Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Fiction Book Reviews Before the Rising Sun
‘All That is Gone’
Impressions of Chapter 19 of Gene Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer
Reading from pages 118-123 of Shadow & Claw
The Botanic Gardens
Severian’s cat like curiosity, that which doomed him among the Seekers for Truth and Penitence, leads him to sight see at the gardens where he must pluck his poison dueling flower. The rooms are distorted in depth with each designed to offer a magnetic mirage to certain personality types dangerous to the Autarchy, it being understood that the Autarch has predicted what kind of mine will be a threat to his rule and placed mystical traps within the gardens to keep such people forever bound in curiosity. Only Agia, apparently not a person of such a threatening frame of mind, saves Severian from the Sand Garden, a place where Severian loses track of time and would have stayed forever in wonder if not for his savvy little tart.
The figure of the Conciliator, one of the most powerful entities in a vast pantheon of divinity, is discussed by the astute woman, in answer to Severian’s cynical assertion that the Conciliator, long dead by tens of thousands of years, was now mere dust:
“…—supposing him to have lived, he was by definition the Master of Power. Which means the transcendence of reality, and includes the negation of time. Isn’t that correct?”
Even in the midst of such deep discourse, the young man is caught in the passion-woven net of life:
“Agia’s face was far from perfect now in the clear sunshine, but she had nothing to fear from it. My hunger fed at least as ravenously upon her imperfections. She possessed the hopeful, helpless courage of the poor, which is perhaps the most appealing of all human qualities; and I rejoiced in the flaws that made her more real to me.”
In those ancient gardens of suggestion one of the heroes stiffest tests lay just around the corner.
Diction of note
The Jericho Bone: Fruit of the Deceiver and Forty Hands of Night, 2nd Edition Omnibus Collection
prev:  ‘Holy Domnicellae’     ‹  before the rising sun  ›     next:  ‘The Path’
behind the sunset veil
soter's way
the combat space
logic of force
Add Comment