When Odin’s curse fell upon him, Harald Swiftaxe, the young Norse warrior, lusty in love and battle, was fully human no longer. He was incensed with the animal rage of the god’s devotees, the Berserkers. The snarling ferocious savagery of the bear possessed him. Immune to fire and steel, frenzied by the smell of blood and the sight of torn human flesh, he was driven to the worst of human deeds . . . The stench of fear was meat and drink to him, and cowering women learned of his cruel, insatiable lust.
The bear screeched its ecstasy – yet at times the man dimly understood the horror. Could the demon god be killed, the spell lifted…? If there was a way, the price of failure would be high, greater than death itself . . .
So begins one of the most celebrated stories in fantasy literature . . . packed full of mystery, deep themes and incredible prose, meet Severian the Torturer and follow him on his journey across the great world of Urth
Severian is a torturer, born to the guild and with an exceptionally promising career ahead of him . . . until he falls in love with one of his victims, a beautiful young noblewoman.
Her excruciations are delayed for some months and, out of love, Severian helps her commit suicide and escape her fate. For a torturer, there is no more unforgivable act. In punishment he is exiled from the guild and his home city to the distant metropolis of Thrax with little more than Terminus Est, a fabled sword, to his name.
Along the way he has to learn to survive in a wider world without the guild – a world in which he has already made both allies and enemies. And a strange gem is about to fall into his possession, which will only make his enemies pursue him with ever-more determination . . .
Winner of the World Fantasy Award for best novel, 1981
Winner of the BSFA Award for best novel, 1982
Readers can’t stop reading The Shadow of the Torturer:
‘Full of rich characters and great imagination’ Mark Lawrence, author of Red Sister
‘A dark jewel . . . He has a mastery of language not often seen in fantasy writing . . . Couple this with an original and unique, highly imaginative and complex worldbuilding and the high praise is warranted‘ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘This is a picaresque fantasy with a difference, for our hero Severian is no wide-eyed country boy from the shire, but an apprentice torturer, thoroughly schooled in his trade’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘There are certain books that can be considered life-changing experiences. Gene Wolfe is an author who has written one of those for me’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘The Book of the New Sun Tetralogy is one of the great achievements in science fiction and is a MUST READ for fans of the genre. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘In addition to being unique in style, The Shadow of the Torturer is a gorgeous piece of work: passionate storytelling (heart-wrenching in places), fascinating insights into nature and the human condition, beautiful prose’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘Genre fiction at its finest. Original, difficult and well-crafted, it is easy to see how Wolfe is regarded as a writer’s writer’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
A man waits for me in the light of the mountaintop.
No, not a man. Antlers rise from his head. A tail, like a lion’s tail, sweeps the ground behind him. He stands on hooves and his legs are as shaggy as the legs of the bison. His hands are tipped with claws like the claws of a cat.
He stares at me and I recognise the look in his eyes. He was the spirit in the young buck. He was the leader of the wolf pack. He was the snake and the mammoth. When he looks at me, my chant dies in my throat. My hands stop tapping on the drum.
Suddenly, I do not feel the strength I once felt, only the ancient terror . . .
An extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, in the time of a dying sun, when our present culture is no longer even a memory.
Severian, a torturer’s apprentice, is exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his prisoners. Ordered to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner’s sword, Terminus Est, Severian must make his way across the perilous, ruined landscape of this far-future Urth. But is his finding of the mystical gem, the Claw of the Conciliator, merely an accident, or does Fate have a grander plans for Severian the torturer . . . ?
This edition contains the first two volumes of this four volume novel, The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator.
Patricia A. McKillip is the author of a number of hugely acclaimed fantasies, including THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD and OMBRIA IN SHADOW, both of which won the WORLD FANTASY AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL, and THE RIDDLE-MASTER OF HED and its sequels, which have been compared to Gene Wolfe’s epic BOOK OF THE NEW SUN. She has won the MYTHOPOEIC AWARD three times and in 2008 was given the WORLD FANTASY AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT. This omnibus collects three of her later works: SONG FOR THE BASILISK, NEBULA-nominee THE TOWER AT STONY WOOD and the WORLD FANTASY AWARD-shortlisted OD MAGIC.
A planet’s destiny trembled in the balance.Waiting, quiet and as dangerous as a timber-wolf, Vickery heard another faint slither of foot on stone. A dark shape flitted past the lighted shop front on the opposite side of the street and vanished into the doorway. Vickery’s heard gave one gigantic lunge, and a wolfish smile creased his face. He fired at the shadows and the brilliance of the exploding charge threw everything out in the street into garish highlights…
From the vaults of the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes this republication of a trilogy of early, pseudonymous adventure tales by Robert Holdstock, WORLD FANTASY AWARD-winning author of MYTHAGO WOOD.
The Berserker books are raw, primeval stories of a young Norse warrior, cursed by the gods to a life of savage warfare. Possessed by an animal, ferocious rage – implacable, invincible – Harald Swiftaxe fights his way across the Celtic world in search of release from his curse and, finally, peace. The Berserker omnibus contains SHADOW OF THE WOLF, THE BULL CHIEF and THE HORNED WARRIOR.
Godslayer – was the name Al Larson earned when, torn away from the midst of the firefight in Vietnam and catapulted to a time and place where the Norse gods fought a deadly war of their own, he was instrumental in the death of Loki, a key lord of Chaos. But now Larson, the master swordsman Gaelinar, and the elusive thief known as the Shadow Climber were about to embark on an even more desperate quest. For the balance between Chaos and Law had been all but lost. Fenris Wolf stalked the lands of men, thirsting to drink the lifeblood of Larson and Gaelinar, while Hel herself sought vengeance for Loki’s destruction. Pursued by these foes out of nightmare, could Larson and the others survive long enough to recover the one hope of the forces of Law – the legendary rod of Geirmagnus, the first Dragonrank mage – a mission that would take them from the citadel of Dragonrank powers to war-torn Vietnam to Hel’s dark realm and beyond?
Patricia A. McKillip is the author of a number of hugely acclaimed fantasies, including The Riddle-Master of Hed and its sequels, which have been compared to Gene Wolfe’s epic Book of the New Sun, and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and Ombria in Shadow, both of which won the World Fantasy Award for best novel. She has won the Mythopoeic Award three times and in 2008 was given the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. This omnibus collects three of her later works: In the Forests of Serre, Alphabet of Thorn and The Bell at Sealey Head.
IN THE FORESTS OF SERRE: In the tales of World Fantasy Award-winning author Patricia McKillip, nothing is ever as it seems. A mirror is never just a mirror; a forest is never just a forest. Here, it is a place where a witch can hide in her house of bones and a prince can bargain with his heart…where good and evil entwine and wear each others’ faces…and where a bird with feathers of fire can quench the fiercest longing…
ALPHABET OF THORN: One of the most spectacular fantasists of our time, Patricia A. McKillip creates fairy tale worlds of wonder and magic. Now, she opens the page on a time and place where an orphan girl is haunted by thorns…a reluctant queen rules between sea and sky… and epics never end…
THE BELL AT SEALEY HEAD: Sealey Head is a small town on the edge of the ocean, a sleepy place where everyone hears the ringing of a bell no one can see. On the outskirts of town is an impressive estate, Aislinn House, where the aged Lady Eglantyne lies dying, and where the doors sometimes open not to its own dusty rooms, but to the wild majesty of a castle full of knights and princesses.