Review: Soldier of the Mist

Confession time, Soldier of the Mist is my first time reading Gene Wolfe, which is an unforgivable sin for a Readercon regular like myself.  I guarantee it won’t be my last.

Wolfe has a reputation for being one of the greatest stylists working in f & sf, and its well deserved.  Soldier of the Mist is an incredible piece of craft, focusing on an anterograde amnesia victim named Latro in ancient Rome.  The story is a transcription of the diary Latro keeps in order to make up for his inability to create new memories.  Each chapter is a new entry, some times Latro has taken the time to read up on his past, and sometimes not.  It makes for a very intriguing approach to a novel, that does an incredible job of bringing the reader in to the mind of the protagonist.

But then there’s the plot, which is a bit slight.  Unsurprisingly Latro is seeking his past, and thanks to his injury he meanders a bit, going from one army to another, and occasionally encounters Gods along the way.  It’s an interesting journey, but it doesn’t really go anywhere, at least in this book.  The narrative just stops, it actually feels like one of those novels that grew to long and was arbitrarily cut in half by the publisher.  Now I don’t know if that’s the case here, but there is a direct sequel, which I will be starting on shortly.  If that novel pays off than this can become a great book, but on it’s own if falls flat.

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