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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic fantasy of ancient times...
fantasy, ancient world, historical fictionA mock introduction tells of a manuscript found during excavations when building the Aswan Dam. This book is supposedly a translation of that manuscript, the earlier two books, Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete, being transations of manuscripts from the British Museum.

This manuscript, like the other two, is...
Published on 14 May 2010 by A. J. Poulter

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3.0 out of 5 stars The weakest of the three...
The writing in this is up to Wolfe's usual standard, but unfortunately the story isn't. This is the third in the Soldier series, set this time in Egypt, with Latro, the eponymous "Soldier", continuing to suffer from serious amnesia & seeking a cure for his affliction.

One wonders why he is in Egypt at all. His Roman wife, alluded to in the first chapter, surely...
Published 6 months ago by Mr M.R.Watkinson


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3.0 out of 5 stars The weakest of the three..., 21 Sept. 2014
By 
Mr M.R.Watkinson (Norfolk, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: SOLDIER OF SIDON (Paperback)
The writing in this is up to Wolfe's usual standard, but unfortunately the story isn't. This is the third in the Soldier series, set this time in Egypt, with Latro, the eponymous "Soldier", continuing to suffer from serious amnesia & seeking a cure for his affliction.

One wonders why he is in Egypt at all. His Roman wife, alluded to in the first chapter, surely knew he had been wounded fighting in Greece? The justification given seems pretty thin to me. Then there's the muddled story. There were disconnects in the second book; passages where Latro had not updated the scroll, and therefore there is a gap in the tale. In this third, that device is employed so often that the story becomes very disjointed & unclear. There is too much repetition of "X told me who he was", "X told me to write in this scroll", which does nothing to help matters, and many passages seem to have little bearing at all on what is going on. It's not quite at the level of "Woke up, ate, bathed, read my scroll...", but it's getting that way at times.

Finally, the ending, such as it is, is decidedly unsatisfactory. It appears to be clumsily setting things up for there to be a fourth book, and clumsiness is something that previously has been noticeably absent in anything of Wolfe's that I've ever read. Since the author is now well into his eighties and has suffered several bouts of serious ill-health in the last few years, one wonders, if a fourth book was intended, whether such will ever see the light of day...

In summation, if you've read the first two, you will, as I did, want to read this. You may enjoy it more than I did, but I can't honestly say that it's up to the standard of the first two books in the series. If you hover over the stars when writing a review, you'll find that Amazon defines 3* as "It's OK". It is, but I've read a fair amount of Wolfe, and whilst this is OK, it's probably also the worst of his work that I've come across.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic fantasy of ancient times..., 14 May 2010
By 
A. J. Poulter "AP" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: SOLDIER OF SIDON (Paperback)
fantasy, ancient world, historical fictionA mock introduction tells of a manuscript found during excavations when building the Aswan Dam. This book is supposedly a translation of that manuscript, the earlier two books, Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete, being transations of manuscripts from the British Museum.

This manuscript, like the other two, is written by Latro, who is a veteran Roman mercenary. Latro though has been cursed by a god: as a result he loses his memory each night. Thus the manuscript/book is not just a diary but an aide-memoire, which Latro has to be reminded to read each morning. As a consolation for the curse, Latro can see and talk with the gods and their servants.

In this book Latro journeys down the the Nile, searching for a cure for his curse. Being a veteran, he is given command of a sqaud guarding a boat captained by his friend Muslak, on a mission to investigate rumours of gold mines far to the south. Also on the boat are the expedition commander, two priests and two 'river wives' for Latro and Muslak, hired for the voyage from a temple.

Things soon start to get strange. One of the priests seems to temporarily lift Latro's memory loss. A large cat and a strange woman are seen on the boat at night sometimes. An experience at a temple gives Latro a servant who has powers over snakes. Later, Latro makes friends with a monkey no one else can see and wrestles and defeats an evil spirit inhabiting a child, again which others cannot see.

The device of the manuscript works extremely well. It shows Latro to be honest and a good judge of character. It serves to make the supernatural ordinary, since Latro records the fantastic in his usual manner. It also makes certain story elements more shocking, as the record suddenly becomes terse and the narrative jumps. The book itself finishes as Latro runs out of space on the manuscript. The hook into the next book is a quest for Latro to recover something treasured he has lost.

This book/series stands out as a unique example of a realistic fantasy, where gods and mortals fit together naturally. The ancient world is brought to life, rather than some fake fantasy realm. The attention is to realism: for example, language. Latro writes his manuscript, in Latin which some other characters cannot read. On their journey all have problems communicating wiith locals as languages change. Latro understands enough Greek to talk to a Greek merchant they meet.

This series is highly recommended and well on its way to becoming a classic. If you have not read any of the previous books, the final advantage of the manuscript-as-memory device is that there is no back story to assimilate.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gene Wolfe does it again..., 6 Mar. 2007
By 
L. A. Powell (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Soldier of Sidon (Hardcover)
If you're yet to become involved in Gene Wolfe's writings, you shouldn't be reading this, you should be reading the reviews for his epic "Book of the New Sun" and then buying that. But if like me you are already a fan, this is certainly a treat. Again we find Latro struggling to live day to day, with no past and a only a glimmer of hope into finding his future. Set in the wonderfully detailed world of ancient Egypt, Latro must make many journeys in order to honour his friends, himself, and his memory, meeting many fascinating creatures and powerful Gods and Goddesses along the way. Soldier of Sidon is definately my favourite of the "Latro" novels, and whilst most certainly the easiest to dissect, I feel this makes for a more enjoyable read. Get involved with Latro now, then complete your collection with this wonderful tale of heroism and struggle. You won't regret it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, as usual, 11 Dec. 2008
This review is from: SOLDIER OF SIDON (Paperback)
Gene Wolfe is the best writer I have ever read in my life, certainly the most consistently interesting and most complex (whilst still being readable). This book is just wonderful stuff from the master, imbued with sadness, depth and Wolfe's profound understanding of humanity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: SOLDIER OF SIDON (Paperback)
A brilliant end to the saga of Latro
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soldier of a Service, 11 Nov. 2012
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Ahh well, least i tried to give it a title. hehe Any way, i wanted to write here and say that i was very impressed with the quality of the product and the high speed of the delivery too. I would indeed recommend this seller.

The Book, well, depends on the style of reading/ writting you like because Gene (bless him) is a rather thougtfull chap and you can definatly tell this in not just this but allot of his other titles too. The way this title has been written is rather unique and can only be experianced as its a sort of 3rd party, first party from a diary not the character sort of thing. God get a copy and find out. Again, im gratefull for the quality of service so i can finish this trilogy that ive enjoyed allot.

J.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to the previous two, 14 July 2009
This review is from: SOLDIER OF SIDON (Paperback)
I was delighted to see a sequel - maybe poor old Latro gets home?

But no, he wanders about in Egypt and Africa a bit, he loses the plot every day and so do we. He's not as likable as he used to be, somehow. But I learned a lot about ancient Egypt.

If there is another in the series I won't bother to read it.
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SOLDIER OF SIDON
SOLDIER OF SIDON by Gene Wolfe (Paperback - 14 Feb. 2008)
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