
"Soldier of Arete" is a kind of "The Urth of the New Sun" here. There`s no solutions and answers to all questions and sometimes it`s hard to understand the plot and the author. And after the first novel you should wait for more... But, sorry... Let`s say: "Thank you!!!" for "The Soldier of the Mist". In 2006 was released the next novel - "Soldier of Sidon" - let`s hope - it would be better.
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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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