The Two of Swords: Part Seven

May 26, 2017 at 5:00 pm (Reads)

swords7The Two of Swords: Part Seven by K.J. Parker

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Here we have the shortest entry yet into the series — a scant 35 pages — but don’t be fooled into thinking nothing happens here. We get to see the situation (I hesitate to call it a war at this point; it seems to be veering into a different kind of territory) from the perspective of Glauca, the Emperor, shortly after his conversation with Senza from Part Six. Glauca is an old man, more a scholar than a warrior, and a collector of ancient Tarot decks. As part of the story, Glauca performs a reading on his own, giving the entire story a hint as to its title, and also, possibly, giving us some insight into the rest of the plot. Knowing Parker, though, there might be some clever misdirection going on with that scene. Or, knowing Parker, maybe not. It’s not like he’s trustworthy.

That’s one of the reasons I like Parker’s fiction so much. We can’t trust him to be straightforward with us, so it’s hard to tell which of his narrators to trust. It’s easy to tell who’s reliable and who’s not, but it’s not always easy to tell if Parker is playing them straight with us. It’s a strange balance, where we trust our narrators more than we do our author and don’t find it to be frustrating. I usually get a little bent out of shape when an author is being coy, but there’s something about Parker’s style — likely his wry voice and irreverence — that makes it okay.

I did a quick look-ahead at the remaining available parts (I’m almost halfway through!), and see that there are shorter chapters ahead. Given the way Parker condensed so much information into this part, I don’t see that as a detriment; if nothing else, it will help me speed through what’s left of the story. I’m not looking forward to when I’ll have to wait on the remaining chapters like everyone else, but I guess that’s my own fault, and besides, if there’s praise to heap on this series, I suppose that’s about as high as it gets.

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