Review :: The Citadel of the Autarch
The Citadel of the Autarch
John W. Campbell Memorial Award 1984. Nebula Award nominee 1983.
"Here I pause, having carried you, reader, from fortress to fortress – from the walled city of Thrax, dominating the upper Acis, to the castel of the giant, dominating the northern shore of remote Lake Diuturna. Thrax was for me the gateway to the wild mountains. So, too, this lonely tower was to prove a gateway – the very threshold of the war...
"Here I pause. If you have no desire to plunge into the struggle beside me, reader, I do not condemn you. It is no easy one."
So ends The Sword of the Lictor, the third volume of "The Book of the New Sun." Now in this fourth and climactic volume, Severian the Torturer continues his epic journey across the lands of Urth, a journey as fraught with peril as it is with wonder. Exiled from his guild he is an outcast, but his travels are woven with strange portents. The Claw of the Conciliator, relic of a prophet and promise of a new age, flames to life in his hands. He carries the great sword Terminus Est, the Line of Division. The dwellers in the deep waters offer him a kingdom under the seas. And he is hunted and driven by terrors from beyond Urth.
Now all his travels move him inexorably toward a grander fate, a destiny that he dare not refuse. For a devouring blackness gnaws at the heart of the Old Sun, and the fate of Urth rests in the return of the Conciliator, the New Sun long foretold.
Not since "The Lord of the Rings" has there been a work of such magnitude, straddling literary genres to create a new epic for our time and beyond. With the completion of "The Book of the New Sun," a new world has been opened and history made. While the underground audience has grown, authors and reviewers alike have hailed Gene Wolfe's masterpiece.
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.