- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (October 31, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765316641
- ISBN-13: 978-0765316646
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,411,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Soldier of Sidon Hardcover – October 31, 2006
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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.)
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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
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In Soldier of Sidon, Latro is traveling in Egypt with his friend Muslak and Muslak's ship. They're there to sell the ships cargo and to bring Latro to Riverland (Egypt) to cure his problems. While in Egypt, Latro and Muslak are hired to explore the Nile and trace it as far as they can with the satraps soldiers and representatives. As in his adventures in Greece, some people do take advantage of Latro and others help him because of his innocence. And as always, the gods interact with Latro and guide him, sometimes though, it seems for their amusement rather than to help him.
This book is nicely crafted. There are some changes in style from Latro in the Mist; these changes though come across as if a Latro hasn't written about his life in awhile and has changed slightly. While the story itself isn't up to the level of Soldier of the Mist, I do feel that it is a good sequel to the series as a whole. The one addition I'd make is that I really wish Mr. Wolfe would have included a map of Egypt. While I'm generally familiar with Egypt, I wasn't always familiar with the locations Mr. Wolfe described. Considering everything, Soldier of Sidon is a very solid 4 star book! Don't just read this book though, read the entire series! Btw, I'm hoping that Mr. Wolfe can be "handed" another scroll and we can read more about Latro in the near future!
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.
The problem for me with identifying with The Wizard Knight was the bullying/childish mentality of Able. Wolfe proves with Soldier of Sidon that he can still write the philosophically compelling mature warrior with a perfect hand. Latro is one of his best characters, and by extension, one of the greatest characters in all of literature.
Read Herodotus, read the Soldier books (Arete is easier going the third time through, believe me), and wonder at the sheer richness of story that Wolfe has tapped in history, to its fullest potential. My only criticism isn't a real one: Wolfe better get to writing that fourth soldier book with an ending like this.