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Gate of Horn, Book of Silk Hardcover – 15 Aug 2012

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About the Author

Michael Andre-Driussi is the author of Lexicon Urthus: A Dictionary for the Urth Cycle (1994; second edition 2008) and The Wizard Knight Companion: A Lexicon for Gene Wolfe's The Knight and The Wizard. His writings on Gene Wolfe include "Gene Wolfe: The Man and His Work" (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction); and "Gene Wolfe at the Lake of Birds" (Foundation). He is also coeditor, with Alice K. Turner, of Snake's-Hands: The Fiction of John Crowley. His recent fiction includes "Daughter of Plant and Woman," Twisted Fairy Tales, Vol. II. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Excellent help in understanding Wolfe's novels 6 Dec. 2012
By Jim53 - Published on
Format: Paperback
In Lexicon Urthus, Michael Andre-Driussi compiled an encyclopedic reference work, invaluable to the serious reader of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, one of the high points of speculative fiction. The Lexicon identified the denotations and connotations of the many real but unfamiliar words that Wolfe used. Additional brief essays on major characters and themes made the Lexicon a must-read for serious readers of TBotNS.

Wolfe went on to publish The Book of the Long Sun and The Book of the Short Sun, both set in the universe of New Sun, but more closely tied with one another than either is with the original series. The challenges here are different: in Long Sun, we must decode the relationships, including kinship, among numerous key characters, and follow the fast-paced course of Silk's path from simple priest to revolutionary leader. In Short Sun, while it's clear that several different characters are in fact the same person, the sequence of events requires substantial parsing, and the exact nature of several characters' interactions require a couple of reads and substantial reflection.

Andre-Driussi tackles these challenges for us Gate of Horn, Book of Silk, another tremendous effort of scholarship. The format is again encyclopedic, with separate sections for Long Sun and Short Sun. I would say his most valuable contributions this time lie in the detailed timelines that he has assembled for each series; these allow the reader to see the sequences of events more clearly, understand just who is involved at different points, and have a much clearer idea of what Wolfe is up to and why. He also provides explanations of the expressions used by numerous characters as well as speculation on how they are related and why it matters.

Silk and Horn are among the most well drawn and fascinating characters in speculative fiction. Their combined story is complex and laden with symbolism. The exegesis provided in Gate of Horn, Book of Silk goes a long way toward helping the reader who has puzzled over Wolfe's novels to solve several mysteries and make more sense of these fine novels. Highly recommended for anyone wanting a better understanding of Wolfe's work.
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