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Sharps Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 479 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

Review

Packed with sharp edges and provocative points, Sharps may be the book that fantasy readers have been waiting for . . . the long-awaited gateway drug to Parker's entire world (Pornokitsch )

Review

Packed with sharp edges and provocative points, Sharps may be the book that fantasy readers have been waiting for . . . the long-awaited gateway drug to Parker's entire world (Pornokitsch )

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1517 KB
  • Print Length: 479 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (5 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0087GZ5AE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #239,722 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sharps is set in two small countries, Permia and Scheria, that live in the shadow of greater empires. They fill that shadow with violence - Permia and Scheria were at war for decades, and now glare at one another in a tense (and tenuous) cease-fire. Despite their bitter rivalry, the two countries know little about one another. Their spies and agents scuttle back and forth across the demilitarized zone, but, as far as the greater population is concerned, their rivals are totally alien.

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.
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By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 July 2012
Format: Paperback
The neighbouring kingdoms of Permia and Scheria fought one another for forty years before the Scherian general Carnufex, known in infamy as 'The Irrigator', flooded a Permian city and killed thousands. The war ended with an uneasy truce and the two nations maintaining a neutral zone between their kingdoms, containing the very territory they spilled so much blood over. To help restore relations and build on their mutual interest in the sport of swordplay, the Scherians dispatch a team of fencers to tour Permia. The fencers quickly learn that they may just be pawns in a larger game as factions in both kingdoms attempt to use their visit as an excuse to restart the war or to seize power in their own land. But no-one has reckoned on this particular team and their individual motivations and ambitions...

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.
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Format: Paperback
(review copied from my Goodreads account)

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
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