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The Shadow of the Torturer: The Book of the New Sun, Book 1 | [Gene Wolfe]

The Shadow of the Torturer: The Book of the New Sun, Book 1

The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume epic, the tale of a young Severian, an apprentice to the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession - showing mercy towards his victim.

Gene Wolfe's "The Book of the New Sun" is one of speculative fiction's most-honored series. In a 1998 poll, Locus Magazine rated the series behind only "The Lord of the Rings" and The Hobbit as the greatest fantasy work of all time.

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Publisher's Summary

The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume epic, the tale of a young Severian, an apprentice to the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession - showing mercy towards his victim.

Listen to more in the Book of the New Sun series.

©1980 Gene Wolfe; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The best science fiction novel of the last century." (Neil Gaiman)

  • World Fantasy Award, Best Novel, 1981
    • Favorite Audiobooks of 2010 (Fantasy Literature)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (905 )
5 star
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3.5 (599 )
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3.8 (596 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Oren 03-01-15
    Oren 03-01-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    8
    3
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    "I tried to like this book"

    I tried to like this book, the story and characters interested me, but I couldn't finish it. Jonathan Davis was excellent but even he couldn't pull this one off for me.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark LOS ALAMOS, NM, United States 12-10-13
    Mark LOS ALAMOS, NM, United States 12-10-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    44
    3
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    "If I could have heard it....."
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I can't give a good review of the book(s) because I couldn't hear them. I like listening to Audible while driving and the narrator goes from extremely loud yelling to a barely audible whisper. So when driving I was either blasted out of my seat or couldn't hear anything that was going on. If the volume was leveled better I wouldn't be having to rewind 15 to 30 seconds every five minutes to figure out what was going on.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoff Newmarket, ON, Canada 07-05-11
    Geoff Newmarket, ON, Canada 07-05-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    121
    7
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    1
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    "Experiment is dangerous"

    Took a chance on Wolfe, whom I'd never heard of, and regret it. Life is too short for art this long and devoid of incident. Wolfe's highly regarded verbal inventiveness quickly feels gimmicky and is not enough to redeem a tale I plodded through. The narration was no help.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul San Diego, CA, United States 06-24-11
    Paul San Diego, CA, United States 06-24-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    19
    2
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    0
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    "excructatingly dull read"

    Based on the opposing reviews of this book, it seems that this may appeal to some folks. I gave it way too many hours and cannot see the any bright spots. I dare to say this may be one of the worst books i have bought on Audible. Do your research before you buy. I wish Audible did refunds

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adnan Chula Vista, CA, United States 12-23-10
    Adnan Chula Vista, CA, United States 12-23-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    471
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    178
    73
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    "Torturer, Philosopher"

    He is too young to have a thought process such as written. Overall, i was mildly entertain and thus 3 stars. Perhaps it was the narrator, but i did not find book to be very engaging.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Albuquerque, NM, USA 01-27-10
    James Albuquerque, NM, USA 01-27-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    7
    1
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    "Masterful story, poor reading"

    The Shadow of the Torturer, and indeed the entire Book of the New Sun, is a masterpiece of Science Fiction - and of American Literature. So, five stars for the content. However, in this reviewers humble opinion, the reading of the text left a great deal to be desired. The timing was off, the voice bordered on nasal and the story did not flow. It was like the reader, trying to avoid the obvious rhythms, stumbles through the story trying to find creative ones. However, that said, this version is not unlistenable and I will probably purchase the remainder of the series. But where is "Urth of the New Sun?"

    2 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louis 04-24-12
    Louis 04-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    63
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    "it must be quiet time"

    The reader's voice is to soft and monotone , I had a hard time telling the difference between characters, man or woman. It seems to be a very interesting story line but I have had a hard time listening to it.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Furr 06-02-11
    K. Furr 06-02-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    10
    2
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    "Uggh, just awful, I bailed quickly"

    This was a regrettable waste of $15 for two reasons: the story and the voice actor. OK I hung in there for a good 30 - 40 minutes before I gave up. Story: good lord that was boring slogging, there was absolutely nothing I heard in 30 minutes that gave me any interest in continuing. Does it ever pick up?? I'll never know. (Not that I'm without patience, my all time favorite novel is "Foucault's Pendulum", which doesn't pick up steam till about page 200.)

    And the voice was intolerable. Sounded like the guy was on sedatives, pouring more boring into a boring story. Jonathan Davis -- I'll stick that next to my monitor with a post-it note so as to not make this mistake again.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaime New Westminster, BC, Canada 07-13-14
    Jaime New Westminster, BC, Canada 07-13-14 Member Since 2011

    Not much to tell! I used to read alot, but now that I need reading glasses, I enjoy listening to books instead of having to wear glasses!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awful!!!"

    It is possible the book is a good one but the narration was so bad I couldn't finish it and I couldn't even get into it.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean west monroe, LA, USA 03-21-10
    Sean west monroe, LA, USA 03-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    Overall
    "horrid"

    a sad story about a confused boy walking around going no where

    2 of 14 people found this review helpful

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