Book of the New Sun


Well-Known Member
Jul 3, 2011
BOTNS is wonderful. I picked up a 2nd hand paperback of Shadow of the Torturer in a bookshop in Southampton when I was about 13 or 14, attracted by the Bruce Pennington cover, and I was gripped from the first chapter.. This was about the same time I bought Titus Groan, and I have overlapping feelings about both books. There is something unfathomable and majestic about these books, and I have reread them many times over the years.

I remember going into Andromeda books in Birmingham to try ask if they had one of the later books in the quartet, to find it had not been published yet (which dates me a bit.)


Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2015
The Perilous Realm
I really love this book, but alas, I too have never finished it. I did complete the first book on my last run but never went much further. I've tried five times.
I think the amazing thing about Gene Wolfe is how easy it is to admire and respect him and his work even if you haven't personally managed to read his work or enjoyed it.

I have read The Book of the New Sun and Urth of the New Sun but I struggled through it all and I couldn't quite enjoy the books, though I found them fascinating. I was spurred on to do so by my husband who is a HUGE, somewhat obsessive, Wolfe fan. He read The Book of the New Sun (and then many, many other Wolfe works) and talked about it so much that I had to give it a try as well. I failed my first attempt after about 100 pages.

It was a couple years later, after having actually named my newborn son Severian (all my kids are named after favorite characters of my husband and I), that I figured I really needed to buckle down and read the books. I managed to push through the whole 4 books plus Urth of the New Sun (which is really essentially for understanding the point of the whole thing, I think). They are definitely not written in a style I find accessible or relatable or even very enjoyable (though my husband finds them to be all 3 of those things apparently) but I cannot help having immense respect for Wolfe as the creator of the work. As an author I admire him very much even if his work really isn't my cup of tea.
Apr 21, 2013
Interesting to read this thread. It's been so long since I read these books that I don't feel I can comment now on their readability. I loved the New Sun books when I read them and followed up with the Long Sun books, the first two Soldier books. Having grown up reading the Greek myths I think I made a connection with his many references to them or his establishing his own mythology in them. I did read the Knight and Wizard and was disappointed in those iirc.

I don't think I read Urth and I'm not sure I did the last in the Long Sun series either, or the last in the Soldier series!

Similar threads