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Sharps Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The one passion that unites both countries is fencing. Sharps begins in Scheria, where a handful of unlikely fencers are recruited to form a national team and invited to tour Permia for exhibition matches. They are the first planks in a great diplomatic bridge - some of the first Scherians to enter Permia (as guests) in over a decade, and a vital opportunity to reconnect the people of the two countries.
Naturally, no sane person would want to be involved, so the fencers are encourages through a variety of persuasive means. Suidas is a master of the art (and deeply in debt). Phrantzes, the manager, is a former champion (with a wife in 'protective custody' by the government). Giraut is a talented amateur (and is facing a prison sentence for murder). Addo is another skilled young fencer (and his father is known for drowning an entire Permian city during the war). Iseutz, the lone female member of the team, has perhaps the least sinister motive: it is either this or stay home and get married. Somewhere between zero and five (inclusive) of the team are also spies, traitors, psychopaths, evil geniuses and heroes. Of course all of them are far more complex characters than these blithe summaries, motivated by forces both secret and overt.
What the characters aren't is stupid.Read more ›
Sharps is the latest stand-alone novel from the enigmatic K.J. Parker. Parker is known for her fascination with medieval and renaissance weapons of war and basing entire narratives around them. Usually these narratives work on multiple levels, with both extensive literal use of the item in question and also its use as a metaphor. In Sharps Parker returns to her love of the sword and the sport of fencing, which she last studied in detail in her very first novel, the excellent Colours in the Steel, fifteen years ago. Sharps is a very different book, however, to both that novel and her normal output.
Most of Parker's books focus on a single character in detail, whilst Sharps has an ensemble cast. The four fencers are the main focus, along with their manager/trainer and their redoubtable political liaison officer. Parker also visits a whole bunch of bit-players on both sides of the border as different factions try to make use of the situation for their own ends.Read more ›
This is perhaps closer to a quest narrative than Parker's other works, but like those other works it's too original, too mature to be classed as genre fantasy. In many ways, closer to the tradition of Dostoevsky than of Tolkien. Refreshingly, you never have the sense that a certain character is bound to triumph because they're the hero, that the whole book is lurching towards a telegraphed outcome.
The central images here are the messer - an inelegant weapon incongruously used for sporting exhibition - and the flooding of a city, many years before the book's plot begins but half-echoed throughout it, in the fall of blood across a fencer's forehead, or the rush of a crowd into an empty street. These shapes are worked into the characters' psychologies as fully as Woolf's line on the canvas or Ballard's angular automobile geometry. That psychology is the central cog here: Parker offers us characters whose motivations are human - the most heroic characters have selfish sides, the most noxious have nobility in their ideals, and the whole is a convincing tapestry of the mechanics of morality.
The allegories are undisguised; the parallels with the realworld banking collapse and the bloody revolutions in the Arab Spring are bravely drawn. And while Parker's trilogies sometimes suffer from an anxious overflow of events towards the end, this standalone novel is as smartly engineered as a foldaway camping stove; as precise as the edge of a rapier.
"The point is, there's nothing, absolutely nothing that any of us wouldn't do, if we had to. If you say otherwise, you're kidding yourself. You can talk all day about right and wrong and good and evil; all it means is you haven't yet come up against the situation where you've got to do it, you haven't any choice." -- Suidas Deutzel
Most Recent Customer Reviews
KJ Parker typically writes books specialising in the dissection and subsequent dismissal of love as a virtue. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Gregori Fairchild
The formatting of the ebook for the Kindle is absolutely horrendous. I made it about 5% through but then gave up due to the unceasing hanging paragraphs. Read morePublished on 12 Feb. 2014 by G. S. Benham
This is ok but nothing special.
This isn't a bad book but I expect better from Parker.
This is a simple story following a small group of characters with a... Read more
Sharps is the latest standalone novel from author K.J. Parker, a critically successful, but perhaps not as well-known commercially fantasy author. Read morePublished on 24 July 2013 by Idlewilder
The book is an OK story, I know many loved it but it did not really do it for me. A reasonable read but nothing earth-shattering. Read morePublished on 8 May 2013 by Snowy
For me, the books from Parker are a hit and miss. I absolutely loved the Engineer trilogy, but I abandoned the first book of the Scavenger trilogy because I hated it. Read morePublished on 1 Nov. 2012 by PB
I'm sure this is a god book. In fact, I'm hoping to be able to finish it, but I'm struggling with some of the worst kindle formatting I've come across. Read morePublished on 15 Oct. 2012 by Fiona Wallace