Cover image of A Borrowed Man by Gene WolfeWolfe’s latest novel, A Borrowed Man, was published this week by Tor/Macmillan in the USA. Copies have arrived here in the Library and we have already started reading them.

Ultan’s Library co-editor Nigel Price was amazed and delighted to discover that he is the object of the novel’s dedication. He does not know what he did to deserve this honour, though his best guess is that it was because he was critically ill in hospital for several months around the time the book was being completed. Though, even if correct, he would not recommend this method of attracting the author’s sympathy, his joy at being still here and able to read this work knows no bounds.

Meanwhile, word has reached the Great Library of Nessus that Wolfe is already hard at work on a sequel, the working title of which is Interlibrary Loan.

Here is the publisher’s blurb for A Borrowed Man:

It is perhaps a hundred years in the future, our civilization is gone, and another is in place in North America, but it retains many familiar things and structures. Although the population is now small, there is advanced technology, there are robots, and there are clones.

E. A. Smithe is a borrowed person. He is a clone who lives on a third-tier shelf in a public library, and his personality is an uploaded recording of a deceased mystery writer. Smithe is a piece of property, not a legal human.

A wealthy patron, Colette Coldbrook, takes him from the library because he is the surviving personality of the author of Murder on Mars. A physical copy of that book was in the possession of her murdered father, and it contains an important secret, the key to immense family wealth. It is lost, and Colette is afraid of the police. She borrows Smithe to help her find the book and to find out what the secret is. And then the plot gets complicated.

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