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The Urth of the New Sun: The sequel to 'The Book of the New Sun' Paperback – November 15, 1997


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The Urth of the New Sun: The sequel to 'The Book of the New Sun' + Sword & Citadel: The Second Half of 'The Book of the New Sun' + Shadow & Claw: The First Half of 'The Book of the New Sun'
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Product Details

  • Series: New Sun (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; 1st edition (November 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312863942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312863944
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Severian, formerly a member of the Torturers' Guild and now Autarch of Urth, travels beyond the boundaries of time and space aboard the Ship of Tzadkiel on a mission to bring the New Sun to his dying planet. Wolfe demonstrates his mastery of both style and content in this complex, multilayered story of one man's eternal quest. Containing enough background material to make it accessible to series newcomers, this sequel to the four-volume Book of the New Sun is highly recommended. JC
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The Urth of the New Sun is a fine coda to what is arguable the finest piece of literature American science fiction has yet produced, the four-volume Book of the New Sun."--Chicago Sun-Times

"Gene Wolfe's new book soars, falls free, runs like the river that runs through it from universe to universe, between life and death and life again. The groundnote of it all is human pain, so that this fantasy has the weight of vision."--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Gene Wolfe's four-volume magnum opus, The Book of the New Sun, is one of the modern masterpieces of imaginative literature--an evocation of a world so far in the future that magic and technology, poetry and science, are indistinguishable,a world heavy with time but yet bereft of hope, a world brought to life by Mr. Wolfe's unique blend of slightly archaic diction and ever-surprising vocabulary. Readers familiar with these volumes will find much to enjoy in The Urth of the new Sun."--The New York Times

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

4.3 out of 5 stars
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An interesting mix of medieval and spec fic themes.
Notpleased
And although Wolfe does obviously tie up several loose ends in this part of the Book, he also clearly evokes Severian's bafflement at his own omnipotence.
Christopher Culver
If you've read the first 4 books of The New Sun series and enjoyed them, just buy this book right now.
Jerry Pusey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Daven on January 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
The underlying allegory in the Book of the New Sun is the story of the redemption of one man- Severian- and all men and women on Urth, as represented by him. It is an intentional irony of the story that when Severian embarks on this final odyssey he is already more than one person himself, from his experiences previously; and indeed those inside him form part of the process of saving his (and thus the Urth's) soul.

Those who read this story as a straightforward space opera will probably be puzzled and confused. However, as a spiritual pilgrimage and tale of the human condition, pain, and forgiveness, it is without parallel as far as I know in the science fiction genre (and with few parallels in any other genre).

The clever connections with Hebrew and Christian mythology continue to run beneath the surface of the story, and if it wasn't already clear from Severian's monologue in the earlier books about God being a torturer, too, it becomes evident in this book that Severian is a literary Christ figure- though one of the most bizarre and fragmented I have come across, and certainly one of the greater and so more human ones.

The delight in following this myth is only increased by Wolfe's admirable, unshakeable dedication to real science. The evolution of the even more fantastic part of the New Sun Universe shown to us in this additional novel continues to be hinted at and explained in terms of the real world, though shrouded in myth and awe.

Those who fail to understand the strength of the ending would be well advised to go back to the earlier novels and re-read the script of the play Severian performs in the Autarch's gardens. In fact, the entire series improves with re-readings, as it has obviously been cross-written throughout- no mean feat when the last book is written so long after the first four are theoretically complete.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Leighland Feinman on November 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Urth of the New Sun is a coda to the Book of the New Sun, so going into it one has to expect a few things:

1) A story that builds heavily on what has gone before- this book is not for newcomers to this world! Read New Sun first.

2) Uncomplicated plots- this book is about half a story. Don't set your expectations too high.

However, if you can look at Urth of the New Sun getting past these first two hurdles, this book is the key that unlocks the secrets of the Book of the New Sun. Insight is provided on many questions left unanswered in the original tetralogy, and especially we learn a lot about Severian's character.

This isn't quite the Severian of New Sun, but it's still someone who has grown from there; still questionably insane, still the product of his society. Some more information is provided on the world.

All in all, the book is enjoyable, especially if you feel like you missed some major element of the Book of the New Sun. Urth of the New Sun isn't an incredible read, but it definitely filled me with some flashes of insight that made it well worth reading.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Andrea H. on July 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
I finished Gene Wolfe's "The Urth of the New Sun" about a day and a half ago; after sorting out my impressions to write this review, I would say that it seemed like "Urth" should have been all the 4-volume "Book of the New Sun" was...but it wasn't. But then, it's hard to top a masterpiece, which "The Book of the New Sun" certainly is.
My history as a Gene Wolfe reader is torturous. I read the first two volumes and felt like I was watching paint dry. Four years later, out of curiosity, I bought volumes three and four and found that my opinion of Wolfe had changed completely. His writing in "The Book of the New Sun" is strange, heartbreaking, mind-bending, and above all emotionally involving and obscurely moving to an extent perhaps no other author evokes in me. While I would never claim to have completely understood any event in any of its four volumes, I know they were awesome--truly deserving every word of praise they've been given.
Obviously, I had high expectations for "The Urth of the New Sun," and I was disappointed to find that they weren't all fulfilled. Severian has turned infuriating in this book, both in his pontifications and his occasional thick-headedness (I know something's wrong when I can figure out what's going on and he can't), and Wolfe's writing is no longer so emotional. Moreover, though I was gratified that "Urth" tied up many of its predecessors' loose ends, I felt that it perhaps explained too much at the large scale, while leaving many minor points infuriatingly inexplicable. (Can someone explain Gunnie/Burgundofara's history to me?
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amy on October 1, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Urth of the New Sun" has the same strength and depth of "Book of the New Sun." It has exciting action scenes, bittersweet love interrests, and a thought-provoking (mind boggling) scientific foundation. BUT...like the other 4 parts, it lacks closure. Up until the last page, Wolf's dynamic story line and writing style kept me glued to the book, but when I finished the last paragraph, I couldn't help feeling robbed. If you've read "The Book of the New Sun," you can relate. Only this time, you know there won't be a sequel. The Beginning and the Middle were definitely worth it, but just don't expect a big Conclusion. The story just sort of wears itself out, and doesn't provide any sense of emotional satisfaction for the reader or for poor Severian. But the book WAS very very gripping and I would definitely recommend it.
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