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.
I read these when first published. There are twelve books in it!
There are five books in the first part, told in first person by Severian of the Guild of the Torturers. Read more
Author doesn't seem to understand importance of writing to an audience -- maybe he understands what he is writing but I sure don't. Read morePublished 10 days ago by David H. Hiley
This book was recommended on the Harvard reading list for entering freshman. I am WAY past that age. Read morePublished 10 days ago by L. Bechdolt
There's some interesting stuff going on in this book, but somehow I just can't get into reading it. The plot feels disjointed. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Jason Monday
Some interesting stuff in here but the story-to-fluff ratio was way off.Published 27 days ago by David Sonders
Not sure I'll continue- the dream like states are so disconnected and surreal that reading can be exhausting. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Beth
This was recommended to me in the context of Vernor Vinge's "Fire Upon The Deep" and "A Deepness In The Sky", as a book that would use suspended disbelief to raise... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stephen M. Ayotte
Simply amazing series. Wolfe does a great job in creating a great world to dive into. While the language can be difficult at times, it only adds to the overall story. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ben