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Epiphany of the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun, #3-4)
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Epiphany of the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun #3-4 omnibus)

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,255 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The two novels combined in this omnibus (Caldé of the Long Sun and Exodus from the Long Sun) comprise the second half of Gene Wolfe's long novel, The Book of the Long Sun.
Paperback, 720 pages
Published November 4th 2000 by Orb Books (first published 2000)
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American Gods by Neil GaimanGood Omens by Terry PratchettDracula by Bram StokerThe Stand by Stephen KingThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Theological Weird Fiction
194th out of 212 books — 165 voters
Shadow & Claw by Gene WolfeSword & Citadel by Gene WolfeLitany of the Long Sun by Gene WolfeThe Urth of the New Sun by Gene WolfeLatro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe
Books for Fans of Gene Wolfe
6th out of 23 books — 4 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,048)
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Palmyrah
Be warned: this is a negative review. However, my disappointment is more in the author than in the book itself. I would have rated higher had it come from any other pen but that of Gene Wolfe.

I read this second volume of the Long Sun Cycle immediately after finishing the first. I found it confusing - more so than is usually the case with Wolfe. This is an author who likes to challenge his readers, and confusion, followed by cogitation and re-reading, is an essential part of the Gene Wolfe experi
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Mark
Whereas Litany of the Long Sun began slowly, with Silk's every move detailed in rich (and, I must admit, occasionally plodding), Wolfean prose, Epiphany of the Long Sun wrapped things up by skipping so much action that it was a bit of a disappointment. Gene Wolfe is not a writer who strives to connect all the dots for his readers, and this is part of what makes his books so good, and well worth rereading. But in this case Wolfe wasn't so much leaving questions unanswered as he was leaving gaps i ...more
Kerry
I honestly don't know how to feel about this book. In some ways it was so compelling and wonderful and in others it is SO BORING. And not, like, at different times. At the same time. I don't even know.

So much of it is pure dialogue, and he is SO TERRIBLE at writing dialogue, so how come I still like it?

I would not recommend this to anyone who has never read any Gene Wolfe. But if you have, and you know you like him, then maybe you can handle it. And think that it's great?

It was seriously either
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Paul
This tetralogy didn't grab me nearly as much as Book of the New Sun did. I noticed partway through that nothing in the book actually happened during the narrative - it was composed entirely of people sitting around after the fact and discussing it. But not in a narratively interestingly way; just a whole lot of scenes of people sitting in parlors and on benches, talking about the exciting things that had just happened. Also, fewer of the mysteries were left to mystery, and more of them were hamf ...more
Fantasy Literature
EPIPHANY OF THE LONG SUN is an omnibus that combines Caldé of the Long Sun and Exodus from the Long Sun.

A smooth speaker, naturally athletic, and an intuitive and inventive tactician, Silk may well prove to be the greatest Caldé that Viron has ever had. He even has impeccable manners. Even authors of fantasy, a genre that has created many near-perfect savior figures, run a risk when they make their heroes too good. Fortunately, Gene Wolfe’s defense against this charge is more in-depth than the t
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Aaron
My first update (posted after completing the first book in this collection) described the writing as "oblique", which might be the defining characteristic of this series as it progresses. Characters show up as multiple versions of themselves; events begin to unfold without our witnessing them, only to be recounted in conversation pages later (very Faulknerian); and then the narration shifts perspective, demanding a reexamination of countless earlier scenes. This is not easy reading, and its hard ...more
Lady
I've read the whole series now, and it's surprisingly entertaining - page-turning and a nice exercise in world-building. It is more than a little disappointing, however, that every major female character is (literally) either a nun or a whore. Wolfe actually devotes some time to developing at least a few of them into fully-rounded people, but still: nuns and whores. Sigh.
Liviu
a complete reread of the Long Sun which is even more satisfying than on first read; while I have read (again and again) parts of these four books on and off across the years, I never reread the Short Sun books so far and I have only vague reminiscences
Adam
Going to be speaking in a lot of generalities in this review, since I don't want to spoil too much for those who haven't read it.

Here we go.

