cover image The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know

K.J. Parker., $10.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8789-9

The one rule for reading any Parker story is never to assume that anything is what it appears to be, and that rule especially applies to this novella, set in a fantasy world. The devil of the title, really a hands-on functionary ensuring that people who sell their souls get what they want, is initially pleased to work with Saloninus, the world’s greatest philosopher. But Saloninus has a cunning and shady side. The more odd things he asks for, like an army to invade a country devoid of anything worth conquering, the more the devil grows suspicious that Saloninus is plotting something devious—maybe even a way to get his soul back. The duo’s sparring is clever enough that Parker (British author Tom Holt) cheerfully stays one step ahead of the reader until the last moment, making for a satisfying conclusion that’s worth far more than the novella’s modest price. (Mar.)