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Soldier of Sidon (Latro #3)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  977 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Latro forgets everything when he sleeps. Writing down his experiences every day and reading his journal anew each morning gives him a poignantly tenuous hold on himself, but his story's hold on readers is powerful indeed. The two previous novels, combined in Latro in the Mist (Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete) are generally considered classics of contemporary fanta ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 10th 2007 by Tor Books (first published October 2006)
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Dec 04, 2012 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gene Wolfe’s third volume of the Soldier series is divorced from the first two in several ways. The most obvious is the fact that it was written 17 years after the last volume, leaving quite a cliffhanger for contemporary readers (and actually no indication that there would even be a sequel). The other is the fact that even in-story the events occur at a significant remove from those that transpired in Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete. As Sidon opens we find that Latro has been living ba ...more
Aaron Francis
Jun 05, 2008 Aaron Francis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I were Gene Wolfe I would never get any writing done, because I would be stopping every two paragraphs to high five myself and punch the sky and yell HOLY CRAP I AM SO AWESOME HOW DO I EVEN DO IT

Four stars because it was easier to read than the first two. Is this guy going soft in his old age? I did not feel challenged; in fact I felt kinda spoon-fed. Good thing i was being spoon-fed FUCKING AWESOME

Aug 11, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there," was L.P. Hartley's nostalgia-fraught opening line in the novel, The Go-Between. That quality of foreignness, when well captured and faithfully presented, is what ensorcels the devoted reader of historical novels. Its noticeable absence -- as when some medieval captain of archers orders his men to "ready, aim, fire!" -- jars the aficionado's anachronism detector, and harshly cancels the spell.

In Soldier of Sidon, Gene Wolfe's long
Dec 24, 2007 Wendy rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I actually debated a bit whether to give this book three stars or four, because while it's very good in a lot of ways, it's also very frustrating in some.

First, the good bits. Gene Wolfe provides a fascinating depiction of the ancient world (primarily Egypt and Nubia), and a very interesting narrator: Latro, because of an old head wound and/or a god's curse, has no long term memory. He forgets everything while he sleeps, and so he keeps a scroll with him in which he jots down accounts of events
Apr 26, 2008 Reed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long, long time since Wolfe's wonderful pair of novels--Soldier in the Mist and Soldier of Arete--came out and dazzled me to no end. Wolfe's tremendous knowledge of ancient lands, his unique take on a most unreliable narrator, Latro the soldier with no long term memory (the complete opposite from Severian in the Book of the New Sun who cannot forget), and a unique take on ancient mythology. I simply LOVED those books.

20 or so years later, along comes a continuation of the Latro serie
Perry Whitford
Nov 13, 2013 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Latro, somewhat surprisingly and years after his last appearance (in publishing terms, at least), is back, this time in Egypt and Nubia, nominally on a reconnaissance mission for the Persian satrap, but essentially still on his quest to reclaim the memory he lost (or the goddess Gaia took from him) at the battle of Clay (Platea).

A unique figure in literature, Latro has no memory, yet retains all objective knowledge. He can still recall his languages, the names and purposes of things, his skills
Clay Kallam
Jul 01, 2009 Clay Kallam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Gene Wolfe wrote one of the classics of modern science fiction, the four-volume Book of the New Sun. For whatever reason, it has not been accorded the iconic status it deserves, and first, I urge any of you who have not read it to go get ‘Shadow and Claw,’ which collects the first two volumes, and read it immediately.

Wolfe’s other works, though praiseworthy, have not surprisingly fallen short of the standard set by his masterpiece, and the third volume in the Latro series is no different. ‘Soldi
Sep 20, 2011 manuti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Último libro de la temporada.

Han pasado 20 años desde que Gene Wolfe publicó la primera parte de esta serie de novelas, primero fue Soldado de la niebla y un par de años después Soldado de areté. Aún recuerdo lo bien que lo pasé leyendo esta primera novela con 15 añitos de edad, y quedando para siempre enganchado con la Grecia clásica.

En esta tercera entrega de la serie, Latro el protagonista (muy semejante al amnésico de la película Memento) remonta el río Nilo y se da un paseo por Egipto. Si n
Jan 22, 2017 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Plots to Gene Wolfe books always strike me as secondary. Yes there's a goal of sorts but the real pleasure is in the journey and the beautiful language Wolfe employs to get you there.

Here, mercenary Latro finds himself in Egypt floating southward up the Nile on a mission from Xerxes to learn and document the lands to the south (i.e. Africa). As with his adventures in Greece, Latro can't remember things from day to day and must write them down in a scroll. His head wound also has the effect of h
Oct 04, 2007 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every Wolfe book is a treasure to be savored.

