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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Soldier Series
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 1997 12:48:39 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]


On Tue, 16 Sep 1997 m.driussi@genie.com wrote:

> [Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]
> Reply:  Item #7223192 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET00#
> Xury,
> His real name is Lucius; he is a Latin; he was cursed by the Great
> Mother Goddess for messing up her temple during a battle; "Latro"
> means both "mercenary" and "pawn" (game piece), and Lucius is
> definitely both; and, in the interview words of Gene Wolfe, Lucius
> has a truly magic sword--"It cuts things." <g>

I don't have all the people straight in my head (it's been a while, and I
make all the connections), but Latro is a pawn in the conflict among the
Mother Goddess, the goddess of the Spartans/Rope Makers, Mars (who is
served by the Amazons), and is there also a god/goddess of the Athenians?

In the end, when Latro rides to freedom rather than victory, allowing the
Amazons to win the race, it seems he is thwarting some of the gods and
helping others, but I don't have it all sorted out.

Also there's the Athenian whose name starts with 'T' who the Spartans give
all those gifts, apparently to make him look like a traitor and lose power
among the Athenians.

And another scene I didn't catch until Wolfe explained it in an interview:
The whole ceremony Latro participates in with the Rope Makers is based on
a real event.  When the Spartans gave their slaves arms to help repel the
invading Persians, they had this ceremony where they were ostensibly going
to make them all honorary Spartans, but insted they killed them all,
fulfilling their policy of never allowing slaves to carry weapons.

It wasn't clear to me in Wolfe's version if they had intended and failed
to kill Latro and Seven Lions or if they never intended to kill him and he
was sickened and depressed because that meant he was kind of on the same
side as the people who played such an evil trick. 

In spite of my confusion (part of which is faulty memory), I think the
Soldier books are my favorite of all Wolfe's work.


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