Press Release: The Book of the New Sun
Introduced by Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Sam Weber
‘A masterpiece. Gene Wolfe is a wizard, a torturer, frightening, delightful. Beware! This is magic stuff!’
Gene Wolfe’s epic The Book of the New Sun is one of the great literary masterpieces of speculative fiction. Such a remarkable and multi-faceted work, often described as ‘the Ulysses of fantasy’, demanded Folio’s most lavish treatment: a fully illustrated limited edition. Our art director and editorial team worked with the author who approved each stage of illustration and production.
The strictly limited 750 hand numbered sets feature an exclusive limitation page signed by Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman and Sam Weber.
Each of the four volumes, in a single handmade slipcase, features a striking binding design by award-winning illustrator Sam Weber, who has also created an extraordinary sequence of haunting artworks, including double-page spreads and hand-drawn decorative initial letters at the start of each chapter.This edition includes a new introduction by modern master of fantasy and life-long fan of Wolfe, Neil Gaiman.
This masterpiece of speculative fiction tells the story of Severian, a young torturer just learning his trade, who makes the mistake of falling in love with one of his victims. Unable to bear the sight of her pain, he offers his love the mercy of a sharp blade, and for this crime he is exiled from his home. He is ordered to travel to the distant city of Thrax, there to take up the position of Executioner, but the journey will be longer and stranger than he can imagine. On the road Severian finds new friends and enemies, and discovers a strange jewel that seems to command power over life and death – a power that others will kill to obtain…
7 May 1931–14 April 2019
Wolfe’s own definition of a great story was: ‘one that can be read with pleasure by a cultivated reader and reread with increasing pleasure’, and The Book of the New Sun fully encapsulates this vision. It is both an epic novel and a puzzle, a labyrinth that readers gladly lose themselves within again and again, chasing down each clue and revelation. It brims with allusion and playful language, using the archetypes of fantasy and science fiction to tell a deep, complex story – a challenging read, but one that rewards endlessly. Each volume has won awards, including the Nebula, the Locus and the British Fantasy Award, and Wolfe himself was presented with the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1996.
‘Although he lived a long and wonderful and varied life … and left behind a staggering and brilliant literary corpus, the world was a better place with him in it.’
Award-winning illustrator Sam Weber
Weber has already secured a place in Folio history with his fantastic images for the now legendary edition of Frank Herbert’s Dune, which became one of the most sought-after titles Folio has ever published.
Weber was the driving force behind this edition of The Book of the New Sun. Describing the project as ‘a dream come true’, he seized the opportunity to work with writing that was ‘so nuanced, rich and mysterious’. His enthusiasm is evident in the detail and intimacy of his work, where every component – from the decorative initial letters to the colour scheme – nods to the complexity of the novel. The story Wolfe spins was always going to be challenging to capture on the page, yet Weber has crafted a series of images that throw light and shadow onto a haunted world. Using an exquisite blend of the recognisable and the mythic he has achieved the impossible and brought another layer of meaning to this already multi-layered work.
introduced by neil gaiman
Gaiman is one of modern fantasy’s most celebrated authors, known for reinventing forms as diverse as comics, fairy tales and the Great American Novel.
He has described Wolfe as a hero and a friend, recognising him as ‘possibly the finest living American writer’. For this special limited edition, Gaiman has written an exclusive introduction that examines what makes The Book of the New Sun such a unique work: the layers of meaning, the seductive power of an Earth changed almost beyond recognition. He delves into how the book rewards those who choose to revisit it, challenging them to glean every meaning from each delicious puzzle, and, like a kindly knight sending the hero off on his quest, he also provides a series of guidelines on how to read the book, advising that, with Wolfe, ‘every word matters’.
Limited to 750 numbered copies. Limitation page signed by Gene Wolfe, Sam Weber and Neil Gaiman. Four volumes presented together in a handmade cloth-bound slipcase blocked on two sides in pale gold foil with designs by the illustrator and lined with silver mirrored paper.Each volume three-quarter bound in black buckram with spines blocked in red foil and cloth front boards printed with designs by the illustrator. Set in Jenson with Priori Serif display with decorative initial letters designed by the illustrator. Printed on Abbey Pure Rough paper. 1,196 pages of text in total. Colour frontispiece and double-page illustration in each volume. Three black and white full-page plates in each volume. Printed in two colours throughout. Black page edges. 10˝ x 6¾˝
UK £395.00 US $595.00 Can $795.00 Aus $880.00
For media enquiries please contact
UK & ROW Ken Hooper, Cherish PR
020 3626 0282,
US & Canada Cathleen P. Williamson