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The Folding Knife [Kindle Edition]

K. J. Parker
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.31 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £4.68 (52%)
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. Basso the Murderer. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man.

He is ruthless, cunning and, above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he's only ever made one mistake.

One mistake, though, can be enough.

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Product Description


'I have reviewed books before that I thought might someday be found to have achieved greatness ... K.J. Parker is writing work after work that demands to be placed in this category' Orson Scott Card

Book Description

A novel of obsession, murder and politics from 'one of fantasy's premier voices' (SFX)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 748 KB
  • Print Length: 465 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 031603844X
  • Publisher: Orbit (3 Jun. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #146,887 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Whirlwind of Wit and Wonderment 5 July 2010
Before The Folding Knife, I'd never read a K. J. Parker novel. I'd nearly taken the plunge on a few - the Engineer trilogy in particular had appealed to me - but the diversity of opinions on each of Parker's publications stayed my hand. People bandy about the "love it or hate it" label more often, I think, than they should; usually it'd be closer to the truth to say they either adore or mildly dislike a thing. And yet with Parker, the range of reactions does indeed seem to err on the aforementioned extremes. Rarely do you come upon an author whose work can be described as superb on one hand and deathly dry on the other. Long story short: I came to The Folding Knife with some reservations. Two sittings later, I'm glad I didn't let them stop me.

Bassianus Severus is either the greatest First Citizen the Republic has ever had, or incredibly, extraordinarily lucky. The economy turns on his dime; he wins wars so effortlessly you'd be forgiven for thinking the result an accident; the Vesani people of the believe he's a leader of the little guy. His private life, however, is a shambles. Basso is a lonely man: his best friend is his father's former slave, his wife a duplicitous piece of work. He loves his sister more than anyone else in the world: she, meanwhile, has made it her life's work to make trouble for the First Citizen at every turn. Basso's only confidant is his estranged nephew, whose father he murdered, and whose murder he got away with, years before he took office. His entire administration is like a house of cards. One gust of wind and it'll all come crashing down. What better time, then, for the perfect storm to appear on the horizon?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top drawer!! 14 Dec. 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If, like me, you've become jaded with fantasy - you don't much care for magic, long journeys, dwarves etc. and have no care for extreme violence or gratuitous bad language, then this book will restore your belief. I'd never tried KJ Parker before - wow! what a discovery! I haven't enjoyed a book so much in ages. It's well-written and has intriguing characters. I found myself thinking at various times of Lady Macbeth [appears a soft touch compared with Basso's sister!] and Tony Blair [OK you need to read it....]. As for the 'mistake' the cover mentions, I've only just finished the book and am still wondering what exactly it was, which is interesting. And for all his faults, I couldn't help liking Basso very much. It's a different kind of fantasy I guess - the nearest I can think of is 'Song of Ice and Fire' which to my mind would be praise indeed. Political chicanery, deceit but with more than a bit of humanity, it's convincing and satisfying; I recommend it wholeheartedly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage (Brilliant) Parker - a Trilogy in a Book 5 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For the record, I'm pretty sure my glowing opinion of KJ Parker is well-documented in other reviews.

The Folding Knife isn't new territory for this talented & enigmatic author: an ambitious, Machiavellian man has sweeping plans for the world, but must overcome human weakness to achieve them. The setting is a "generic" medieval/fantasy world, populated with vague analogues of Roman and Byzantine cultures.

As a single volume, The Folding Knife just doesn't have all the room it needs - there's an epic story in here, but it is told very quickly. Brilliant, but feels like the Reader's Digest version of the (even more brilliant) Engineer Trilogy. I greedily wish, like with The Company, Parker would've explored slightly newer ground.

Still highly recommended: my main (and only) criticism is that I like Parker's other work even more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Bassianus Severus - known to the people as Basso - is the First Citizen of the Vesani Republic. He is politically savvy, financially creative, ruthlessly ambitious and very lucky. As his power and prestige grows, so does the rift between him and his sister, and the battle for the loyalty of her son.

The Folding Knife is the eleventh novel by the enigmatic K.J. Parker, a stand-alone book which is not part of any series. Fourteen years ago I picked up Parker's debut novel, Colours in the Steel, and later its two sequels and enjoyed them enormously. I've missed out on her books since then, which is something I'll have to rectify. The Folding Knife is outstanding.

This is the story of a man's life, or rather a twenty-year slice of it, but mostly focusing on the three years after he becomes First Citizen of the Republic. Basso grows up learning the family trade of banking, and through canny deals and excellent advice he soon becomes one of the richest men in the city. He then moves into politics, using his common touch with the people and his skills of persuasion and blackmail with the nobility to become the ruler of the Republic. He even has a long-term plan for the entire nation: to strengthen its borders and increase its resources against the threat of competing kingdoms jealous of Vesani's growing military and economic might.

Basso plays the Republic like an instrument, working out how to make the people and politicians jump to his tune. However, as the story unfolds Basso's inability to mend the feud with his sister or make foreign powers likewise obey the rules he sets out both become dangerous, leading to more desperate gambles.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story but feels a bit like a summary
This is a fantasy story focused entirely on politics. I read it aloud and enjoyed it, as did my audience. Read more
Published 15 months ago by hfffoman
4.0 out of 5 stars Wit and intelligence
KJ Parker is a serious writer but in this book the author relaxes and has a little fun. This is wink to the reader fun as we get a lighter side of fantasy (and this is fantasy... Read more
Published on 17 May 2013 by Nick Brett
5.0 out of 5 stars very very good
This book is not fantasy at all - no magic, monsters, super-warriors or non-humans. However, it reads (IMHO) like a very good fantasy novel, and to me, at least, channels the feel... Read more
Published on 2 Jan. 2012 by ChrisKnight
3.0 out of 5 stars Quintessential Parker
For anyone who has read Parker, this story will be familiar. A central character around whom the plot develops, secondary characters that lack a bit of substance and a story which... Read more
Published on 17 Aug. 2011 by Balor of the Evil Eye
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick paced and interesting but nothing new.
This book moves quickly from one piece of action to another with a variety of different events pushing characters along. Read more
Published on 16 April 2011 by plot hound
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Tale
This was my first KJ Parker novel and I will be sure to try another soon. As a fantasy novel, the book is unconventional there is no magic, demons, wizards, dragons or heroes and... Read more
Published on 2 Feb. 2011 by JanLuke
4.0 out of 5 stars More of the same Parker, which is no bad thing.
Another tightly-written book by Parker, an author whose penchant for creating hugely resourceful, if somewhat flawed, main characters is again to the fore here. Read more
Published on 21 Oct. 2010 by Daghda
4.0 out of 5 stars Real fantasy talent
Over the recent years, one name is coming up consistently time and again with quality fantasy writing, and that's KJ Parker. Read more
Published on 13 Aug. 2010 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog
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