Review of The Lost Pilgrim by Gene Wolfe

18586183I found this a bit of a dry read. And yes, I had to finish it once I began. In some ways it was interesting. Clearly the main character and narrator, Pilgrim, was meant to be on the Mayflower, but ended up on a completely different boat heading in what appeared to be very much the opposite direction.

There are warriors (male and female), giants, lions and kings in this story. The elements of myths and legends, with all the prowess to match. And some type of ancient Games – perhaps an early version of the Olympics.

Spoilery Discussion

****Highlight between the sets of stars to read.

The ending was totally ironic. And perhaps, in a way, somewhat predictable, for sure. But even then, it did catch me somewhat unawares. There is a fight, and a king dies. As a result, people must be buried alive with the king, and Pilgrim ends up drawing the black stone (I guess they didn’t know what straws were back then). He uses his dagger won by losing a race to kill all the others who are buried alive along with him – at their request, mind – and then jumps forward in time as far as he can (to his present, I think) to see if anyone discovers the tomb and rescues him. No-one does, and he ends up having to kill himself so that he doesn’t suffer and die… or something like that. Given that the story is in diary form, we never do see him killing himself.


Overall, somewhat interesting, but I really had to concentrate on this one. This is more a story for mythology buffs and those interested in Ancient Greece – so far as I can tell. I’m not one of those.

2/5 rating

My fellow time travelling readers are:

Alesha Escobar (maternity leave)
H.M. Jones (on hiatus)
DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)


About Laurel C Kriegler

A born and bred South African, I was educated at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, where I graduated with an Honours Degree (post-graduate) in Economics at the end of 2001. After spending several years gaining work experience in the UK, I returned to South Africa to get married. It was during the ensuing period that my pursuits of writing and editing took hold.
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2 Responses to Review of The Lost Pilgrim by Gene Wolfe

  1. I was not much a fan of this story either. While I did enjoy the ending, the main story itself felt like it kept going off on tangents, and did have problem holding my attention at times, too.


    • My husband was watching a crime program on TV that was far more interesting than reading the story! I eventually had to walk out so I could concentrate and get the durned thing read!

      Yes – tangents!

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