The Book of the New Sun (1980–83) is a series of four science fantasy novels or one four-volume novel by the American author Gene Wolfe. Alternatively, it is a series comprising the original tetralogy, a 1983 collection of essays, and a 1987 sequel.[a] Either way, it inaugurated the so-called "Solar Cycle" (below) that Wolfe continued after 1987 by setting other multi-volume works in the same universe.
Gene Wolfe had originally intended the story to be a 40,000 words novella called "The Feast of Saint Catherine", meant to be published in one of the Obitanthologies, but during the writing it continued to grow in size. Despite being published with a year between each book, all four books were written and completed during his free time without anyone's knowledge when he was still an editor of Plant Engineering, allowing him to write at his own pace and take his time.
The tetralogy chronicles the journey of Severian, a disgraced journeyman torturer who is exiled and forced to travel to Thrax and beyond. It is a first-person narrative, ostensibly translated by Wolfe into contemporary English, set in the distant future when the Sun has dimmed and Earth is cooler (a "Dying Earth" story).