Third time is quite the charm. Wolfe starts off with an Urthian version of marital discord, as our hero is now secure in his new job, and the nature of his work is undeniably distasteful to his paramour; the dead/living/reincarnated Dorcas. Besides some non-action reflecting Severian does for awhile, everything is as bizarre and adventure filled, unpredictable and creepily significant-feeling as ever. We journey north (again), watch Sev fall for and free another condemned noble woman (again), run into former friends now revealed as quite different agents (again, again and Very again) and read, learn and outright lie about himself and what he is discovering/remembering. Cacogens. autochthons, alzaboes, and homunculi all reinforce with their presence the feeling that Urth is some sort of interstellar political pawn in something not yet revealed. Wolfe dazzles again with his descriptive imagination, roller coaster plot, and the theo-philosophical allusions galore. (This time it's the Meno again, some Nietzchean eternal return, and Hegel's Spirit.) There's a boy Severian sidekick (a time displaced double?) a two headed titan holding one of his heads hostage (hmmm .. ) the even creepier exploration of the nature of the self, when it's consumable, Hethor's hunting-menagerie grows, and then finally some straight up starships. The best is Baldander's version of how to find an in-network health provider though. That was just sick.