Hell yeah. I was hoping Book of the Long Sun would be a worthy follow up to Book of the New Sun. Was not disappointed.

Let's get the obvious out of the way - BOTNS is my favorite work of science fiction or fantasy of all time, even above Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, or Solaris, and this sort-of sequel series is not at all on the same level as i
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Eric
Dec 14, 2010 Eric rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
I really, really disliked the ending of this. Fascinating world, fascinating concept, but the last half (fourth book of the series) dropped his "covering every day in minute detail" approach, and started jumping around... skipping over all the action and leaving me largely confused and lost. I understand that approach being used when you're in the middle of something intense or sudden, but... really, I don't know how to accurately describe how utterly lost, confused and sad I felt as I finished ...more
John
The final two books of Gene Wolfe's expansive Book of the Long Sun series, these works round off the tale of Patera Silk and the colorful inhabitants of Viron in a most satisfying fashion. Wolfe's episodic and elliptical approach to the narrative becomes more pronounced as the narrative nears its end, even as the reason for that approach becomes clearer. These works nicely draw together both the narrative and thematic threads that Wolfe has developed throughout the series. In particular, I was s ...more
John
A continuation of "The Book of the Long Sun", which I reviewed earlier, this continues the story of a priest become revolutionary.

Gene Wolfe can write character voices. There's a lot of dialogue in these books, and sometimes there's not a lot of tags, like "he said, she said". It's still obvious who's speaking. After a couple words, you know if it's the always polite(politeness so sharp it can be a weapon) Patera Silk, the slang-dealing thief Auk, or the constantly hemming and hedging Patera Rem
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Gary
If Gene Wolfe is the kind of thing you like, you'll like this kind of thing. Many (most?) of Wolfe's books are of the solar hero genre. Often that hero is of a messianic type. In this story, the hero is close to a Catholic version of a Moses figure. I'm not Catholic, I'm Jewish by background and more sort of a Whiteheadian/Kauffman/Rav Cook ian in philosophy/theology outlook, but the characters that Wolfe draws are so rich in texture and reflection that I just love this book. At the same time, i ...more
John Lawson
Gene Wolfe is a consistently good writer, but this series is oddly rambling. The narrative is constantly being broken by pointless tangents and conversations, as characters get together to dissect/discuss/debate the previous action in minute detail, nearly to a Socratic degree. In a junior author, this is usually evidence that they feel the storyline is too complex and need these interludes to help the reader "catch up," but Wolfe is sufficiently seasoned that I assume this exposition was intent ...more
Davis
The last half of the Book of the Long Sun was as good as the first. The characterization continued to be excellent, and I particularly enjoyed watching Maytera Mint and Quetzal’s characters as they grew, not to mention Silk himself. I also enjoyed Wolfe’s exploration of religion, specifically Catholicism and pagan gods, and the idea of a truly righteous character living in a realistic world. The themes of good and evil were presented quite originally, not as outside forces but as embodied in us ...more
Katie
Jul 09, 2007 Katie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: scifi
I just really like Gene Wolfe. He messes with your mind in such a good way. I really enjoyed this book, and while the end was satisfying, it was also heartbreaking. Also, I advise you not to read the second to last section, called "The Defense" until you've otherwise finished the book and let it settle. It doesn't really clear much up, it just leaves the ending emotionally less distilled. It is like a voiceover at the end of a good movie; it can't really add anything.
Anyway, I like these books,
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Julian South
great ideas and in general I adore Gene Wolfe's science fantasy and his diction is extreme and fascinating. But I do find that he struggles to build a climax or to write out the action in a sufficiently engaging fashion for the end of a four book series.

Still, a beautifully conceived world, with some ties to the (far more involving, in my opinion) Book of the New Sun.
Timothy
The Long Sun series was very difficult to read for me, more so than the New Sun series. I mean that in a good way.

There are a number of characters from the first half of this series that you will see develop as they are called to new challenges and destinies. I especially love the journey of Maytera Marble, from a humble sister, to a general in war and strategy.

Auk is another fun transformation. The man who taught Silk to burglar becomes a prophet in his own right, and the hand of a blind god.

