cover image The Long Game

The Long Game

K.J. Parker. Subterranean, $40 (112p) ISBN 978-1-64524-060-0

Parker (Inside Man) spins a whimsical tale of magic and mayhem in this clever fantasy novella narrated by an unnamed adept, a hunter of the demons who possess humans and force them to do their sinister bidding. Though they’re natural enemies, the narrator has secretly befriended—or at least formed a cordial business connection—with one such demon. But their relationship is complicated when the demon is involved in the murder of a religious leader. Meanwhile, the crime is pinned on the mysterious Amalasomtha, a foreigner on a mission to capture a demon and bring it home to use as a weapon in the war raging in her mystical homeland of Idalia. The narrator strongly advises Amalasomtha against this plan while struggling to balance his duties with his desire to protect his unlikely friend. As he works to keep Amalasomtha at bay and curtail his demonic friend’s chaotic tendencies, the plot spirals into delightful chaos. Despite the absurdity of the narrative and its surplus of loose ends, Parker pulls it all together into a surprisingly charming and playful novella that celebrates its own untidiness. Readers will be enchanted. (Mar.)