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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
“The Book of the New Sun establishes [Wolfe's] pre-eminence, pure and simple....The Book of the New Sun contains elements of Spenserian allegory, Swiftian satire, Dickensian social consciousness and Wagnerian mythology. Wolfe creates a truly alien social order that the reader comes to experience from within...once into it, there is no stopping.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Magic stuff...a masterpiece...the best science fiction I've read in years!” ―Ursula K. Le Guin
“Arguably the best piece of literature American science fiction has yet produced.” ―Chicago Sun-Times
One of the more interesting books I've read. It's hard to give a simple review on this book, and frankly, others have already given superb synopsis style reviews. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Charles Teague (Chip)
New Sun is Gene Wolfe's "masterwork," but if it seems a bit daunting I felt that Long Sun was more accessible, certainly not as dark. Read morePublished 11 days ago by daniel f
Easily my new favorite Sci Fi AND Fantasy series. Wolfe's use of phantasmagoric creatures, the dying earth setting, and bizarre reappropriations of human language are fiercely... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Michael_RS
"That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin." The poignancy of this passage, which appears several times throughout the work, was one of the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Peter Carrier
I love Wolf's writing. The story could get a little out of hand at times, but who am I to judge. Overall good read that keeps you entertained.Published 2 months ago by Daniel Ali