The Claw of the Conciliator
The Claw of the Conciliator is the second book in Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun tetralogy. It picks up right where The Shadow of the Torturer leaves off, following Severian as he makes his way towards Thrax.
The book is very similar to The Shadow of the Torturer: Florid writing, slow pace, lots of themes and allegories, and mysteries that are exposed only to be replaced by new ones.
There are many scenes that I loved:
- The fair, greenman, and executions in Saltus.
- The ape-men and the leviathan underground.
- The macabre feast of Thecla.
- The attack by the shadow creatures.
- The antechamber prison and the ancestral prisoners.
- The reveal of the Autarch’s identity and that he works in some way with the man who would overthrow him—Vodalus.
But the book begins to drag in the second half and the story seems to wander. Knowing there are three more installments ahead of me in the series, I’m worried it will grind to a halt. I hope that The Sword of the Lictor will pick up the pace.