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.
until we reach the main road, then. It will be your most expeditious route back." Perhaps because he refrained from questioning me, I felt he knew more than what he had said indicated. Ignoring our talk, Jolenta smothered a yawn. "I'll have to have more sleep before tonight, or my eyes won't look as good as they should." I said, "I will, but when we reach the road, I must go." Dr. Talos had already turned away to wake the giant, shaking him and striking his shoulders with his slender cane. "As
eventually, like the others." It was a cruel thing to say, and I said it without reflection as young men do, only because it was what was in my mind. Yet it was true, and I was glad in some way, as I turned the key in the lock, that I had said it. We had had exultants for clients often before. Most, when they arrived, had some understanding of their situation, as the Chatelaine Thecla did now. But when a few days had passed and they were not put to torment, their hope cast down their reason and
blue haze obscured them, and I saw below me a country of sand, carved by the currents. A palace stood there that was greater than our Citadel, but it was ruinous, its halls as unroofed as its gardens; through it moved immense figures, white as leprosy. Nearer I fell, and they turned up their faces to me, faces such as I had seen once beneath Gyoll; they were women, naked, with hair of sea-foam green and eyes of coral. Laughing, they watched me fall, and their laughter came bubbling up to me.
frightened her. She did not speak, and of course none of us spoke to her. "Here," Master Palaemon began in his driest tone, "we have something outside the routine of judicial punishment and well illustrative of modern technique. The client was put to the question last night—perhaps some of you heard her. Twenty minims of tincture were given before the excruciation, and ten after. The dose was only partially effective in preventing shock and loss of consciousness, so the proceedings were
expected or wanted any. They sought propinquity, and the experience of having spoken to me. "Will you break him first? Will there be a branding?" "Have you ever killed a woman?" "Yes," I said. "Yes, I did, once." One of the men, short and slight, with the high, bumpy forehead of an intellectual, was putting an asimi into my hand. "I know you fellows don't get much, and I hear he's a pauper, can't tip." A woman, gray hair straggling over her face, tried to make me take a lace-trimmed