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The Hammer [Paperback]

K. J. Parker
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.30 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

20 Jan 2011
The colony was founded seventy years ago. The plan was originally to mine silver, but there turned out not to be any. Now an uneasy peace exists on the island, between the colonists and the once-noble met'Oc, a family in exile on a remote stronghold for their role in a vaguely remembered civil war. The met'Oc are tolerated, in spite of occasional cattle stealing raids, since they alone possess the weapons considered necessary protection in the event of the island's savages becoming hostile. Intelligent, resourceful, and determined, Gignomai is the youngest brother in the current generation of met'Oc. He is about to realise exactly what is expected of him; and what it means to defy his family.

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The Hammer + The Folding Knife + The Company
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (20 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184149514X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841495149
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 523,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'The Hammer is a novel by an author working at the very top of her game. It is a thing of terrible beauty.' --Interzone

Book Description

An intelligent and action-packed novel from 'one of fantasy's premier voices' (SFX)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance from fantasy's most cryptic star 19 April 2011
Format:Paperback
nigmatic KJ Parker. (All reviewers are bound by contract to refer to Parker as "enigmatic" - amazing what writing under a pseudonym will do for you.)

Parker's books all share several common elements: mainly tight plotting and an absorbingly bleak view of the world. There are no clearly delineated heroes and villains in Parker's books. The cliché would be to declare it all a matter of perspective, but Parker gleefully toys with that as well. Parker enjoys self-aware protagonists: "heroes" that question the morality - even the relative morality - of their own actions.

In The Hammer, the lead character is Gignomai met'Oc, youngest son in the met'Oc family. The met'Oc are exiled nobility, living in squalor in an unnamed colony far from Home. They are (or were) quite a powerful family and, perhaps more importantly, they have the colony's few guns. The rest of the colony is composed of farmers and trappers - trading their wares back Home for those manufactured goods they need to survive. Outside of the colony, an unknown quantity of Savages rove at will, doing their best to stay out of everyone's way.

The three factions share an uneasy peace. The met'Oc are rich in pride and poor on material goods, so they raid the outlying farms for the essentials of life. The colonists tolerate the met'Oc because they're believed to be the first line of defense against the Savages. Besides, they're nobles - raiding and depravity are what they do, right? And the Savages actually don't believe in anyone else. This isn't stupidity, but a sort of wilful ignorance brought on by their view of the world: the colonists and met'Oc don't make sense to them, so the Savages simply refuse to acknowledge their existence.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Can't Cry Wolf, Kill Wolf 20 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
The third in a sequence of three standalone fantasy novels, after The Company in 2008 and The Folding Knife last year, The Hammer is handily the most impressive of the lot. It begins with a fabulous little fable about family life in the Met'Oc compound, a hilltop stronghold of fallen-from-favour nobles exiled to the fringes of an distant island colony, where life is hard and the rich have no choice but to be as the poor: lowly subsistence farmers eking out an existence from the ground beneath their feet.

The Met'Oc haven't adapted terribly well to the calamitous change in circumstances, so when young Gignomai is tasked with the care of three chickens, he shoulders his seven years of age to take his responsibility seriously. A week of feeding and mucking on, the chickens are killed; someone or something has gotten into the run and slaughtered the things whole. No matter, Gig's brothers Luso and Stheno say to the boy... it wasn't your fault. (p.2) Thus they entrust a further three chickens to him.

A further three chickens are found dead in their coop the next day. Though in principle relieved of his ill-fated responsibilities, Gignomai takes it upon himself to discover exactly what's been doing the devouring; stays up late one night to see a wolf, quite likely "the last surviving wolf on the Tabletop, or maybe in the whole colony," (p.3) killing the things. He's afraid no-one would believe him if he tells the truth, yet if he does nothing - the selfsame nothing his family will surely continue to do, as is their way - the chickens, of which the Met'Oc's already-sparse supply is dwindling, will keep getting killed.

So it's down to him. If he can't cry wolf, his only choice is to kill wolf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good read 17 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback
I have just finished this one. I find myself lost in the sheer unlikliness of it all, but just have to follow right to the end. KJP really knows how to write a good fight and sometimes bloody situations. The technical parts are always true to form.
I have been a fan of Parker since the Fencer Trilogy, he has never let me down.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great sequel 14 Jan 2011
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
If there is one thing that you can tell, it's a KJ Parker novel, the writing style, the prose and the dialogue all scream this author and to be honest you know what you're going to get, a story with guts, glory and above all else a principle character facing not only personal dilema's but also overcoming the odds to succeed.

Its definitely beautifully written, the characters vibrant and above all else a dialogue style that really is enjoyable so much so that you feel that you know the principle player pretty well. Back that up with a reasonably paced tale backed up with an established history (The Company) and you know that it's a title that really will fulfil all the promise of the book blurb.
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