The Wizardry of Gene Wolfe
One unexpected, and delightful perquisite of being a writer, is that, from time to time, one's publisher might send an advanced copy of a book to solicit a review, or a blurb to go on the book jacket. While this might impose upon the patience of busier writers, the benefit is that, once in a blue moon, the BEST BOOK by the BEST WRITER ever to put pen to paper shows up unexpectedly on the doorstep.
Gene Wolfe is the finest writer alive today, and if any challenge this statement, I will defend the same in combat mortal with mine body. Imagine my delight, O Reader, to find the second half of his magnificent WIZARD KNIGHT shining on my threshold, left by the postman, or, more likely, by an aelf who worships Mr. Wolfe as a god of the clearing of myths, mythgarthr.
I have only read the first seventy-three pages so far. Wonder and beauty are in this volume, O Reader, and the delight of tales of valiant deeds. The characters are renders with Mr. Wolfe's masterful ability to make them, at once, real and mythic, strong and strange. Mani, the talking cat, (familiar of a dead witch) steals every scene he is in, but the cat race has ever been theivish. For example, when he has a bit of news for her new master, Sir Able, who at the end of the last book was carried into Skai, the heavenly regions, by a valkyrie:
"It was my old mistress who told me, you see." Mani paused, studying my face. "Surprised you, didn't I?"
"Of course you did. She's dead."
Mani grinned; his teeth, which were white and sharp as heck, looked red because of the firelight. "So are you, Sir Able."
"I won't argue -- it's beneath me. Is it a nice place?"