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Customer Review

2.0 out of 5 stars And the point of that was?, 23 Nov. 2012
This review is from: The Belly Of The Bow: Fencer Vol 2 (Fencer Trilogy) (Mass Market Paperback)
I began reading K J Parker with the pretty much superior in every way possible Engineer Trilogy and only started to dip into the back catalogue when there was nothing new to get hold of, and the Fencer Trilogy and The Belly of the Bow makes me very much wish I had not done so. Where the first volume was pretty turgid in terms of the plot and characters, with long and often overdone passages of techincal spiel on either siegecraft or the confused notion of "The Principle", the second is even without the logical structure of the first.

My assumption is that the Loredan family are supposed to be a lineage of sociopaths who are presented in an effort to cut against the tradition of heroes and villains in fantasy literature, but unfotunately Parker was not good enough at the art of characterisation when these books were written to make them come across as anything other than a collection of unpleasant bullies, exploiters and even feckless goons at different stages in the narrative. After having spent the entirety of the first volume being shown Bardas as the unwilling voice of reason and his siblings Gorgas and Niessa as the manipulative swines behind so much human suffering, what I suppose is meant as the twist at the end of the book comes as a surprise akin to a lump in a vital organ rather than as a moment of revelation.

Not wanting to drop spoilers, but at the same time thinking that the supposed climax might simply be too much for some readers, I will say that there seems to be little logic or motivation onto which one can sieze to explain what Bardas Loredan apparently chooses to do of his own free will at the end of this book. I can only presume that Parker is aiming to make some obscure point about the nature of human life and putting a price upon it, but the fact that what happens simply happens and the character responsible then walks away without a word of guilt or recrimination makes the entire thing seem to be a glotrification of the act and nothing more.

Read it if you have to, but I really fail to see the point.
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