Disappointed. I was rather impressed with Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer and looked forward to the next volume in his Book of the New Sun. I had the typical moments of trying to figure out where exactly Wolfe had left off and who a couple of characters were, but I settled in fairly well. So I start reading and working my way through the book and I’m confused. What’s going on here. There was a little bit of this in book 1, but in The Claw of the Conciliator it seemed like Severain wasn’t even trying to get to where he was going. Our torturer was just floating along on the wind sort of moving in a northerly direction but perfectly happy to do something else that he didn’t believe in, either.
My biggest problem is that I couldn’t see how any of what happened in the nearly 300 pages had any impact on the overall plot of storyline that might be building. It felt like an entire book of filler material and the ending was filler. I’m quite sure that some important things happened, but I just couldn’t say what they were and why they couldn’t be compressed to 50 pages. I’ll read The Sword of the Lictor, but my anticipation is much less than it was before this book. Just disappointing.