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Summary

Banished for the sin of mercy, Severian, one of the ancient guild of Torturers, flees from exile. In a mountain wilderness.

Severian, the disgraced apprentice torturer, has reached his place of exile - Thrax, the city of Windowless Rooms, where he must take up his post as Lictor, executioner and torturer. However, he flees the city and heads into the mountains. There he meets the Alzabo, in whom those eaten seem to live on, adopts a son only to lose him in battle and discharges an old debt to vengeance. As his exile takes stranger and stranger turns, he encounters fanged aliens who hide behind masks of beauty, and meets the mysterious Dr Talos.

©2021 Gene Wolfe (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group

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The dark souls of sci-fi/fantasy

Berserk may have inspired Miyazaki visually but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this was the English novel he read and half understood that inspired him narratively. An an incredible obtuse yet layered read that gets better and better the deeper you go. Philosophical depth in these books is also as much of a joy as the heady prose that effortlessly weave a dark whimsical tale of a torturer with a destiny far greater than he realises.