A
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Bryan Crossland
At some points there are pacing issue and the narrative confuses but those are small issues with a whole that was very engaging and characters that were well developed. Really enjoyed this series and intend to continue the Short Sun series and even go back in time to read the New Sun series.
Toby
Disappointing beyond belief
Julian
The worst thing I could ever bring myself to say about Gene Wolfe is that he ruins science fiction for you when you read him. After the Solar Cycle, no other sci-fi book will probably ever hold my attention or imagination the way he can. No one else in the genre and probably no one else in fiction writes like he does, even at times himself. The ways in which this book differ from the Book of the New Sun are pretty numerous, but it's not a whit less ambitious or less fucking awesome.

read the shi
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Sean Campbell-brennan
Another amazing book by Gene Wolfe! This book can really be read as an epic SciFi/Fantasy, and as a sort of theological or philosophical musing. Questions and mysteries abound, often with multiple interpretations seemingly correct. That is to say, there are different ways of understanding what's going on that all seem to "fit" within the story. Pay close attention to detail on this one. I'm still thinking about it days after finishing, and will surely read it again. Now on to the Short Sun!
Fredd
I truly enjoyed all 4 books in Gene Wolfe's The Book of the Long Sun (as much, if not more than, The Book of the New Sun), but would be very hard pressed to say why.
With only 3 books left in the Solar Cycle (The Book of the Short Sun), I think I'm imagining some moment of epiphany, where at some point in this massive series, something clicks and i "get" it.
Even if that doesn't happen, I will have thoroughly enjoyed these books.
Jake Langthorn
Somewhere along the way, this book lost it's direction. Or maybe I just don't grasp where it's going. I love the story telling and the characters, but... it does seem to be wandering in the wilderness.

Wolfe is such a beautiful writer, and these stories are beautiful, but they don't quite deliver, and I'm not sure why that is. I enjoyed them, but for parts, they did not grab me as much as the beginning of the series did.
Panzagl
After reveling in slowly revealing the world building over the first 3 books, the last book (last half of this book) goes into full-blast plot wrap up mode. Still good, but seems like some threads were relatively unexplored compared to the depth shown earlier.
Christopher
When I was in high school, I lived on Gene Wolfe. He's not as great as some people say (that is, he's not "the greatest living writer in English today"), but he is damn good, and I've never read a book of his which I didn't enjoy.

The LONG SUN series is fantastic. Who couldn't love a series of books with revelations from God, giant spaceships, robots, space-vampires, and a talking bird?
Alexander
There's a very interesting setting and complex characters here, with a short core story obfuscated by natural language writing and re-explaining the same minor events over and over. I can see why some consider it a phenomenal work, but for me it just became hard to read and without enough depth to really enjoy. There are all these really interesting pieces that just never get explored!
Malini Sridharan
I was really excited about reading the second half of this cycle, but now I am just bored, bored, bored. I don't feel like finishing this book at all, even though I only have about 100 pages left. i just don't care.
Paul Nash
Gene Wolfe is simply one of the best novelists we have -- read the entire series, as there are layers within layers, and a subtle, haunting quality that grows and develops as the story continues.
David Neuman
I really wanted to like this book more but unfolding story occurred at an unnecessarily slow pace with pages of irrelevant chatter. None the less, I plan on reading the last books of the series.
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Gene Wolfe is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He is noted for his dense, allusive prose as well as the strong influence of his Catholic faith, to which he converted after marrying a Catholic. He is a prolific short story writer and a novelist, and has won many awards in the field.

The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is given by SFWA for ‘lifetime achievement in science fict
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More about Gene Wolfe...

Other Books in the Series

The Book of the Long Sun (4 books)
  • Nightside the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun, #1)
  • Lake of the Long Sun
  • Caldé of the Long Sun
  • Exodus from the Long Sun
The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) Shadow & Claw (The Book of the New Sun #1-2) Sword & Citadel (The Book of the New Sun, #3-4) The Claw of the Conciliator (The Book of the New Sun #2) The Sword of the Lictor (The Book of the New Sun #3)

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