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Books: Claw Of The Conciliator: Part 1 of 2

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imagedbcgi.jpg I know this blog seems it should be all about music but as I write these I am more inclined to just go with what is most exciting. Often, I am inspired by the word as well as the song or the beat, and at the moment all over an excellent science fiction novel from New York native Gene Wolfe. The book is his classic "Shadow & Claw" which for me was no classic when I got it but a mere curiosity that drew me in until I found I couldn't quite want to quit it.

Unlike most reviews (and I'll post another one here), I am not even done with the book. I am not trying explicate the intricacies of the story or even relate its importance. Here, as I am a bit more towards the end of the book, the first of a repackaged two volume set that condenses Wolfe's original four volumes; I find that what I want to share with you all is my wonder and joy I feel in the process. Share the sense of how precious each page turned feels because each turn past a page read is a regret for the wonders read and an apertif for those I will devour in the future mitigated by the fact that eventually, there will be no more new pages to read.

It is a rare book for me because it seemed to choose me, who had no knowing about whether it was good, bad or otherwise, and even seems to grip me now with that desire to read until my eyes grow heavy and can't support the light I need to read by. This is more than mere page-burning drama, this book is amazing and rich in details that offer few clues to what they refer to but require the mind that reads to read on and follow the clues Wolfe leaves...drawing ever deeper into a surprising, satisfying book as much about Being as it is of the beings it describes. From a future "Urth," he pens a tale that... I will simply recommend as the best science fiction that I have ever read and my favorite book of the new year-- buy it.

but if you'd prefer to hear the publisher's pitch...

Publisher Comments:
The Book of the New Sun is unanimously acclaimed as Gene Wolfe's most remarkable work, hailed as "a masterpiece of science fantasy comparable in importance to the major works of Tolkien and Lewis" by Publishers Weekly, and "one of the most ambitious works of speculative fiction in the twentieth century" by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Shadow and Claw brings together the first two books of the tetralogy in one volume:
The Shadow of the Torturer is the tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession — showing mercy toward his victim.

The Claw of the Conciliator continues the saga of Severian, banished from his home, as he undertakes a mythic quest to discover the awesome power of an ancient relic, and learn the truth about his hidden destiny.

Review:
"Arguably the finest piece of literature American science fiction has yet produced [is] the four-volume Book of the New Sun." Chicago Sun-Times

Review:
"The Book of the New Sun establishes [Wolfe's] preeminence, pure and simple....Wolfe creates a truly alien social order that the reader comes to experience from within...once into it, there is no stopping." The New York Times Book Review

Review:
"Magic stuff...a masterpiece...the best science fiction I've read in years!" Ursula K. Le Guin

Synopsis:
Gene Wolfe's science fiction masterpiece The Book of the New Sun is now available for the first time in this decade. This critically acclaimed work won both the World Fantasy and Nebula Awards. The saga centers around an orphan whose lifelong quest transforms him from ruthless monster to savior of a world.

Synopsis:
The Book of the New Sun is unanimously acclaimed as Gene Wolfe's most remarkable work, hailed as "a masterpiece of science fantasy comparable in importance to the major works of Tolkien and Lewis" by Publishers Weekly, and "one of the most ambitious works of speculative fiction in the twentieth century" by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Shadow & Claw brings together the first two books of the tetralogy in one volume:
The Shadow of the Torturer is the tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession — showing mercy toward his victim.

Ursula K. Le Guin said, "Magic stuff . . . a masterpiece . . . the best science fiction I've read in years!"

The Claw of the Conciliator continues the saga of Severian, banished from his home, as he undertakes a mythic quest to discover the awesome power of an ancient relic, and learn the truth about his hidden destiny.

"Arguably the finest piece of literature American science fiction has yet produced [is] the four-volume Book of the New Sun."--Chicago Sun-Times

"The Book of the New Sun establishes his preeminence, pure and simple. . . . The Book of the New Sun contains elements of Spenserian allegory, Swiftian satire, Dickensian social consciousness and Wagnerian mythology. Wolfe creates a truly alien social order that the reader comes to experience from within . . . once into it, there is no stopping."--The New York Times Book Review

Now that's props, enjoy the read...

Guru Amrit