book 4 of The Book of the Long Sun
by Gene Wolfe
After reading over what I've written about volumes 1-3 of The Book of the Long Sun, I feel like I should apologize -- a few random sentences about my impressions of each book constitute a ridiculously inadequate description Wolfe's work. Oh well, I try.
About the book: Silk finds himself in charge of a nearly bankrupt city that is facing a protracted war. Furthermore, he has lost faith in most of the gods and eventually loses faith in several of his friends; this leads to a strange scene where he contemplates jumping from the airship that is taking him to Mainframe. At the end, instead of leading his people away from the decaying Whorl, Silk disappears, completing his portrayal as a Christ figure.
The narrative in this series has always been a little odd, often presenting (seemingly) peripheral scenes while skipping crucial ones. At the end of this book (and also at the beginning and in the middle, for careful readers) Wolfe gives us a plot twist that explains the odd structure. I highly recommend the Long Sun series, even to people who don't normally touch SF.
copyright © 2000 John Regehr