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The Proof House: The Fencer Trilogy vol 3 Paperback – 5 Oct 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New Ed edition (5 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841490180
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841490182
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 4 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 588,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Bardas has come a long way from the young soldier who wrought havoc in the wars with the barbarians of the plains, the swordsman who fought successful trials by combat and the commander whose attempts to save his city were dashed by last-moment treachery. He has taken several steps into madness and depravity; in The Proof House, the impressive conclusion of The Fencer Trilogy, his sanity is entirely up for grabs as an imperial posting sends him to where armour is made and souls are tested, not least by the endless din of breastplates and helmets subjected to breaking strain. It is the end-game for his friends as well--for his former secretary and the ambitious merchants she has formed a partnership with, and the half-smart magicians whose attempts to change history have consistently made things radically and disastrously worse. His family--the brothers who betrayed him and the niece whose attempts to kill him have cost her most of her hand--are out there somewhere too...Parker's is a bleak and sardonic fantasy world, where it can never be assumed that things will turn out for the best; this is a startlingly original book with a tone entirely of its own. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Bardas has come a long way from the young soldier who wrought havoc in the wars with the barbarians of the plains, the swordsman who fought successful trials by combat and the commander whose attempts to save his city were dashed by last-moment treachery. He has taken several steps into madness and depravity; in The Proof House, the impressive conclusion of The Fencer Trilogy, his sanity is entirely up for grabs as an imperial posting sends him to where armour is made and souls are tested, not least by the endless din of breastplates and helmets subjected to breaking strain. It is the end-game for his friends as well--for his former secretary and the ambitious merchants she has formed a partnership with, and the half-smart magicians whose attempts to change history have consistently made things radically and disastrously worse. His family--the brothers who betrayed him and the niece whose attempts to kill him have cost her most of her hand--are out there somewhere too...Parker's is a bleak and sardonic fantasy world, where it can never be assumed that things will turn out for the best; this is a startlingly original book with a tone entirely of its own. (Roz Kaveney, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW)

From the first page, it has style, humour and pace all its own, and develops rapidly into one of the most entertaining fantasy debuts in recent years...Refreshing, fun, thoughtful, different, absorbing (SFX)

Action-packed adventure ... An intriguing tale of magic, manipulation and revenge (STARBURST)

A massively enjoyable adventure (BLACK TEARS on THE BELLY OF THE BOW)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
K J Parker is a genius. An erratic, possibly crazy genius, but a genius nonetheless. In 'Colours in the steel' we were introduced to the unique Loredan family, each with their own set of problems and distintive talents. In the second book 'The belly of the bow' we learn more about the Loredans, and more about the motivations for their actions, shocking as they may seem. In this final book, the story ends in a way guaranteed to seem unexpected. The technical information in these books is presented in an interesting fashion, and the fluidity of the writing makes the books very easy to read. However, it is the characters in these books that make them so worthwhile. It is rare for something so completely different to come along and I was pleased by the refreshingly unusual approach to the fantasy genre. No one character could be seen as 'good', although I found myself liking them anyway, and the story itself was disturbing. I had to keep reading to find out how it all ended. I would recommend this book, and the others in the series, to anyone who would like a break from the usual run-of-the-mill, sword-and-sorcery type books. For sheer innovativeness, this trilogy cannot be beaten.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
Thanks to the efforts of Bardas Loredan - fencer turned bowyer turned sapper - the city of Ap' Escatoy has fallen, allowing the Empire to begin its expansion into the lands held by the plains tribes. Loredan is reassigned to an imperial proof house, testing armour to destruction, until his previous relationship with the leader of the tribes is discovered. Loredan is the only person that Termai, sacker of Perimadeia, fears and the Empire plans to make good use of that fact in its invasion.

The Proof House is the third and concluding volume of K.J. Parker's debut work, The Fencer Trilogy. As with its two predecessors, Colours in the Steel and The Belly of the Bow, it's a novel that wears the clothes of epic fantasy but seems resolutely unimpressed by them. Wars, battles, sword fights, clashes of armies and so forth are all featured, but presented with dripping cynicism and sarcasm by the author, who is far more interested in her(?) characters. The Fencer Trilogy is less about the trappings of the subgenre and more about family relationships, particularly the extremely dysfunctional (to the point of murder) Loredan clan. The novel is driven, as to some extent the previous ones were, by Gorgas Loredan's insistence on repairing the damage he did to his family as a youth, utterly unaware that his crimes are past forgiveness or forgetting.

Elsewhere, Parker continues to base her narrative around the trappings of medieval-style warfare. The first book revolved around swords and the second around bows, with both standing as metaphors for the novels' themes. This continues in the third novel, which is about armour and how it is tested to be 'proof' against the pressures that will be brought to bear against it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
As before, Parker has drawn on the engineering of arms and armour to provide an underlying theme: in this case, testing-to-destruction. The Proof House is excellently executed, but keeps hammering home the point that militarily-flawed societies and people will be smashed by someone bigger and better-organised. It's interesting, well-thought-out, and a worthwhile read - but don't expect to be light-hearted after you've finished it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2000
Format: Paperback
As Amazon's reviewer states, the main character is several steps into both madness and depravity, but the series is indeed startlingly original. Read it for the author's wonderful dry wit and humour amidst the grisly details, and for the great command of prose, if not completely of plot. There is artistry at work here.
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By Big Al on 9 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent story, takes you into a different world and makes you feel as though you are there.
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