Here is a book to rival the great achievements in fantasy of the last century, one truly in the tradition founded in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Beginning in the present volume, The Knight, and to be concluded next year in The Wizard, The Wizard Knight is in the rare company of those works that spring from the myth and literature of past ages, not last year's genre fantasy series.A teenage boy passes from our world to a magical realm of seven worlds, where he is soon given the body of a mature man of heroic proportions. Forced to act as a man, inside he remains a boy, even as he sets off to find his destined sword and become a knight. His quest is filled with danger and adventure, giants, elves, dragons and a literally enchanted romance. The Knight is a thrilling, charming, emotionally riveting tale of wonders, written with the stylistic clarity and beauty we have come to expect of Gene Wolfe at his best.""Gene Wolfe's The Knight breaks like a thunderclap over the safe suburban sprawl of franchise fantasy. This is the real thing, boys and girls. Are you ready It will scare the daylights out of you, take your breath away, make you laugh out loud, and give you honest-to-goodness tears. You will devour it and discover just how hungry you have been.... You have been warned. It will spoil you. For you are in the hands of a master storyteller with an unforgettable tale."" PATRICK O'LEARY, AUTHOR OF THE IMPOSSIBLE BIRD At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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January 03, 2004
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Excerpt from The Knight by Gene Wolfe
You must have stopped wondering what happened to me a long time ago; I know it has been many years. I have the time to write here, and what looks like a good chance to get what I write to where you are, so I am going to try. If I just told everything on a couple of sheets, you would not believe most of it. Hardly any of it, because there are many things that I have trouble with myself. So what I am going to do instead is tell everything. When I have finished, you still may not believe me; but you will know all that I do. In some ways, that is a lot. In others, practically nothing. When I saw you sitting by our fire -- my own brother -- there on the battlefield... Never mind. I will get to it. Only I think it may be why I am writing now.
Remember the day we drove out to the cabin? Then Geri phoned. You had to go home and did not need a kid around. So we said there was no reason for me to go too, I could stay out there and you would come back the next day.
We said I would fish.
That was it.
Only I did not. It did not seem like it was going to be much fun with you gone, but the air was crisp and the leaves were turning, so I went on a hike. Maybe it was a mistake. I went a long way, but I was not lost. Pretty soon I picked up a stick and hiked with it, but it was crooked and not very strong. I did not like it much and decided I would cut a good one I could keep out at the cabin and use whenever we were there.
I saw a tree that was different from all the others. It was not very big, and it had white bark and shiny leaves. It was a spiny orange tree, Ben, but I had never heard of them. Later Bold Berthold told me a lot. It was too big for me to cut the whole thing, but I found a branch that was almost straight. I cut off that and trimmed it and so forth. That may have been the main thing, my main mistake. They are not like other trees. The Mossmen care more about them.
I had gone off the path when I saw the spiny orange, and when I got to it I saw it was right at the edge of the woods, and past it were the downs. Some hills were pretty steep, but they were beautiful, smooth and covered with long grass. So I hiked out there with my new stick and climbed three or four hills. It was really nice. I found a little spring at the top of a hill. I had a drink, and sat down -- I was pretty tired by then -- and carved the stick some, making who-knows-what. Just whittling. After a while I lay down and looked at the clouds. Everybody has seen pictures in clouds, but I saw more that afternoon than I ever have before or since -- an old man with a beard that the wind changed into a black dragon, a wonderful horse with a horn on its head, and a beautiful lady who smiled down at me.
After that, a flying castle, all spiky like a star because there were towers and turrets coming out of all its sides. I kept telling myself it had to be a cloud, but it did not look like a cloud, Ben. It looked like stone. I got up and chased after it, waiting for the wind to blow it apart, but it never did.
Night came. I could not see the castle any longer, and I knew I had to be a long way from our cabin. I started back across the downs, walking fast; but I got to walking down a slope that had no bottom. Somebody grabbed me in the dark, and somebody else caught my ankle when I slapped that hand away. Right then somebody said, "Who comes to Aelfrice!" I still remember that, and for a long, long time after that, that was all I could remember. That and being grabbed by a lot of people.