cover image Exodus from the Long Sun: Book Four of the Book of the Long Sun

Exodus from the Long Sun: Book Four of the Book of the Long Sun

Gene Wolfe. Tor Books, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85585-7

The long sun, which stretches from one end of the Whorl to the other, shows signs of instability. The gods of Mainframe, once dependable, now appear to be in conflict with each other. Mysterious fliers haunt the skies, social unrest is on the rise and signs and portents are everywhere. In the city of Viron, Calde Silk, once a humble priest and now ruler by the gods' decree, fights a dirty and chaotic war with the city's corrupt former government. An army approaches from the city of Trivigaunte, ostensibly to support Silk, though its commander may have an ulterior motive. A former criminal, Auk, receives word from the gods that the Whorl, which was earlier revealed to be a planet-sized starship, is failing and must be abandoned by its seething millions. In this fourth volume of his Book of the Long Sun (after Calde of the Long Sun), Wolfe, winner of two Nebula Awards during his 26 years in SF, concludes one of the major SF series of the decade. Tangentially related to the author's acclaimed Book of the New Sun, the Long Sun series displays many of Wolfe's greatest strengths. The complex language is lovingly crafted. The culture of the Whorl, particularly in its religious manifestations, is presented in rich and fascinating detail. Silk makes for an engaging protagonist, and one whom Wolfe surrounds with a host of crotchety secondary characters, some human, some not. This completion of the series doesn't stand alone, depending on the other novels for its context and meaning; but the series as a whole is a bonafide masterpiece. (Nov.)