cover image Blue and Gold

Blue and Gold

K.J. Parker, Subterranean (, $25 (104p) ISBN 978-1-59606-327-3

Parker (Purple and Black) opens this darkly comic novella with a grandiose proclamation from its flawed narrator. Saloninus claims to have mastered the art of turning base metal into gold and confesses to poisoning Eudoxia, his wife and the sister of his patron, Prince Phocas of Paraprosdocia. A talented alchemist, criminal, and admitted serial confabulator, the cheerfully amoral Saloninus relates his life history and efforts to escape Paraprosdocia and justice, hampered by his lack of resources and a broad array of enemies. In contrast to Parker's other protagonists, whose obsessive adherence to ostensible virtues leads them to commit atrocities, Saloninus is generally unburdened by laudable goals, though his focus on his own interests has similarly bloody results. The charms of this lovable rogue keep the story moving right up to the final punch line. (Jan.)