(urth) The ending of 'Soldier of Sidon' (spoilers)

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Sun Feb 18 04:42:30 PST 2007

On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 20:02:32 +1100 Tom Foster 
<tbfoster at ntlworld.com> wrote:
>Following on from my previous post concerning the ending of 
>'Soldier of 
>Arete' (thanks to those who replied), I have now finished reading 
>and once again have a question about the book's conclusion: why do 

>Qanju and 
>the rest seem to go off and abandon Latro so readily, especially 
>given that 
>Wolfe has just spent two pages giving us the various principle 
>promises of aid to Latro (pp292-3)?  Obviously, Sahuset has got 
>what he 
>wanted from Latro (the scroll - what exactly was on it?) but all 
>seem to owe 
>Latro rather a lot and it seems unlikely that they would be happy 
>to leave 
>him behind without even looking around for him a bit...  I was 
>pleased that 
>Myt-ser'eu came back for him though!
>Overall I thought that it was an enjoyable (and less 
>read, but not as satisfying as the two Greek novels.

I don't think we have enough info about why Latro was left behind; 
anyway, I couldn't come up with anything. 

I found some things about Sidon a little disappointing. Eg:

- What happened to the memory palace? One of the things I never 
understood about Arete was Latro leaving his scrolls behind. Why 
would he do that? I could only guess that he had the memory palace 
thing working well enough to make them unnecessary. Perhaps the 
scrolls would in some way be available to him in the jar in the 
palace, just as they were deposited in the real version of the jar 
awarded to the Amazon queen. But not according to Sidon - Latro has 
abandoned the memory palace itself. It really demands some 
explanation, and we don't get one.

- Similarly, why would he leave behind the new scroll at the end of 
Sidon? And the whole device of the discovered scrolls is getting 
lame. If there is a Latro IV, I hope it gets replaced by something 

- I don't like Wolfe's little childish whore-with-a-golden-heart 
thing. Myt-ser'eu is annoying. Why can't Latro have a Pharetra who 
doesn't get killed off almost immediately? 

- The quest-y parts of the story don't add up to anything. He gets 
the shield-of-something-or-other and the scroll-of-something-or-
other and Falcatta is now the sword-of-something-or-other, but as 
far as I can see there's nothing in this book which motivates why 
anybody should care about them. Too much is left blank for it to 
feel like a whole novel.

- Some of the interactions with gods seemed quite perfunctory. I 
want more from an epiphany of Isis than the couple of sentences we 
get. It all seems too much like some kind of adventure game - meet 
a god, get a blessing, move on - without any real signicance to 

- There are some little writing glitches which I found quite 
jarring, given the beautifully polished prose Wolfe normally 

Hopefully there is a Latro IV & a lot of the blanks do get filled 


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