Book Review: Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K. J. Parker (Three Stars)

Book Review: Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K. J. Parker

(Three Stars)

“Think of that. Immortality. A turf-cutter’s son from north of the Bull’s Neck living for ever on the spine of a book. Wouldn’t that be something.”

Terry Pratchett’s estate should demand compensation. Fans of the late Discworld master may use this tale to stave off withdrawal. Lots of snarky commentary on current society. Nicely hidden and revealed secrets.

“That’s how the world changes. It’s either so quick that we never know what hit us, or so gradual that we don’t notice. It’s only later, when books are written and scholars decide what mattered and what didn’t.”

Hard to fault a fantasy for anachronisms, but several intrusions of too-modern technology disrupt the Byzantine vibe.

“My head was completely empty. No ideas, not a clue. And then I heard myself say, ‘What we’re going to do is this.’”

K. J. Parker is the pen name Tom Holt uses writing “straight” historical novels. There’s nothing straight about Orhan nor those around him. But it’s all good clean fun—death, mayhem, betrayal told with tongue pressed firmly in cheek.

“It’s hardly catapult science.”