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Publisher's Summary

The Sword of the Lictor is the third volume in Wolfe's remarkable epic, chronicling the odyssey of the wandering pilgrim called Severian, driven by a powerful and unfathomable destiny, as he carries out a dark mission far from his home.
Listen to more in the Book of the New Sun series.
©1982 Gene Wolfe (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Darwin8u on 01-13-13

Shone brilliant @ times, but muted in the middle

Not a usual Science Fantasy reader, I approached this The Book of the New Sun tetralogy with no slight hesitation, but it came highly recommended from a friend whose judgement I trust. I loved the first half (Shadow of the Torturer and the Claw of the Conciliator). The third book however just didn't do it for me. It was brilliant at times, but more muted in certain middle sections and occasionally it almost seemed phoned-in. I have enough faith in Wolfe and the reputation of this work to finish, but if I had started with book three, I might have given the rest of the series a pass.

Still, I think Wolfe brings more to genre writing than most SF/fantasy authors, so I probably need to cut him a little slack. My expectations after the first two novels was pretty high and I'm almost certainly judging him against über-high standards which he set with his earlier New Sun novels.

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Doug D. Eigsti on 01-10-13

Become a Seeker for Truth and Penitence

This is a review of the four volume THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN (TBNS) by Gene Wolfe; which traces the coming of age of Severian, once a member of The Order of the Seekers for Truth and Penitence.

In printed form the earlier works of Gene Wolfe can be quite challenging and this is the quintessential Wolfe novel. The esoteric language employed forces your eyes to slow down and read with great care. So many of the words, while supposedly all authentic English words, are unfamiliar that looking up at least a handful of them is necessary to understand the text. As a result, the reader’s mind has time to explore Severian’s world as the protagonist himself is doing. The printed books are heavy in the hand and the weight of the pages fore and aft serve as constant reminders of what has come before, and what is yet to be.

The most telling observation I can give about the audio book is that it transforms a massive tome into a much more personal narrative. As an audio book TBNS takes on a less intimidating, much more intimate and even more friendly character. The inexorable pacing of the narrator, Jonathan Davis, does not permit pauses for reflection, or speculation, the story plows on, without pausing to try to pronounce a word, without going back to regain the flow of the plot after a difficult flashback. And it is just fine.

Jonathan Davis is a most excellent narrator for TBNS. His voice has a deep calming quality that is well suited to recounting Severian’s story. He gives each character their own individual voice. He gives a fine performance ranking this among my favorite audio books. I can recommend all four of the volumes of TBNS here on Audible without reservation.

Note: The short afterwards that are part of each of the four volumes are not included in the audio versions. They should be read to get the full effect intended by the author Gene Wolfe.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By N A on 06-04-18

bit of a soggy middle

excellent book want to read more in the series. Just the characters are not as interesting as the earlier dorkas, agia and doctor talos. luckily some of those characters make a return so that is welcome. were a few part where I switched off in the story comma there's a section in the middle which is completely different from the normal narrative. There are a few sections where it takes you out of the story. But it does pick up towards the end so stay with it. good outline of the attachment to the claw.

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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Peter Bondy on 04-20-15

Sublime

This is simply wonderful writing that creates an enigmatic and mysterious world in our distant future. The human condition is explored in a totally original and complex world.

It is read expertly with finesse that brings the atmosphere to life and helps bring clarity to the prose.

As you can tell, I enjoyed this book and series immensely!

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