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Soldier of Sidon Paperback – Bargain Price, December 10, 2007

4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Latro Series

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Paperback, Bargain Price, December 10, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Latro, the amnesiac visionary hero of Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete, reaches the Egypt known to Herodotus in Wolfe's splendid historical fantasy. Wounded in battle, Latro has only one day's worth of memory and must write down his experiences so he will know who he is every morning. In compensation, he's able to see gods and supernatural beings and does not distinguish them from the mortals around him. Gaps in the record and Wolfe's Haggardesque device of the manuscript found in a jar make Latro the most postmodern of unreliable narrators, aware that he's writing a text, uncertain of its meaning and unable to keep its entirety in his head. For all Wolfe assures us that ancient Egypt is not mysterious, Latro's journey makes up a leisurely, dreamlike, haunted house of a novel, which brilliantly immerses the reader in the belief systems of the time, drifting in and out of the everyday and spirit worlds until the two become indistinguishable. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The third novel about Spartan soldier Latro, cursed to forget each day's events, which necessitates faithful diary keeping (hence, the form the Latro novels assume), takes him to Egypt. Wolfe again makes his uneducated protagonist credibly eloquent about what happens and whom he encounters, which is particularly important here because Egypt is the classical world's California, where anything can happen and usually does. The long wait for the latest Latro has been well rewarded. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (December 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765316706
  • ASIN: B0048BPG3S
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,967 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a brilliant Gene Wolfe novel. If you have ever enjoyed a Gene Wolfe novel, you will probably enjoy this book a great deal; if you've read the earlier Latro novels, you must read this book (if you haven't, don't read this one until you're done with the first two).

Wolfe is 20 years older than the last time he took us into the world of the ancient mercenary Latro, cursed to forget each day the previous day's events, blessed (or cursed) to speak to the gods, the monsters, and the dead that shape the everyday world of his past. Have those years changed Wolfe's writing? Yes. He's less tricky for no reason than in SOLDIER OF ARETE, and the bare bones of the writing are possibly better, more spare, more lovely. It's still deep and wise and strange, but it's also one of the more compelling fantastic swords-and-battles-and-magic adventure tales in years (if you wanted to know what KING SOLMON'S MINES by Nabokov & Herodotus would be like, this is for you).

My only complaint is that Wolfe teases us mercilessly with the end (there will be more Latro, we must hope), and I miss Io & Pindar.

This is a marvel of a book, and Wolfe is a marvel of a writer.
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A Gene Wolfe novel is always worth reading. I found "Soldier in the Mist" riveting as well as, "Solder of Arete", but found the third installment, "Soldier of Sidon" not up to the visceral, philosophic, symbolic, and sheer enjoyment provided in the previous two books. I was ecstatic when I discovered the third installment would take place in Egypt, but none of the ancillary characters involved my interest, or much of my empathy or concern. Latro seemed sadly diminished, more "leaden" than capturing my interest. His interactions with the other characters were "wooden" and didn't elict much development in discovering himself, or even concern with his plight. His involvement with Egyptian gods was also not as fascinating and plot developing as in the previous novels. Mostly, Latro's introspective thoughts in this installment failed to move the story to anything more than a hint that there would be another installment! Wolfe's writing, so beautifully evocative elsewhere, seemed formulaic, not moving Latro's story to new heights of understanding, wonder, interest,and involvement. Worth the read, but not on par with the previous installments. Latro does not need to find "Falcata", as much as his "spirit".
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As a huge Wolfe fan, it was always an object of some disappointment to me that the open-ended, episodic glimpses of the soldier Latro seemed, ironically, to be forgotten in the wake of his other novels. Days turned into months, and years, and even approached that most daunting of milestones ... decades. Had Wolfe forgotten his early plans for the amnesiac hero?

I had always been of the opinion (after a re-reading or two) that Latro was in fact an avatar of Pleistorus/Aries, who had been missing from his temple for some time in Soldier of Arete, (and was also revealed to be an incarnation of Ahura Mazda ... and it's only a hop skip and a jump from Ahura Mazda to the God of the Judaic and Christian systems). I was quite eager to see if my suspicions that Latro was a fallen divinity would be instantiated (or to see if Latro's increasing hatred of war would lead to a Christian passivity that would explicate, in bizarre parable form, the change in attitude from the old testament vengeance to the new testament forgiveness of the monotheistic divinity)

I didn't get that in Soldier of Sidon, but I did get a brilliant novel. In the years that have passed, Wolfe has become more econimical, and perhaps less overtly confusing and more satisfying on an initial reading here than in many of his books. He hasn't lost the essence of Latro, and this is what I feared most, for Latro has always been a good "man" who never has enough information to make meaningful judgements. Sometimes he may be right ... and other times he can be misled. This moral dichotomy is sublime, but at the heart of this novel is the wonderful picture of Egypt and its gods - coupled with the basic tragedy of Latro's condition, this is compelling indeed.
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I've waited twenty years for this story. I needed closure. Thank you, Mr. Wolfe. It was worth the wait.

We rejoin Latro, the brave wounded Soldier of the Great King. We learn that he found his way home to Italy with his friends from Sidon. We also learn that he is not happy with home and hearth, and finds himself still driven to 'remember as other men do'. He leaves his wife behind and journeys to Egypt in search of help.

Wolfe uses Latro and his friends to lay out threads of information that the reader slowly weaves into a tapestry of ancient Egypt. Nobody does this better. And in Latro Wolfe has his most interesting hero, as the gods of Egypt can attest (his weighing is my favorite part of the book). Tho' Latro can't remember yesterday he rediscovers his own bravery, his own moral compass over and over. He may not recall yesterday, but he knows right from wrong, and tho' he knows fear he learns again and again that he can face it. Latro is a brave, good man. A hero, willing to fight gods, demons or men. But as I read I feel more genuine sorrow for this hero than I'd believe possible. It's like seeing an old friend, lost and alone. You're happy to see him, but so sorry for his troubles.

Mr. Wolfe, neither one of us can wait another 20 years for yet another Latro book. This ending did not provide the necessary closure. So...get busy, por favor. Thank you sir, may we have another?
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