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The Wizard Knight Companion
Michael Andre-Driussi
Sirius Fiction, 132 pages

The Wizard Knight Companion
Michael Andre-Driussi
Michael Andre-Driussi has been studying anime for several years. His articles on sf anime in general have appeared in The New York Review of Science Fiction. He is the author of Lexicon Urthus, a dictionary for the Urth Cycle by Gene Wolfe.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

In 1994, Michael Andre-Driussi provided a great service to fans of Gene Wolfe and enthusiasts for esoterica when he published Lexicon Urthus, a companion volume to Wolfe's four-volume Book of the New Sun and The Urth of the New Sun. Andre-Driussi comes through again for fans of Wolfe and trivia with his new, much slimmer, volume The Wizard Knight Companion: A Lexicon for Gene Wolfe's The Knight and the Wizard.

As its title states, the book is primarily a companion to the two books which make up Wolfe's The Wizard Knight series. Andre-Driussi's entries for his lexicon are all taken from the source work, whether the names of individuals, such as Able, Wolfe's narrator for the cycle, or places, like Yens. Each entry not only explains the role the entry plays in Wolfe's work, but also its etymology, when appropriate, and notes where in the series the reference appears.

For those who have not read Wolfe's work recently, Andre-Driussi also includes a synopsis of the work at the back of the book. No substitute for Wolfe's own prose, this summation of The Wizard Knight's plot is enough to remind the reader of the general outline into which the various entries fit. For those who haven't read Wolfe's novel, the synopsis serves as a taste of what Wolfe has to offer when read at greater length.

And for those who haven't read Wolfe's work, yet have somehow stumbled upon Andre-Driussi's companion, this volume still has much to offer. Not only does Andre-Driussi explain the importance of his entries in terms of Wolfe's writing, but he also examines their roles in mythology, history, legend, science, and their other real-world sources. This look at the material unconnected to Wolfe's writing means that The Wizard Knight Companion, like the Lexicon Urthus before it, is an excellent source of trivia and esoterica.

While some of Andre-Driussi's definitions could be longer, in general he provides enough information to satisfy the reader's appetite. Andre-Driussi's decision not to write the work as if it were in-universe, but rather as a reader's guide detailing Wolfe's world to the actual reader is a fantastic choice. The synopsis at the end and maps at the beginning help the reader better understand the world (although the maps are not entirely consistent).

Overall, The Wizard Knight Companion is an interesting volume, made more interesting if the reader has also read and enjoyed Wolfe's stories, but fully accessible to the reader who has not dipped into Wolfe's series. Wolfe has found an excellent companion in Andre-Driussi and it may well be hoped that Andre-Driussi will turn his attention to other works by Wolfe, or perhaps even other authors whose works are steeped in esoterica of mythology, history, and general lore.

Copyright © 2010 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a seven-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings. He is the publisher of ISFiC Press. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.

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