This exquisitely written novel by a pseudonymous popular author blends gritty military fantasy with the 18th-century "island story" tradition. Seven years after the end of a war between unnamed countries, four friends who fought together have settled back into civilian life. Then their former leader, Kunessin, now a celebrated and embittered general, turns up and reminds them of their old pledge to retire together to a peaceful island. Better yet, he's found a suitable place and will fund the venture. A local matchmaker finds women smart and desperate enough to be colonists, and they marry the ex-soldiers in a group wedding that sets the tone of the book: humorous, grim and utterly unromantic. The would-be republicans soon reach the island and settle in, but the discovery of gold in a stream changes everything. With inexorable emotional logic and an eye for detail, deftly weaving in flashbacks to wartime, Parker carries the reader on a headlong gallop to the powerful conclusion. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The war is long over when Gen. Teuche Kunessin finally returns to his homeland of Faralia, but he's not there to stay. Five surviving comrades from A Company, their last-minute arranged brides, and a motley batch of indentured servants soon make their way to the island of Sphoe, where they hope to settle and become gentlemen farmers. Such a transition won't be easy: these legendary survivors have seen too much, hold differing ideas about the postwar command structure, and carry some dark secrets. The unusual plot gracefully blends developments on the island with flashbacks from the war in a deftly paced mix that's brimming with psychological insights. Parker ("The Engineer" trilogy, the "Scavenger" trilogy) nails the rough banter among longtime comrades and the restless nature of soldiers who experienced too much violence and never expected to come home. There's not the tiniest hint of magic in this muscular stand-alone fantasy, a fine bridge to the genre for action and historical fiction readers. Strongly recommended for all fantasy and popular fiction collections.
A stand-alone military fantasy from the pseudonymous Parker (The Escapement, 2007, etc.). Finally, a long debilitating war is over, though we never learn what the fighting was about. General Teuche Kunessin returns to Faralia to contact the other surviving members of A Company: Muri the tanner, farmer Kudei, fencing teacher Alces and store owner Aidi. During the fighting, they'd promised themselves a new life after the end of hostilities. Kunessin tells them he's acquired an entire island, Sphoe, from the military (by not entirely legal means) complete with buildings and harbor; the place is ideal for colonization. Kunessin has already bought a ship, supplies and equipment-with money embezzled, we learn later, from his fellow soldiers. After debating whether to simply buy slaves, they acquire legitimate wives and servants and set sail. However, conditions on the island aren't quite as anticipated: most of the buildings are ruinous; worse, the army has left a garrison, and Kunessin must persuade them to quit the island. After the ship sails, taking away the garrison, to fetch more supplies, a fire destroys most of their flour and seeds. The ship won't return for months, so it's either starve or build a boat to reach the mainland. After backbreaking labor, the boat leaves. Meanwhile, in a vast and unwelcome complication, those waiting on the island discover gold in the nearby river. Interspersed with the colonial saga are passages detailing the company's war exploits, wherein we learn that one of the company is a traitor. The situation turns uglier yet. Burly, sometimes brutal, often enlightening, but the plodding and monochromatic narrative may be a hurdle too high for the usual fantasycrowd.
"This exquisitely written novel by a pseudonymous popular author blends gritty military fantasy with the 18th-century island story tradition... With inexorable emotional logic and an eye for detail, deftly weaving in flashbacks to wartime, Parker carries the reader on a headlong gallop to the powerful conclusion."Publishers Weekly on The Company
"I have reviewed books before that I thought might someday be found to have achieved greatness.... But I am trying to be precise in my use of the word when I tell you that K.J. Parker is writing work after work that demands to be placed in that category. " Orson Scott Card on The Engineer trilogy"
Imagine Lost meets The Italian Job...a masterfully planned and executed book, one that builds on ever-revealing characterization and back-story, leading slowly yet inexorably to its final conclusion." SFF World