Jeremy Kohlman's Reviews > The Shadow of the Torturer

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe
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's review
May 07, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: own, fantasy, easton-press-owned
Read from May 04 to June 05, 2010

Wolfe writes a very curious mixture of fantasy and scifi in his "Book of the New Sun" series (which begins with Shadow of the Torturer). On the surface, it is straight forward fantasy novel, however, the story is set in the far far future of Earth (a.k.a. "Urth"). Thus, it leads to some rather interesting allusions as to the Earth's future history (yes the oxymoron is intentional). In the story, their ancestry clearly had vast knowledge of technology, space travel, and so forth. Yet at some point, all this knowledge has been lost, and the people are cast back into a form of dark age. Sort of a post-apocalyptic story eons removed from the event. So far removed that no one even recalls the apocalypse, just that centuries ago, something happened, and it permanently changed the face of the "Urth".

It is clear that "Shadow" is not intended to be a stand alone novel in any way. It is only setting the stage for the stories to come. If you have no intention of reading any of the sequels, you'll be very disappointed with this book. There are no loose ends tied up and no conclusions drawn. However, since the second story in the series (Claw of the Conciliator) is the most famous, and most recognized, this is understandable and to be expected. {The two books are even often bound together as one, published under the title "Shadow and Claw".}

Therefor, it is difficult to give a fully developed review of a story yet resolved. I am intrigued, however, and am reading more to see where Wolfe's path leads.

Stay tuned for more to come when I finish the next installment!

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Reading Progress

05/04/2010 page 19
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