The Claw of the Conciliator
Nebula Award 1981, Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel 1982. World Fantasy Award nominee 1982, Hugo Award Nominee 1982, Mythopoeic Fantasy Award nominee 1982.
Rarely has a science fiction/fantasy novel received the kind of critical acclaim that greeted Gene Wolfe's The Shadow of the Torturer, Volume One of The Book of the New Sun. Ursula K. Le Guin called it "the first volume of a masterpiece." The Claw of the Conciliator is the second volume of this momentous work.
The Book of the New Sun is set a million years in the future, on an Earth transformed in mysterious and wonderful ways, and in a time when our present culture is no longer even a memory.
The Shadow of the Torturer introduced Severian, a torturer exiled for falling in love with one of his victims and allowing her to take her own life rather than be subjected to the highly refined methods of torture Severian has been so carefully trained in. In Volume Two, Severian is in possession of a gem considered to be "The Claw of the Conciliator," a powerful relic of the Master of Power, a legendary figure of mythic proportions. Armed with his sword, Terminus Est, and the Claw, Severian continues his journey to Thrax, the city of his exile.
On the way he
encounters such wonders as the apelike creatures with glowing, hairy
bodies and human intelligence in their eyes, who fight Severian with an
intensity and strength such that it seems they must surely slay him; the
bizarre cannibalistic ritual which infuses Severian with the memories
and thoughts of his dead beloved Thecla; the rooms of mirrorlike
surfaces into which Jonas, Severian's not-quite-mortal companion,
disappears; and the dazzling Vatic Fountain, into which Severian tosses
an offering to learn his destiny.
Evocative, profound, hypnotic, The Claw of the Conciliator is a novel of dreamlike beauties and awesome terrors, the second volume of a masterwork.
Gene Rodman Wolfe (1931-2019) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He was noted for his dense, allusive prose as well as the strong influence of his Catholic faith. He was a prolific short-story writer and novelist and won many science fiction and fantasy literary awards.
Wolfe is best known for his Book of the New Sun series (four volumes, 1980–83), the first part of his "Solar Cycle". In 1998, Locus magazine ranked it the third-best fantasy novel published before 1990 based on a poll of subscribers that considered it and several other series as single entries.
The Book of the New Sun consists of four primary works, and includes one additional book that complement the series but is not considered mandatory reads. The current recommended reading order for the series is provided below.
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The Claw of the Conciliator is the second book of The Book of the New Sun. Gene Wolfe is a brilliant writer and I like his books. The Claw of the Conciliator is as good as the first book and it's also written for adults. I enjoyed reading it. If you want to read well written and interesting books, you'll like this book.