The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun, Book 1)
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The Shadow of the Torturer is a science fiction novel by Gene Wolfe, first released in 1980. It is the first volume in the four-volume series, The Book of the New Sun. Wolfe completed the series (in draft form) before The Shadow of the Torturer was published.
It relates the story of Severian, an apprentice in the Seekers for Truth and Penitence (the guild of torturers), from his youth through his expulsion from the guild, and subsequent journey out of his home city of Nessus.
the boys had been kicked into submission. It was three weeks before any of them dared to disobey me, and then there was no mass rebellion, only individual malingering. As captain of apprentices I had new functions, as well as more freedom than I had ever enjoyed before. It was I who saw that the journeymen on duty got their meals hot, and who supervised the boys who toiled under the stacks of trays intended for our clients. In the kitchen I drove my charges to their tasks, and in the classroom I
for a chance. But only a master can take a prisoner from a cell, and I would have had to kill—" "Your friends." "Yes, my friends." Her hands were moving again, and blood trickled from her mouth. "Will you bring me the knife?" "I have it here," I said, and drew it from under my cloak. It was a common cook's knife with a span or so of blade. "It looks sharp." "It is," I said. "I know how to treat an edge, and I sharpened it carefully." That was the last thing I said to her. I put the knife
still far from sufficient. What I propose—" The waitress, a thin young woman with straggling hair, came carrying a bowl of gruel for Baldanders, bread and fruit for me, and a pastry for Dr. Talos. "What an attractive girl!" he said. She smiled at him. "Can you sit down? We seem to be your only customers." After glancing in the direction of the kitchen, she shrugged and pulled over a chair. "You might enjoy a bit of this—I'll be too busy talking to eat such a dry concoction. And a sip of
I had made the officer of the peltasts the night before. Since I had little money and was well aware that I would require the warmth of my guild cloak by night, the best plan seemed to be to buy a voluminous mantle of some cheap stuff that could be worn over it. Shops were opening, but those that sold clothing all appeared to sell what would not fit my purpose, and at prices greater than I could afford. The idea of working at my profession before I reached Thrax had not yet occurred to me; if it
almost out of reach—indeed, I was not certain I could touch its stem even by lying prone. The temptation to use my sword was very great, but I felt it would disgrace me before Agia and Dorcas to do so, and I knew I would have to handle the plant during the combat in any case. I advanced my hand again, cautiously, this time keeping my forearm in contact with the ground, and discovered that though I had to press my shoulder against the grass as well to prevent my upper arm from being stabbed by