Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 209
Soldier of the Mist is a 1987 novel by the American writer Gene Wolfe. Part of a trilogy, it was followed by Wolfe's 1989 book Soldier of Arete. The two books tell the story of an amnesic soldier in the ancient world.
Latro is the protagonist in the two books and the story is told from his (first person) perspective. He is a soldier suffering from battle-inflicted amnesia which has the side-effect of having given him the supernatural ability to communicate with the gods. Latro's amnesia is so complete that he is unable even to recall his given name and has simply assumed the moniker "Latro" which means "soldier." The totality of the erasure of Latro's memory is driven home when he awakes and must ask Io, his slave, "and who am I?"
Due to Latro's condition, many of the other characters in the story pass in and out from the reader's viewpoint over time. They include Pasicrates, a Spartan and Pausanias' messenger, who has a complex relationship with Latro that veers from cordiality to enmity; Io, Latro's ten year-old slave girl given to him by the gods; the poet Pindaros who is key in Latro's quest to find the healing shrine; the spy Eurykles; the brothel proprietor Kalleos, and others.