Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun

My Great 2016 Re-read has led me to the Book of the New Sun tetralogy. This is only my second time reading through it unlike say Lord of the Rings so it’s a fun trip and I’ve forgotten so much.

The Book of the New Sun is about a torturer named Severian (in his world there’s a guild of torturers and they seem to operate as a combination of torturers, executioners, and gaolers) as he journeys around the world. He has with him a brown book, a sword named Terminus Est, and a mystical gem called The Claw of the Conciliator.

The Claw grants him strange and unpredictable abilities. Basically, you touch things with the Claw and stuff happens. There’s some kind of overplot (mostly right now it’s about Severian securing a position in a new city as a torturer and his attempts to return the Claw to the rightful owners). The writing is really weird and hallucinogenic. I described it to some friends as Jorge Luis Borges crossed with Glen Cook and I think I still stand by it.


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