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The Shadow of the Torturer (1980)

by Gene Wolfe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Solar Cycle (1), Het Boek van de Nieuwe Zon (1), The Book of the New Sun (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,442815,272 (3.83)3 / 103
The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume epic, the tale of a young Severian, an apprentice to the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession--showing mercy towards his victim.

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» See also 103 mentions

English (77)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (80)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
This is far more interesting conceptually than it actually is to read.

I DNFed at 197 pages because there isn't a single soul that I give a damn about in this book and I was tired of touring his universe. ( )
1 vote Zoes_Human | Aug 30, 2022 |
kino ( )
  suzdalcat | Aug 27, 2022 |
I like the prose style. ( )
  benkaboo | Aug 18, 2022 |
This was a very interesting read. Gene Wolfe creates an absolutely fascinating world on the page with each word he chooses - and he chooses well. He writes excellent prose. My only problem is with how the female characters are written, an all-too-common problem in fantasy and science fiction. In this case, I'm not entirely sure if this is a feature or a bug, so to speak. I also think that it's a pretty slow read, so I chose not to continue on to the sequel. ( )
  iewi | May 31, 2022 |
I like Gene Wolfe's books and I respect them a lot. I've always considered the fact that I don't love them (except maybe the Death of Dr Island collection) as a failure on my part. I don't get emotionally caught up in them.

Shadow is picaresque, not as humorous as many, but not as grim as it might seem given the point of view is that of a journeyman torturer. The setting is (or appears to be, since this Wolfe) a far future Dying Earth set up, combined with a Gormeghastian massive citadel that the protagonist barely gets to the edge of in the first book. Companions are collected, but I make not assumptions about how many will still be there with the next volume.

Like a speaker who needs no introduction, the Book of the New Sun is a series that needs no recommendation. Read it. ( )
2 vote ChrisRiesbeck | May 17, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wolfe, GeneAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Desmond, William OlivierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Domènech, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ewyck, Annemarie vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heinz, ReinhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindgren, NilleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maitz, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Masera, RubénTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamás, GáborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vainikainen-Uusitalo… JohannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A thousand ages in thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun
First words
It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future.
To those who have preceded me in the study of the posthistoric world, and particularly to those collectors - too numerous to name here - who have permitted me to examine artifacts surviving so many centuries of futurity, and most especially to those who have allowed me to visit and photograph the era's few extant buildings, I am truly grateful. G.W. (Appendix)
That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.
All of which is only to say that there exists between them [beast handlers] and the animals they bring to the pits a bond much like that between our clients and ourselves. Now I have traveled much farther from our tower, but I have found always that the pattern of our guild is repeated mindlessly [...] in the societies of every trade, so that they are all of them torturers, just as we. His quarry stands to the hunter as our clients to us; those who buy to the tradesman; the enemies of the Commonwealth to the soldier; the governed to the governors; men to women. All love that which they destroy. [32]
"But now, dear friends," he rose and dusted his trousers, "now we are come to the place, as some poet aptly puts it, where men are pulled apart by their destinations." [Dr Talos, 377]
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Wikipedia in English (1)

The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume epic, the tale of a young Severian, an apprentice to the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession--showing mercy towards his victim.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Cloîtré depuis l'enfance entre les murs austères de la tour Matachine, l'apprenti bourreau Sévérian ignore tout des ruelles bruissantes de Nessus et, au-delà, des merveilles et dangers de la planète Teur... jusqu'au jour où il est témoin d'une scène mystérieuse dans la nécropole. Sa rencontre avec la châtelaine Thècle, qui attend sa mise à la question, finit de sceller son destin. Sa vie prend alors un tournant inattendu et la brillante carrière qui lui était promise débouche finalement sur un voyage plein de surprises.
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