I've gust finished a cycle of books called The Book Of The New Sun by Gene Wolfe. They were started in 1981, and I have never heard of them whatsoever until I stumbled onto one as a staff-pick at the Orem Public Libtrary http://lib.orem.org/ To admit the series has astonished me would be an understatement. Instead, as the author doubtless hoped, an entire world opened itself to me. It is both ancient and new, terrible and kind, symmetrical and incongruent.
The premise is one of a firsthand telling--a young man is benig brought up in a guild. He is part of a declining civilization, and the sun is dying. It is Earths future, some million years ahead of our time. Our people have reached out beyond the stars, yet decayed and lost that ability for all but a very few. Instead, our civilization has deteriorated to something hybrid--a mix of the old and the new.
I won't bore you further with more explanations and allusions, but I will say this. Wolfe has woven a tapestry of words that holds its own along side the Bayeaux.
Well done Gene! Thank you for the gift of your words...