World Fantasy Award winner K. J. Parker's newest novella Mightier than the Sword presents itself as a translated oddity of a document called Concerning the Monasteries. But in true Parker style, this novella is instead a sprightly, riveting tale that reveals secret upon secret, building to an ending at once perfect and perfectly unpredictable.
An Imperial legate is called into see his aubt, who just happens to e the empress running the civilized world while her husband's in his sick bed. After some chastisement, she dispatches her nephew to take care of the dreaded Land and Sea Raiders, pirates who've been attacking the realm's monasteries.
So begins a possibly doomed tour of banished relatives and pompous royals put in charge of monasteries like Cort Doce and Cort Maleston, to name a few. While attempting to discover the truth of what the priates might be after, the legate visits great libraries and halls in each varied locale and conducts a romance of which he knows--but doesn't care--his aunt will not approve. With enough wit and derring-do (and luck), the narrator might just make it through his mission alive…or will he?
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From Publishers Weekly:
“Fans of Parker (a pseudonym of humorist Tom Holt) and cunning storytelling will enjoy this twisty novella, which is enhanced with glimpses of a fantasy empire fighting decline… As riddles and questions pile up, the legate stumbles through. Parker’s mastery of tangled webs and deceptive appearances is in full force here, and readers will savor his usual sly style.”
From The New York Times:
“Beneath this mystery topsoil, however, lies a treasure trove of rich, engaging characters. Our protagonist — nameless, as is the empire itself, because naturally in a first-person account the tale-teller knows what matters most and need not say it — is a man of wry wit, with a surprisingly cheerful nature for someone whose entire life has been steeped in political intrigue and war.”
Paul Di Filippo, in Locus Online:
“Certainly this delightful frolic, composed of dark and light segments in equal measure, is a prime candidate for anyone’s box of literary treasures.”
A review via NetGalley:
“A story with monks copying books and fighting pirates? How can one not love it!”
A review via NetGalley:
“I love the comedic asides the narrator and others use to give the piece the usual K. J. Parker whimsical feel. Another dashing good story!”
- Vincent Chong
- K. J. Parker
- Subterranean Press