Mightier than the Sword

September 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, )

swordMightier than the Sword by K.J. Parker


The Emperor’s nephew, under the edict of his aunt, who is running the empire while her husband is gravely ill, is sent to investigate pirate attacks along the coastal cities. From city to city he travels, looking for clues and encountering all sorts of friends and relatives along the way. It seems that just about everyone he knows is in a position of some power in these cities, so his investigation is also a reunion. That they’re all there for different political reasons just might be a clue.

Parker is in his usual form here, with a disarmingly charming narrator whose naivete is in stark contrast against the cynicism of the story. This novella ties in with his previous ones (including The Two of Swords, if I’m not mistaken) in small ways. Books are a central theme of the story, so of course Saloninus is mentioned. I like how these stories all take place in a shared world; it gives the story a larger scope, since the small connections serve as more than just fan service.

Parker’s other stand-alone novellas are clever, setting up a complex series of seemingly innocuous events that play a large role in the conclusion. Mightier than the Sword isn’t as clever of a story as the others, but it does have a good payoff for its setup. It’s still a K.J. Parker story, and it doesn’t disappoint.


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