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Sharps [Kindle Edition]

K. J. Parker
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £5.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

For the first time in nearly forty years, an uneasy truce has been called between two neighbouring kingdoms. The war has been long and brutal, fought over the usual things: resources, land, money . . .

Now, there is a chance for peace. Diplomatic talks have begun and with them, the games of skill and chance. Two teams of fencers represent their nations at this pivotal moment.

When the future of the world lies balanced on the point of a rapier, one misstep could mean ruin for all.

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Product Description


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 )


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: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,636 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swords, politics, danger and wit - brilliant! 5 July 2012
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly Parker's best novel to date 22 July 2012
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Aran W
(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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... books specialising in the dissection and subsequent dismissal of...
KJ Parker typically writes books specialising in the dissection and subsequent dismissal of love as a virtue. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Gregori Fairchild
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version nigh on unreadable
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 more
Published 17 months ago by G. S. Benham
3.0 out of 5 stars Possibly Parker's worst to date.
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
Published 23 months ago by plot hound
4.0 out of 5 stars Intricate, Intelligent Fantasy
Sharps is the latest standalone novel from author K.J. Parker, a critically successful, but perhaps not as well-known commercially fantasy author. Read more
Published on 24 July 2013 by Idlewilder
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible formatting of the e-book
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 more
Published on 8 May 2013 by Snowy
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good one from Mr. Parker!
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 more
Published on 1 Nov. 2012 by anonymous
2.0 out of 5 stars appalling formatting
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 more
Published on 15 Oct. 2012 by Fiona Wallace
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read thats blade sharp
As a huge reader, KJ Parker is an author I always make time for, the books have solid characters, wonderful plot lines and of course some magical twists that are as deft as a... Read more
Published on 12 July 2012 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog
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