Sharps Paperback – 5 Jul 2012
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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)
Sharps is a book of subtly, nuance and rather fun adventure that is masterfully executed. And it only gets better the more you think about it . . . Any fan of fantasy that is looking for more than the traditional absolutely needs to be reading her work. (Nethspace)
The latest novel from one of fantasy's 'premier voices' (SFX)See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Sharps exists in a similar line, but it is subtly different. The story in Sharps is both lighter and, because of that, in its own way a lot more clever and enjoyable. As always, her characterisation and world building are exquisitely detailed. There's a now-familiar focus on complex intersecting power struggles. However the characters tend toward a manic good humour and there is less of the twisted oppression that hangs over some of Parker's other books. There is also no focus on a single lead character with a draconian grasp on morality. Instead we tend to settle on a man suffering from and ultimately rising beyond the effects of war in order to act in a way that is, arguably, morally superior. Even if he does this largely because it's the most awkward thing he could possibly do.
Of course, it wouldn't be a book by KJ Parker if she left it at that, but I will leave you to discover that for yourselves.
I am a great fan of KJ Parker. I think her one of the best contemporary authors. She never fails to develop rich characters while expanding my understanding of the world - whether through her treatment of numismatics in the Folding Knife or the principles of engineering in The Engineer Trilogy. However even I sometimes find her grim nihilism to be challenging. I suspect Sharps is the closest Parker will ever come to having a holiday. Enjoy it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 morePublished on 12 Feb. 2014 by G. S. Benham
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
Sharps is the latest standalone novel from author K.J. Parker, a critically successful, but perhaps not as well-known commercially fantasy author. Read morePublished on 24 July 2013 by Idlewilder
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 morePublished on 8 May 2013 by Snowy
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 morePublished on 1 Nov. 2012 by PB
(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... Read more
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 morePublished on 15 Oct. 2012 by Fiona Wallace