The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume series, The Book of the New Sun. It is the tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession - showing mercy toward his victim - and follows his subsequent journey out of his home city of Nessus.
What did I just read
If you desire a meandering, plotless story with no character development, no resolution or answers to questions raised by an author who believes himself a maestro of the language, this book is for you.
However, if you want a book with characters, plot, resolution and stupendous use of our language try somewhere else.
I understand this to be the first in a series by Mr. Wolfe, and I have to be honest, I pretty much glossed over the last 100 pages just to say I finished the book. I felt the story suffered because he gave precedence to made up, words that lacked definition even in context, and his use of either archaic spellings or obsolete words.
Along with those short-comings, the setting and description made me think of a bad Roger Corman sci-fi movie from the 70’s or early 80’s. The pacing was sporadic and inconsistent with the action. If MST3000 reviewed books, they would have a heyday with this one.