Reviews: Parker, K.J.

Love and engineering; a recipe for armageddon

Devices and Desires — K.J. Parker
The Engineer Trilogy, book 1

Mezentia, queen of the industrialized cities! Also the only industrialized city of note thanks to its habit of closing guarding its secrets through all available means, up to and including casual genocide; it is a very bad thing to give Mezentia the impression some of their intellectual property has fallen into your soon to be extremely and brutally dead hands.

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Memory: Book Three of the Scavenger Trilogy

K.J. Parker
Scavenger Trilogy, book 3

His reunion with his family having not gone entirely well, the man using the name Poldarn flees back to the Empire he fled in the first book. People familiar with the series thus far might ask if that is an entirely sensible idea on Poldarn’s part; sadly, Poldarn’s talents do not lie in the field of ratiocination or even “learning from experience”.

Desiring to leave behind his life as an agent of chaos and doom – I misspoke, as an incarnation of the god of chaos and doom – Poldarn settles down in what he hopes will be a quiet life working for a bell works. Bells seem harmless enough, right? But there is no knife that does not turn in Poldarn’s hand; he is such that a job in a fluffy teddy bear factory would lead to the death of half the country.

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Pattern: Book Two of the Scavenger Trilogy

K.J. Parker
Scavenger Trilogy, book 2

Although still an amnesiac, the man known as Poldarn has reunite with his people after a generation of separation and although he cannot remember why it was he had to flee all those years ago, no doubt such matters are of the distant past and could not possibly come back to haunt him now.

Amnesia isn’t the only thing dividing Poldarn from his devoted family; everyone else on the two islands of the raiders are telepathic, and in a society where households run smoothly thanks to what is almost a group mind, Poldarn is the odd man out, a stranger in a practical-minded community beyond such petty superstitions as religion or volcanoes.

So, bad news about volcanoes; turns out they are real….

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Shadow: Book One of the Scavenger Trilogy

K.J. Parker
Scavenger Trilogy, book 1

A battered man wakes on a battlefield, surrounded by the dead of two armies. His own clothing gives no hint which side he was on and when he stops to think about it, neither do his memories because he is an amnesiac. Happily, from time to time he encounters people who recognize him; less happily, recognition is immediately followed by attempts to kill the nameless man.

As murder attempt after murder attempt is foiled by the amnesiac’s preternatural skill at killing, the amnesiac begins to suspect that perhaps he isn’t the nicest person around. While he cannot do anything about the past, he can try to be a better person in the future.

As Arthur C. Clarke once observed, nothing is quite so ominous as “means well.”

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