This is the first-person narrative of Severian, a lowly apprentice torturer blessed and cursed with a photographic memory, whose travels lead him through the marvels of far-future Urth, and who--as revealed near the beginning--eventually becomes his land's sole ruler or Autarch. On the surface it's a colorful story with all the classic ingredients: growing up, adventure, sex, betrayal, murder, exile, battle, monsters, and mysteries to be solved. (Only well into book 2 do we realize what saved Severian's life in chapter 1.) For lovers of literary allusions, they are plenty here: a Dickensian cemetery scene, a torture-engine from Kafka, a wonderful library out of Borges, and familiar fables changed by eons of retelling. Wolfe evokes a chilly sense of time's vastness, with an age-old, much-restored painting of a golden-visored "knight," really an astronaut standing on the moon, and an ancient citadel of metal towers, actually grounded spacecraft. Even the sun is senile and dying, and so Urth needs a new sun.
The Book of the New Sun is almost heartbreakingly good, full of riches and subtleties that improve with each rereading. It is Gene Wolfe's masterpiece. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk
Severian is an enthralling character that is most appreciated by how human of a character he is.
With any writing, too little explanation soon leaves a reader exasperated and frustrated, while too much explanation can bore a reader until he loses interest.
When Gene Wolfe's series of novels, "The Book of the New Sun," hit the shelves, they revolutionized the science fiction genre.
Beautiful, poetic, magnificent work of fiction that challenges the reader to piece together a epic mystery in world just alien enough from our own to keep us wanting more.Published 14 days ago by Thomas L. Allen
What more can be said about this landmark piece of literature? This series spoiled me on everything else in the genre. All others seemed childish after this masterpiece. Read morePublished 19 days ago by emmdeebee
Epic Adventure with exciting characters and compelling story lines that grabs your attention and never let's go.Published 1 month ago by Michael Simon
The prose is amazing...the world strange and familiar, and fleshed out in its entirety.
The one possible failure of the book (and this applies to the next three as well) is... Read more
People, if the story of a guy who, for 18 years, did not actually bother to get more than a few meters away from his tower, seems like an interesting reading to you - go for it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Asi HABER
Random encounters with odd supernatural phenomena
Misleading or half-true info-dumps
Lurid, violent asides
A strange focus on colorful minutiae
Words that are... Read more
...but then, like the ancient script, the very shapes of the letters seemed to shout their meaning. On to the second book. it is no easy road.Published 2 months ago by Frank John Oconnor