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The Citadel of the Autarch (The Book of the New Sun, #4)

The Citadel of the Autarch (The Book of the New Sun, #4) - Gene Wolfe And so concludes one of the strangest fantasy series I've ever read. At times I felt bowled over by the meandering narrative, beautiful prose and superb story telling but at others I felt a little lost trying to wrestle with the cryptic meanings and grasp just what he author was trying to say.

I particularly loved the first half of this book, while Severian convalesces after a particularly severe fever, he is called upon to adjudicate between several suitors who are trying to win over a woman and she decides that she will marry whoever tells the best story. This seemingly pointless transgression from the main plot adds a richness to the story. I felt that Wolfe was trying to show the power of story telling, how multiple levels of meaning can be inter-woven into a story and how it can be used to mask one's real intentions.

Finally we learn of Severian's destiny and a new light is shed on past events in the earlier books. It is tempting to go back to the beginning and read it again right now just to see how what I know now shapes my interpretation of the story and, if I didn't have so much else to read, I would. I will definitely re-read it eventually though as it truly is a fantasy masterwork.