To say that Gene Wolfe is a difficult author is both a compliment and a knock. In Shadow of the Torturer, the first in a four book series known as The Book of the. The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume of the four-volume “One expects any book from Gene Wolfe to be a classic — and here it is. Gene Wolfe’s science fiction is neither operatic nor scientifically accurate; his In the early part of the first novel, “The Shadow of the Torturer,”.

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The stranger is a Giant, Baldanders by name. It’s almost like reading poetry. Indeed, Agilus demands his freedom from Severian, blaming him for entrapping him into this plight.

Not much happens in this first of four books, but it was an easy read, immersive and beautiful. Yeah, but you plan to live longer than a year or two, right? Dazed and confused, the woman follows Severian and Agia.

Swords are the main weapons, and poverty is the overwhelming state of most people’s tye, even though private business in the form of little shops and taverns are thriving.

It is a singular series. By placing the ending of the story in the beginning, Wolfe has essentially challenged his audience to come along for the ride just to see how the lead character gets to where he is.

At this point, Severian is cast out of the citidel and left to wander the shattered land alone with only his cloak and sword Terminus Est. Instead of giving into love at first sight, they fight it as long as they can, making it that much sweeter when the narrator finally ‘wins’.

The Shadow of the Torturer – Wikipedia

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. It ehadow me with the impression that Wolfe had hit the thesaurus hard but with an erudite discrimination. Before they can decide on a course, the pair stumble on Dr Talos and Baldanders, just starting a performance, aided by a voluptuous and ripely beautiful woman named Jolenta. As I say, we are given so much reassurance that Severian will survive, in a narrative where death is simply everywhere, we can concentrate with greater avidity on his story, and try to work out why his society makes a guild of torturers necessary.


I tge it first back in the ’70s and found that I have very little memory of it. Severian encounters the rebel exultant, Vodalus, saves his life even, and romantically and in ignorance is there a difference between the two states?

Cancel reply Or login to FanLit torthrer He goes on to perform a couple of executions, meet a mysterious troupe of travelling players, escape underground man-apes who have mutated from their human origins through “eons of struggles in the dark” and take part in a cannibalistic ritual which confers the substance of a dead person’s mind to the eater.

The Claw of the Conciliator. Along with The Dying Earth by Jack Vance, the book that set the standard for the “science fantasy” epic. You are commenting using your Twitter account. Perhaps I just got my hopes up too high. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Thin Air Richard K Morgan 8.

Even those words I wasn’t familiar with seemed clear by their use. In essence you must learn to accept the one aspect if you are going to love the other as they are two sides of the same coin.

Dorcas later identifies egne as being for her. There are certain books that can be considered life-changing experiences.

The Shadow of the Torturer

It’s a post-historic future-history written in the style of a memoir by a member of the Torturer’s Guild, if you can wrap your head around that, and it’s so incredibly well executed you wonder if you’re reading too much into it. Your email address will not be published. The reader isn’t given shados of the history and religion lessons etc.

If you’re missing some of our book cover images, please pause ad block. It goes so much deeper than the review even implies. Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.

Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer

Severian, when we meet him is an apprentice torturer Hell if I’m going to read the other three books, Gene. I will give his fans Wolfe has an almost legendary status amongst fellow authors; Gaiman called him ‘a ferocious intellect’, Swanwick said he’s “the greatest writer in the English language alive today”, and Disch called this series “a tetralogy of couth, intelligence, and suavity”. Wolfe’s mockery is so on-the-nose that it is indistinguishable from other cliche genre fantasy.


Perhaps when night closes our eyes there is less order than we believe. Also, while The Shadow of the Torturer won the World fantasy award in and has the trappings of fantasy young man, long sword, mysterious destinysurely it’s really science fiction? Perhaps, indeed, it is this lack of order we perceive as darkness, a randomization of the waves of energy like a seathe fields of energy like a farm that appear to our deluded eyes — set by light in an order of which they themselves are incapable — to be the real world.

The Shadow of the Torturer ends inconclusively. I was sorely disappointed. There are seven volumes total in the series so far. When a trickle of blood emerges under the door, he calls Masters Gurloes and Palaemon and surrenders himself.

I’m reading a book for story.

Sure, I missed a lot of what was happening by doing this, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have gotten much more by reading every flowery word. It was sorrowful and introspective and I loved that. I have read the series annually for more than 20 years and each year wonder at the efficiency Wolfe achieved whilst conveying a great depth to the character and setting.

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf book review

His book The Fifth Head of Cerberus has been widely praised. I’d worried that Severian’s occupation would mean endless gruesome descriptions of torture, but this isn’t the case at all — apart from a leg-peeling, a excoriated dog, and Severian’s few beheadings, Wolfe steers clear of the grisly, and manages to make his torturer-hero if not sympathetic, then definitely charismatic.

A friend at work where people ought to know about such things tipped me off to Gene Wolf and told me to start here.

On his way he encounters the twins Agia tje Agiluswho drive him to an arcane duel on the Sanguinary Field; the acting troupe of Dr.

They make sure never to to “take in” those who are zhadow, those who simply enjoy giving pain. Then “do not trust the text farther than you can throw it, if that far.