This novel follows the journey of Latro, a Hellene who has been touched by the gods and forgets everything each morning when he wakes. SoS is the third book in the Latro sequence (the previous ones being _Soldier of Arete_ and _Soldier of the Mist_) so don't start off with this one.

Wolfe is an apt historian, and his descriptions of Egypt and Nubia, their people and their gods are both lively and accurate. Wolfe is such a fantastic writer. This book wa
Michael Battaglia
The first two Latro novels were not books I expected to see a sequel to. While the ending of the last novel was open-ended depending on how you interpreted it, I'm used to finishing a Gene Wolfe novel and not being totally certain of the import of what I just read, let alone whether it wrapped up all the thematic threads in a neat bow. So I'm generally perfectly content with finishing one of his novels and assuming that I've seen the end of that particular character's story, even if I don't quit ...more
Douglas Milewski
Mar 28, 2013 Douglas Milewski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gene Wolfe continues his soldier series with a third book, Soldier of Sidon (2006). The story follows the life of Latro, a man who forgets every day, and so writes down his memories on a scroll. The book itself purports merely to be a translation from an ancient scroll from the height of the Persian Empire. It is the literary equivalent of found footage.

Being a man who loses his memory has many implications, and in this series, having a head wound means that Latro sees and interacts with gods an
Aug 13, 2008 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
Wow. After getting bogged down a couple times in the Book of the Short Sun, I was worried that Wolfe, one of my all-time favorite authors, had lost his touch. But this has that old magic! Taking place 20 or so years after Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete, this is a beautiful resurrection of one of Wolfe's most interesting characters and worlds.

For those who don't know them, these books are the "translated" journal (sort of) of a soldier, originally from ancient Rome. In the first two boo
Oct 11, 2009 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine a version of the movie "Memento" where the hero has lost his ability to remember anything for more than a short time -- only set in ancient times. That gives a taste of this novel.

It's the third in a series and I didn't read the earlier entries. But I soon caught up. The Greek or Roman soldier Latro retains his grasp on reality by writing down everything that happens to him -- because every day is a blank slate to him. He is on a quest down the Nile River to Nubia and beyond.

Latro also
Sep 07, 2011 Ethan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere between 2 and 3 stars.

It's fairly interesting, but the writing is clean to the point of blandness. There is a very high "what the fuck" factor, as stuff just happens and happens and happens. Latro (or whatever his name is; he's called by at least 4 different names throughout the book) floats from location to location, doing ... stuff.

Random dude #1: Hey Latro! Let's go rescue this guy.
Latro: Okay.
Random dude #2: Hey Latro! We need to go find this magic doodad.
Latro: Sure.
Random dude #3
A weak and disappointing finale to the Latro books. It started out strong: Latro in Egypt under Persian rule; he's there to find a cure for his memory loss. A cast of characters, almost entirely new to this book, with only several holdovers is presented. The command of the Persian satrap to Latro and company is to sail down the Nile and to explore the South, including Nubia, then to report back. Latro still sees and has converse with deities, this time Egyptian. Adventures ensue. From Wolfe's wr ...more
Apr 15, 2008 Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans, writers, anyone who loves what can be done with minial words
After reading the two preceding Latro books, ‘Solider of the Mist’ and ‘Soldier of Arete’ many years ago I was delighted to see a third book. I have just finished it and I am blown away at many levels. Wolfe’s sparse, almost minimalist prose is a delight to read and I am amazed how it manages to convey and express all that he does in seeming simplistic phrases and paragraphs. That, combined with the underlying poignancy of a soldier who forgets himself every time he sleeps and uses a scroll to k ...more
Fantasy Literature
Soldier of Sidon is the third book in Gene Wolfe’s Soldier series. Latro is a Roman mercenary who fought against the Greeks at Thermopylae. In spite of his battle prowess, he now wakes every morning with no memory of his past ever since receiving a blow to the head. Will Latro ever recover?

