Shop now Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop Now Shop now
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Purple and Black Hardcover – 30 Jul 2009

2 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£44.33 £15.15

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Save £20 on Amazon.co.uk with the aqua Classic card. Get an initial credit line of £250-£1,200 and build your credit rating. Representative 32.9% APR (variable). Subject to term and conditions. Learn more.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 113 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean Press (30 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159606241X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596062412
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 14.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 6 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Purple and Black is a limited edition novella from Subterranean Press, who have defied the 2009 malaise by putting out some stonking short fiction over the past 12 months.

It is, first and foremost, a stunning book. Subterranean pulled out all the stops - even printing it in mixed purple and black text. A short (120 pg) book, this is a quick read, but by no means a light one.

The novella takes place in a world vaguely analogous to the late Roman empire, although, like in The Company, world-building details are kept deliberately abstracted in favor of character-building. And, despite the short span of the book, there's plenty of character. An epistolary novel is tough to write, but Parker manages to bring both letter-writers to life. The idealistic young Emperor Nico and his cynical friend Phormio are both astoundingly empathetic - all the more impressive as we only know them from their own words.

Nico has appointed his friend as General. The Empire is under attack, but the young Emperor is afraid that if he appoints one of the 'steelneck' old guard, he'll soon be facing a civil war. Instead, he trusts the security of his empire to his old school friend. Phormio is woefully unprepared for the task, but, as the reader discovers, is willing to give it the old college try.

There are quite a few twists and turns throughout the course of the book - not all of which are unexpected. In order to pull off the final 'ah-ha!', Parker throws in a bit more explanatory backstory than I would have preferred, but, overall, the book stays closely focused. Like The Company, this is a look at the horrors of war, but from a different angle: can ambition and trust ever live alongside one another?

The "enigmatic" (there you go!) Parker is one of the finest writers at work today - each new volume of philosophical, introspective, dark fantasy is a treat. Purple and Black is a highlight of 2009.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant satire and very funny.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 14 Jun. 2010
By Jacob Glicklich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Exquisitely drawn story, very funny and then very tragic in all the right points. The story is an exchange of letters between two figures, the newly crowned Emperor and his long term schoolfriend set out to command at the frontier. The genre elements are a bit thin (it's closely modeled after Rome but equally clearly has its own specific events) but the actual process of emotion and exchange is first rate. Feels very much like a parable, sketching out the question of idealism and pragmatism in politics, and what happens to student promises for justice once the former students attain real power. A fairly grim long-term perspective, but the spark of character detail and effectively rendered perspectives make this a satisfying read, at once unique, plausible and surprisingly fun despite the grim result. Glad I came across this one.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Pseudo-Roman, political thriller 23 Dec. 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
KJ Parker might as well change his/her pen name to "The Enigmatic". Not only do the official blurbs refer to the author in this fashion, but virtually every review does the same. "KJ Parker" is a pseudonym (supposedly of someone that's already famous in another genre), but the cryptic reputation is reinforced by his/her chosen stylistic territory.

Parker writes epic fantasy with the tone and flair of the great existentialists. Imagine Camus (beret / chain-smoking / small coffee / derisive look) secretly going home and reading Tolkien under the covers. The closest modern comparison is Andrzej Sapkowski, who also lends a certain stark & philosophical bent to his work. (Although the 'stark' could be the result of the translations).

Purple and Black is a limited edition novella from Subterranean Press, who have defied the 2009 malaise by putting out some stonking short fiction over the past 12 months.

It is, first and foremost, a stunning book. Subterranean pulled out all the stops - even printing it in mixed purple and black text. A short (120 pg) book, this is a quick read, but by no means a light one.

The novella takes place in a world vaguely analogous to the late Roman empire, although, like in The Company, world-building details are kept deliberately abstracted in favor of character-building. And, despite the short span of the book, there's plenty of character. An epistolary novel tough to write, but Parker manages to bring both letter-writers to life. The idealistic young Emperor Nico and his cynical friend Phormio are both astoundingly empathetic - all the more impressive as we only know them from their own words.

Nico has appointed his friend as General. The Empire is under attack, but the young Emperor is afraid that if he appoints one of the 'steelneck' old guard, he'll soon be facing a civil war. Instead, he trusts the security of his empire to his old school friend. Phormio is woefully unprepared for the task, but, as the reader discovers, is willing to give it the old college try.

There are quite a few twists and turns throughout the course of the book - not all of which are unexpected. In order to pull off the final 'ah-ha!', Parker throws in a bit more explanatory backstory than I would have preferred, but, overall, the book stays closely focused. Like The Company, this is a look at the horrors of war, but from a different angle: can ambition and trust ever live alongside one another?

The "enigmatic" (there you go!) Parker is one of the finest writers at work today - each new volume of philosophical, introspective, dark fantasy is a treat. Purple and Black is a highlight of 2009 - don't wait until 2010 to read it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Sorrowful Military/Political Fantasy 2 Sept. 2010
By Mike B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This novella drilled into my mind an impression from which I cannot quickly shake. Although it mimes traditional fantasy, it stands on its own authenticity. People are drawn to power. Some seem to shy away from it, others reluctantly accept it, and others lust for it. At least that's the premise. I think we all lust for it, for better or worse. Perhaps it is best to put individual power in perspective and seek more important things in life. Better relationships with kin, or volunteerism, perhaps. I don't know.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Thought-provoking 4 Sept. 2010
By E. Smiley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book because I'd heard good things about the author, and was not disappointed.

The novella consists mostly of letters between two friends: one newly made Emperor, and the other out to quash a rebellion for him. It's a short book, but packs quite a punch; as with many epistolary novels, there's more unwritten than actually on the page, which makes for wonderfully thought-provoking reading. And unlike in most epistolary novels I've read, the letters here actually sound like letters that people might write to one another: there's not a lot of scene-setting, description, dialogue, or telling each other what they already know, which leaves us to fill in a lot of blanks.

Like many of my favorite books, this one is set in a secondary world, but without magic, dragons and so on. It focuses on political intrigue and the corrupting effects of power, and is predictably grim. The one problem I found was that the language felt perhaps too modern and slang-y for the (ambiguous, but certainly premodern) setting. Purple and Black is expensive (I was fortunate enough to find it at the library) but was certainly worth an evening of my time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Mr. Parker in top form 6 Dec. 2012
By MaskedMarauder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Another wonderful novella by the elusive K.J. Parker, he* (!) who is still not paid the appropriate attention and respect despite a considerable output of consistently high quality.
I like epistolary storytelling - dispatches in this case exchanged between the Vesani emperor Nicephorus V. and his old academy friend Phormio whom he sent to Upper Tremissis to deal with insurgents. I hate spoilers so no more of the story here.
It's a quick read, 1-2 hours with a satisfying end and yes, I would have liked another 50-100 pages but the story is told and doesn't need more pages.
It takes place in the same universe all of Parker's novels and stories are situated in, though Parker steps up the humour this time - just read the names of some of the characters out loud: Nicephorus, Tremissis, the Philagyrus Brothers, Perimadeia, you get the idea or (page 32) "it isn't exactly catapult science" as Parker puts it.

*Does anybody really think a woman could have written a sentence like this (page 67): "The bond between two people who share a common devotion to hardcore porn is unbreakable."
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know

Look for similar items by category


Feedback