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Banished for the sin of mercy, Severian, one of the ancient guild of Torturers, flees from exile. In a mountain wilderness he meets the Alzabo, in whom those eaten seem to live on, adopts as son only to lose him in battle, discharges an old debt to vengeance, encounters fanged aliens who hide behind masks of beauty, and helps the people of the floating islands in their unending battle for freedom. Won British Fantasy Award in 1983. Won Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 1983. Nominated for BSFA Award in 1982. Nominated for Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1982. Nominated for Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1983. Nominated for World Fantasy Award in 1983.