cover image Sharps


K.J. Parker. Orbit, $15.99 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-0-316-17775-7

On the surface, Parker’s newest stand-alone, like the earlier Fencer Trilogy, is a ripping good adventure yarn, laced with frequent barbed witticisms and ace sword fighting. Fencing champion Suidas Deutzel of the Republic of Scheria is caught up in the aftermath of a decades-long vicious war between Scheria and its mortal enemy, Permia. A fencing team of Suidas, unintentional murderer Giraut Bryennius, general’s son Addo Carnufex, and grouchy proto-feminist Iseutz Bringas reluctantly undertake a tour of Permia—a supposed goodwill trip that may start another war. Beneath the hilarious horrors of a trek that suffers every possible setback, Parker details the thrusts and parries of a game between the military aristocracies that want war and the banks that don’t. Parker’s settings and characterizations never miss a beat, and the intricate political interplay of intrigue is suspenseful almost to the last page. (July)