Gene Wolfe originally told Latro’s story in Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete, published in 1987 and 1989, respectively, and later published together in 2003. So this third installment has been a long t
Sep 05, 2012 Loraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Demons, gods, goddesses, sprites, magical familiars of sun and moon . . . if one has been touched by the gods in some way, then every ordinary action is fraught with contact. And . . . if one is a brain-damaged warrior, who has no memory of time's passage, then daily contact with these gods and spirits of the universe is even more intense. Wolfe--through his story telling--takes the reader to a time when pharaohs and warriors and civil servants and civilians believed that the gods walked amongst ...more
Oct 30, 2014 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fans of Gene Wolfe will not be disappointed, as he places us back into step with a fascinating protagonist in a fantastical historic middle east. I actually liked this novel even more than I liked the first Latro installments, maybe because by now I am familiar with how the story will be told, or maybe because it was simply more fun and had a classical "adventure quest" feel to it with it's expanded cast of characters and the idea of looking for hidden/abandoned gold mines and rescuing a kidnapp ...more
Dec 24, 2010 Ilya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is the third volume of a series about a Roman mercenary of the Achaemenid Empire who suffers from amnesia and must write down each day's events on a scroll in order to remember them the next morning; the conceit is that this book is this scroll found in a sealed jar on the bottom of Lake Nasser. In this volume the mercenary travels to Egypt and Nubia on an assignment from the Persian governor of Egypt. How could a character's name be "Binti" meaning daughter? The Arabs wouldn't conquer Egyp ...more
Feb 05, 2013 C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Torn between 3 and 4 stars on this one. It had an easier flow than the previous two, and I really enjoyed Latro's adventure, but then it just...ended. I imagine set up for a 4th book?

At this point, I'd like to know just WHO Latro is. Is he a dispossessed avatar of the gods sent to wander? Simply a pawn the gods bless as they use him to further their purposes?

As always, I like his character and that his honor shines through despite his memory loss day after day. I also liked the theme of "the h
Oct 10, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Soldier of Sidon is among the most readable of Wolfe's books, though filled with his usual indirect intrigues.

Latro continues to forget at the end of each day and his adventures continue to end when he has filled in his scroll. Yet Soldier of Sidon ends better than the previous two books in the series.

Latro's closing opinion of his returned wife -- "I think her dishonest, but she is young and willing, and besides who is not?" -- struck me as a great line, though it could have been written by any
Apr 20, 2010 Peter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, read-in-2010
Gene Wolfe has an amazing ability to evoke time and place without overburdening the reader with too much detail. Some writers of historical novels seem to try to show off their knowledge of their setting by throwing in so many details that it becomes a chore to wade through it all, enough already, just get on with the story. This is a quick read, a good deal of the story moves along based on conversations. My only complaint being that the memory problems of the title character can be a bit tires ...more
It makes me sad that there are no more Latro books, I greatly enjoyed this series and would be happy to read more. Soldier of Sidon, unlike the previous two, takes us to Egypt under Persian rule, and even beyond to the South. Most historic fiction that deals with Egypt usually shows it at the height of the age of the pharaohs; this book, however, shows a later time, Egypt under the Persians, a hundred years before Alexander the Great. Latro is at his most annoying, constantly making mistakes, wh ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gene Wolfe fans
I just loved this book. Gene Wolfe's "Soldier" books are fantastic and a refreshing take on fantasy. The Egyptian setting and mythology were fun. It was definitely a breezy and enjoyable read that was hard to put down. My only complaint is with the ending, which didn't resolve nearly as many things as I would have liked. It seemed more concerned with setting up a sequel. As long as Wolfe publishes said sequel before he dies, all will be forgiven.
Mar 13, 2008 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gene Wolfe is one of my two favorite authors. It is as much for his rewarding re-reads of his books as for his prose. The Latro series have always been difficult for me. I have a horrible sense for names and so when the narrator forgets people around him, those names become vitally important to us reconnecting the narrative. I hope to read this again soon. Re-reading the Long/Short Sun series is one of the more rewarding reading experiences I've ever had.
Shannon Appelcline
Doesn't have the magic or the mystery of the originals. In particular, the first two thirds of the book is a plod up the Nile. It does pick up toward the end, and it's certainly nice to see this character again. I'd like a bit more indication that there will be a further sequel, as things are a bit ... unresolved at the end of the book.
Jan 21, 2016 Mochnant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The running, written narrative style gave the story a spartan tone, but it worked well. The characters seemed authentic for the times, and the main character is easy to identify with: A man with no memories, trying to do the right thing.

An enjoyable read and I hope to see more in the future.
Jul 03, 2008 Zepp rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fix
What to say?
It's even weirder and more deliriously suggestive than the previous soldier books.
Incredible, that much whirlwind in so short a book.
But definitely a continuation of Latro, assuredly.
He knows his gods, what else?
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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
More about Gene Wolfe...

Other Books in the Series

Latro (3 books)
  • Soldier of the Mist
  • Soldier of Arete (Latro, #2)

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“He shook his head. "Everyone fears me, except you, Latro. When a man is respected, no one wants to plant a dagger in his back. When he is feared, everyone thinks upon it, and tests the point.” 3 likes
“He said I had been touched by a god, and that I am a holy man. I said, “If I have been touched by a god, it was only to curse me.” He nodded. “All who are touched by gods are holy.” 1 likes
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