The company / K.J. Parker. First published 2009.
The company is the second K.J. Parker book I’ve read, after Sharps. Like Sharps, it’s got a very Shakespearian feel. This time, the focus is on a group of old friends and their attempt to retire rather than the political intrigues of Sharps. The company fits firmly into the mold of 18th-century island books while retaining a modern writing style and classic themes.
Brief plot summary
Five embittered war veterans, led by their former commanding officer Kunessin, attempt to make their wartime retirement fantasies come true by creating an intentional community on an abandoned island. Kunessin has managed to assemble the necessary supplies, and the five men quickly find five women willing to marry them and come live on the island.
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Sharps / K.J. Parker. First published 2012.
Somebody spilled Shakespeare in my fantasy
Sharps is the story of a group of accomplished fencers sent on a goodwill-building tour of a foreign country. Parker doesn’t write traditional fantasy novels so much as they* write historical fiction set in fictional countries. They are a great author for fans of classical tragedy, and a good entry point for people who “don’t read fantasy”.
Brief plot summary
Five fencers of disparate backgrounds are more or less forced into representing their country in a series of friendly exhibition matches with the neighboring nation of Permia. Relations between the two countries are uneasy to the extreme as they have just formed a truce after four decades of war.
All is not as it seems, as powers in both countries seek to use the matches for their own ends. The situation is further complicated when Permians start dying and it becomes clear that at least one if not all of the fencers are pursuing goals at odds with the group’s stated purpose of building friendship between the two nations.
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