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Colours in the Steel (Fencer Trilogy Book 1)

Colours in the Steel (Fencer Trilogy Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

K. J. Parker
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
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Product Description

Review of the most entertaining fantasy debuts in recent years...incredibly vivid, refreshing, fun, thoughtful, absorbing (SFX )

An intriguing tale of magic, manipulation and action-packed adventure. (STARBURST )

A remarkably accomplished tale for a debut novel. (BLACK TEARS MAGAZINE )

Book Description

COLOURS IN THE STEEL is the richly imaginative, masterfully written first volume in the FENCER trilogy and marks the debut of a wonderful new talent in fantasy fiction

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 730 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New Ed edition (5 Nov 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TZ3EK2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #157,142 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strikingly successful debut novel 17 Nov 2012
Triple-walled Perimadeia is one of the richest city-states in the world, famed for its teeming markets and its impregnable defences. After decades of trying fruitlessly to take the city, one of the plains tribes comes up with an ingenious idea: send one of their own to get a job in the city arsenal and learn its secrets from the inside.

Even as an ambitious young chieftain's son plans the most audacious siege in history, life in the city goes on. Bardas Loredan, a former soldier, now works as a defence advocate. In the courts of Perimadeia cases are settled through swordplay and Bardas is very good at what he does...until a vengeful young woman hires the city's Patriarch to curse him.

Colours in the Steel was originally published in 1998 and was the debut novel by the enigmatic K.J. Parker. It's also the first in The Fencer Trilogy, although it also works quite well as a stand-alone book. It can be best described as a sort-of anti-epic fantasy. The trappings of much of the subgenre are present: swordfights, large armies, sieges, military manoeuvres, magic (more or less) and prophecies (kind of). However, most of this is window-dressing, with the focus being on Bardas Loredan and his troubled family life, and on young Temrai, the chieftain's son and spy who ends up plotting the genocide of a city he actually quite likes.

As with Parker's later books, Colours in the Steel has a cynical vein of black humour running through it. There are musings on the futility of revenge, the pointlessness of warfare and the quite insane meanderings of the military bureaucracy (there's more than a whiff of WWI incompetence to the leaders of Perimadeia and their military judgement during the siege).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Never having heard of the author, I bought this on impulse (maybe the magic working its quirky effect on me? - no headaches though!) and Joy! - something refreshingly different! Here is an author who is obviously intimately familiar with law, fencing, medieval ballistics and human interaction. I don't know the gender of the author, but the style 'feels' distinctly feminine - no I don't mean Barbara Cartland, more like Barbara Wood or Sheri Tepper - but with all the extra fine detail that sets it apart. Add to this a wry, self-depracating humour and a magical theme that runs through as a mostly unobserved undercurrent and you have a book that almost sets its own genre. I'm still trying to work out who really is the magician in all this.... maybe the next book will reveal more? Oh, I sincerely hope it fulfils the promise of this one - rarely have I read such a wonderful book, especially a debut novel..... more please! I can't recommend this highly enough.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent book 19 Dec 2000
By A Customer
I agree with the review by the other reader. This book is brilliant. It grips from the word go and is a real through to early morning read. But the sequels are a poor relation and not worthy of mention. Buy this and read it is as if it were a single tome - and enjoy it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Having been reading the fantasy genre for many years, I have become jaded with the stock formulaic swords and sorcery epics that seem to the norm these days. Thus, have bought the book on a whim, without any preconceptions, it was a delight to find a consistent universe, character driven, yet with a refreshing twist to it. The main protaganist is a lawyer, yet in this world, law is decided by the art of fencing - to the death for serious cases, to first blood for civil matters - divorce and so on. The background to this is that of the internal and external politics of the city-state in which it is set.
I cannot promise huge swashbuckling magical duels, yet magic is a part of this world, but in a subtle way, that leaves you wondering, rather than the mechanistic science of magic derived from role-playing spinoffs. (I must admit, they *are* however one of my weaknesses as a sub-genre!)
However, the plot is riveting - the main character is a fencer-at-law, and a semi-disgraced ex-soldier. Now retired from active practise, he teaches, and attracts a pupil with a hidden agenda. He is also called upon to lead the city militia. As a parallel plot, a new leader for the plain tribesmen arises, and, makes a trek to the city, to learn the ways of technology. This, he applies to the art of war, with ominous consequences...
This book was, in short, a very good read, and has had me scouring the net for details of the second book promised in the series. Oddly unhyped, partly due to the unsensational nature of the story, it stands head and shoulders above its current rivals, and is as engaging as early Brooks, or even, oddly, reminding me of Snow Crash, by Stephenson. Buy it and read it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but the series is a disappointment 12 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Why do I give colours in the steel only three stars if I thought it was a "great book." The problem is, you read this book. You like Parker's style, his attention to detail and some of the concepts he's developing. After that you go out and buy the sequels and you are utterly crushed - the story just doesn't go anywhere, the ending of the third book is a cop out and the whole thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth. So if you have the will power to read the first part of a trilogy and leave the rest, go for it, otherwise you're better off elsewhere.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fantasy adventure
Am enjoying this. Good fantasy adventure.
Published 20 days ago by JC
3.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely loved The Folding Knife
Absolutely loved The Folding Knife, one of my favourite books, but this is much harder to get into.

Characters are less interesting, and the story is meandering. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Philip Dembo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
Couldn't put it down. The research into old techniques - in all three books - make for a fascinating story. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mellish
5.0 out of 5 stars Great but only for those with a strong stomach
I am a huge KJ Parker fan, but i would not like to live in his head. Definatly adult only book, and even some adults may find themsleves having nightmares. Read more
Published on 2 April 2011 by D. Beecher
3.0 out of 5 stars Hang on... This is familiar...
This is not the first Parker book I've read - I started the Engineer trilogy back in 2005 and enjoyed the mix of real life engineering and political intrigue. Read more
Published on 12 April 2008 by ellenvannin
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book but avoid the sequels - seriously
As a number of other reviewers have mentioned, this is an enjoyable book with some quite likeable characters. Read more
Published on 4 April 2008 by hokers
2.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this thoroughly - BUT...
I enjoyed this book: it was well-written and entertaining. The information Parker provides (throughout the trilogy) on weapons / weapons-making is fascinating, and his characters... Read more
Published on 6 Mar 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable!
This was the only book I have bought without being sure that I could get the next in the series. Am I ever glad that I did! By the end of the first chapter I was hooked. Read more
Published on 15 Oct 2000
1.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Disappointing
Having read the reviews by Orbit and other Amazon readers I ordered this book. It has a new and intriguing idea at it's centre,agreed, but it is totally spoilt by the 20th. Read more
Published on 17 May 2000
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