cover image A Practical Guide to Conquering the World

A Practical Guide to Conquering the World

K.J. Parker. Orbit, $17.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-49861-6

Book learning, wit, and unwarranted optimism play for laughs in Parker’s fast-paced Siege trilogy finale (after How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It). Felix, a member of the Robur race, has a cushy government job as a translator for the ruthlessly bureaucratic Echmen empire—until the Robur are wiped out in an attack, and Felix becomes a stateless “non-person.” The only one still willing to take him in is the Hus ambassador, who, though he finds Felix annoying and useless, owes Felix for saving his princess’s life. The unwaveringly sunny Felix is grateful to have his days free, gleefully spending them in the enormous Echmen library. After the merciless Echmen kill the Hus king and enslave his people, Felix vows to use the vast knowledge he’s gained from books to help the princess free her people. It won’t be easy; he must unite the Hus with their enemy, the Dejauzi, and prepare both nomadic tribes for battle with the hyperorganized Echmen empire. Along the way, Felix performs some daring grifts and inadvertently invents a religion. Parker fills his well-designed fantasy world with vastly differing cultures and languages that are just as fun to read about as Felix’s audacious schemes. Readers will be delighted. (Jan.)