The Two of Swords: Part Eight

May 29, 2017 at 5:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

swords8The Two of Swords: Part Eight by K.J. Parker


Maybe I’m a little slow, but the story is starting to become clear to me. That is, it’s becoming as clear as a story about war, subterfuge, espionage, and secret societies can be. Maybe a better way to put it is my eyes are more open as to what’s really happening. I should have known that Parker wasn’t going to tell a standard story of war with The Two of Swords; I think my problem with not seeing it sooner as I’ve only read his novellas, where that moment comes a little faster.

For the record, in the Tarot set that Parker uses in his story (and I’m afraid I don’t know enough about real Tarot decks to know if it’s a real Tarot deck he’s using as inspiration, or if he created his own) twos are the wild cards. Additionally, Swords isn’t a suit in a standard deck; those are from older decks. Again, I might be slow, and this may have been obvious in earlier parts of the story, but I’m like Musen here where I’m not paying enough attention to catch the inconsistencies.

I mentioned in my review of Part Seven that the story seemed to be about something other than war, but I was wrong. The story is still about war, but it’s not about a war being fought on the fields. I mean, yes, it is, but the real story is behind all of that. This becomes clear at the end of this part, where Parker shines light on the economic effect of and on war, where one foolhardy decision can affect the outcome of future battles. The trick, like in Chess, is to force someone into a position where they have to make that foolhardy decision.

For the record, and for my own future purposes, here are the point-of-view characters and how they relate to the Tarot:

  • Teucer, from Part One, is the Crown Prince.
  • Musen, from Part Two, is the Thief.
  • Telamon, from Part Three, is Poverty.
  • Daxen, from Part Four, is Virtue.
  • Forza, from Part Five, is the Two of Spears.
  • Senza, from Part Six, is the Two of Arrows.
  • Glauca, from Part Seven, is the Scholar.
  • Pleda, from Part Eight, is … ?
  • Lysao, from … Part Nine? … is the Cherry Tree.
  • The Ace of Swords has been announced, but remains a mystery.

The real question, of course, is: Who is the Two of Swords? Though I suppose that’s why we’re reading this novel.

This entire series is showing its brilliance. It just takes a little while to get there, thanks to the puzzle-like nature of the plot.

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