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    Review of THE WIZARD by Gene Wolfe


    TOR, November 2004

    After living in Skai for thirty years, Sir Able is back in Mythgarthr (only a few months passed in the Mythgarthr dimension). One condition of Able's return is that he not use his magical powers. Instead, he must fight as a knight. Fortunately for him, the Valfather has given him one of the great dogs of his own hunt, as well as a young unicorn to ride. Together with Able's bowstring made of severed souls, and his sword--equiped with dead knights prepared to join in battle, although only sometimes in aid of Able, he hardly misses those magical powers.

    Able returns to a complicated political situation. The frost giants are restive and attempts to placate them bog down when the frost giant king is attacked. Even when he escapes the frozen lands of the north, Able is unable to find peace. There is a dragon to fight, and a message to take to the king. The result of that message, when finally delivered, leaves Able in prison while the kingdom falls into horrible war and defeat.

    Author Gene Wolfe creates a powerful and fascinating world--with strong ties to Germanic myth. Able, and the squire Tong, try to understand what is happening around them, make decisions that might not always be wise, and face a world where good and evil are vague terms--and making the choice between them is often difficult.

    THE WIZARD is a compelling and fascinating read. Often dark, sometimes obscure, filled with so many characters that the list of players at the beginning comes in very handy, THE WIZARD is still hard to put down. WOLFE has become one of the major literary authors of contemporary Science Fiction/Fantasy. With THE WIZARD, it is easy to understand how he's achieved this popularity.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 4/21/05

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