"Here I pause, having carried you, reader, from fortress to fortress -- from the walled city of Thrax, dominating the upper Acis, to the castle 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 wanderer in the world. But his travels are woven about 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, beautiful and deadly, offer him a kingdom under the seas. And he is hunted and driven north by terrors from beyond Urth: notules, flying slivers of night forever hungering for the warmth of life, and salamanders, creatures of colorless light and dreadful, alien heat.
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:
"'The Book of the New Sun' is one of the true classics of modern science fantasy -- deft, deep and delicious... the best work since Tolkien. Throughout, it both promises and delivers." -- Gregory Benford, author of Timescape
"A splendid offering...filled with menace and yet invested with a dreamlike beauty... magnificent." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"Gene Wolfe has produced a work of art that can satisfy adult appetites and in which even the most fantastical elements register as poetry rather than as penny-whistle whimsy." -- Thomas M. Disch, author of Camp Concentration
Jacket painting by Don Maitz
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This hardback book club edition book is in very good condition with no flaws to note. The dust cover has edge wear and light reading wear.