I am happily chugging along in the Book of the New Sun series, and have just finished The Claw of the Conciliator. I find not much to add at this point--the book obviously does not stand alone. As an interim piece it has the handicaps other middle novels in series do--it's hard to make them really stand out. This one won a Nebula Award, but I note that the next two did not--perhaps they had a higher bar to clear after this one.
But it is very enjoyable as second novels go. The prose is as delectable as ever, and the surreal stories and plays within the story that Wolfe introduces here add to the to the interest. Severian is narrating this story from his current position as Autarch. It's really interesting to see the dazed, how-did-I-get-here quality of the story expressed so well.
I will be taking a break from the series to peruse some assigned reading (which I will comment on here), but will be happy to come back to it. Hang in with this one--three stars from me.