In 1983, the final volume of Creator/GeneWolfe's magnum opus, ''Literature/BookOfTheNewSun'', was released. Fans of this obscure masterwork immediately began clamoring for more. Four years later, a one-shot "coda" to ''New Sun'' was released, entitled ''The Urth of the New Sun''. Fans would have to wait six more years before Wolfe began penning another epic; ''The Book of the Long Sun''.

Like ''New Sun,'' ''Long Sun'' is a tetralogy following the story of a [[TheComicallySerious stoic]], {{messianic|Archetype}} male lead; Patera Silk, who is the ranking augur of the Sun Street manteion of the Chapter of the Holy City of Viron, one of many cities in a world much like our own called The Whorl. While playing a ball game with the students of the adjacent palaestra, Silk has an out-of-body, not to mention of-of-time experience which he identifies as Enlightenment by an obscure, minor god by the name of The Outsider.

What follows is a tale of religious and political intrigue with Silk at the center. The citizens of Viron want to make him their leader, believing him a messiah; the secular government wants him killed, lest he overthrow them; the church wants to use him to regain their own lost power. And all Silk wants to do is what The Outsider commanded him to do -- save his manteion from its impending destruction at the hands of a crime lord who has obtained its deed.

Like ''New Sun,'' ''Long Sun'' is also complex. Not only complex, but mysterious and labyrinthine, with much ongoing debate as to the motivations and indeed basic natures of numerous characters, events and concepts within the novels. To top that off, Wolfe employs his usual blink-and-you'll-miss-it, ViewersAreGeniuses style of prose, all of which is to say that ''Book of the Long Sun'' is a [[{{Pun}} long]] and difficult read.

Books in the series include (in order) ''Nightside the Long Sun'', ''Lake of the Long Sun'', ''Caldé of the Long Sun'' and ''Exodus From the Long Sun''. The first two books are compiled in the omnibus ''Litany of the Long Sun'', the latter two in ''Epiphany of the Long Sun''.

Prequel series to ''Literature/BookOfTheShortSun''.

!!This series contains examples of:
* AffablyEvil: Blood. Arguably, he's not even very evil; he runs drug and prostitution rings, so if you don't think drugs and prostitution are objectionable...
* AmazonBrigade: the Trivigaunti army.
* AnAesop: When Blood complains about Mucor, Silk lectures him that [[spoiler:adoptive parents can't use the excuses natural parents do, such as "I didn't plan on this" or "she didn't turn out the way I expected," since by definition an adoptive parent is electively a parent.]]
* Anvilicious: Mucor is a skeletally-thin fifteen year old girl who refuses to wear clothes or eat in part as a result of sexual violation, and half a dozen characters chew out her father for not helping her get better.
* ArcWords: The Plan of Pas. Though there's really only one "arc," so it's more like Entire Series Words.
* ArmyOfThievesAndWhores: [[spoiler:General Mint's]] citizen army.
* AxCrazy: Musk.
** Potto has his moments as well.
* {{BFS}}: The azoths. So big, they cleave ''reality'' in twain.
* BizarreAlienBiology: The [[spoiler:inhumi]], revealed in the last book. [[spoiler:Patera Quetzal]] has a snake-like body, fangs, wings and only weighs a couple pounds.
* ChristianityIsCatholic: Well, it's not actually Christianity, but it's justified either way in that Gene Wolfe is Catholic, and specifically wanted Catholic themes in the novels.
* TheComicallySerious: Silk. ''Long Sun'' has many more comedic moments than ''New Sun'', due mostly in part to Silk's utter, bald-faced naïveté.
** To be fair, Severian is also incredibly naive, but since he is the narrator of that series and is not at all objective, he doesn't come off as gullible as Silk. The comedy in ''New Sun'' is mostly derived from black humor.
* CreepyChild: Mucor
* DemonicPossession: When Mucor possesses someone, they get an insane, rictus-like smile.
* DoAndroidsDream: The chems, especially Maytera Marble and Hammerstone.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome: Silk. Another staple of Wolfe's.
* EyeScream: Four and a half pages are spent dwelling upon [[spoiler:Potto]] preparing to torture [[spoiler:Maytera Mint]] by ''holding her down and pouring boiling water in her eyes!''
* {{Fanservice}}: Chenille and Hyacinth being prostitutes, we're treated to numerous descriptions of their assets.
* FantasticDrug: Rust. It's like heroin and ecstasy mixed -- makes you twitchy, feverish and horny as hell.
* FigureItOutYourself: Kinda Wolfe's whole M.O. Much less so in this book than others, though.
* {{Gayngster}}: The crime lord Blood. [[spoiler: With Musk, if you wanted to know.]]
* GenerationShip: The Whorl itself.
* GodGuise: [[spoiler:The "gods" of the Whorl are just the A.I.'s of regular people, the family members of the guy who created the Whorl.]]
* LateArrivalSpoiler: [[spoiler: For those who read the blurbs on the ''Book Of The Short Sun''- the story is actually told in the first-person, not third, the Whorl is headed to Blue and Green and Silk is left on the Whorl after Horn and Nettle leave.]]
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Over a hundred named. Interestingly, there's at least one character for each letter of the alphabet (Auk, Blood, Chenille ... Xiphias, Yapok, Zoril).
* NarratorAllAlong: [[spoiler: Horn]]
* MagneticHero: Silk has quite the knack for turning almost everyone he meets into a loyal ally, without even trying.
* MoralityPet: Musk's birds. He'll snap your neck or a little bunny rabbit without second thought, but he has a soft spot for voracious birds of prey.
* MysteriousWaif: Mucor.
* NonHumanSidekick / TalkingAnimal / EnsembleDarkhorse: Oreb.
* PowersViaPossession: People possessed by gods can get, among things, super strength and agility.
* ReligionOfEvil: [[spoiler:The established church is basically this, since the gods being worshiped, with one or two exceptions, are deranged sociopaths whose idea of a commandment is "Overthrow your government and let me know when it's done; if you sacrifice enough children you'll probably get my attention."]]
** [[spoiler:It should be noted that even though most of the gods are evil on the Whorl, the religion itself is usually depicted positively. Even Quetzal, an inhumu who preys on the people of Viron, contributes positively to the city by banning human sacrifices. And obviously, the Outsider (who is clearly the Judeo-Christian God) is a benevolent, albeit elusive, deity.]]
* SchizoTech: Ostensibly, the Whorl has medieval technology, but then you've got things like androids, hovercraft and reality-splitting magitek swords.
** It's mentioned at one point that there were once people called ''scientists'' who knew how to invent new technology, but there aren't any of them around any more. But the main reason for the Whorl's low-tech society is probably a lack of fuel sources - their few power vehicles have to run on fish oil because they have no fossil fuels at all.
* SelfMadeMan: Blood. And goddammit, nobody's gonna take that away from him!
* StatuesqueStunner: Chenille.
* ThemeNaming: Bio (human) males are named for animals or animal products (Lemur, Oosik), bio females are named for plants (Aloe, Mint) and chems (androids) are [[RockThemeNaming named after metals and minerals]] (Hammerstone, Molybdenum). People in the same family also tend to have similar names - for instance the corrupt government are mostly related to each other, and named after various lemurs.
** The Councillors are named after [[ prosimians]], to be technical -- Lemur, Loris, Galago, Tarsier, Potto.
* VerbalTic: Many characters have distinguishing verbal tics, which nicely allows dialogue after dialogue, with no "said X" in between, because you can tell who's speaking from the way they speak -- Patera Remora, ah, speaks quite carefully, eh? Patera ''Incus'' speaks with singsong ''elocution''. Xiphias shouts a lot and always calls Silk lad!
* VowOfCelibacy: Priests and nuns are required to be abstinent. This has a practical purpose: only virgins can receive divine messages clearly.
* WaifProphet: Mucor