'Parker's acerbic wit and knowledge of human nature are a delight to read as he explores the way conflict is guided, in equal measure, by the brilliance and unerring foolishness of humanity . . . . Thoroughly engaging.' - RT Books Reviews
'Assassins, emperors, generals, rogues, farmboys-turned-hero - all the trappings of epic fantasy . . . [and] all the complexity you could ever desire' - PORNOKITSCH
A soldier with a gift for archery. A woman who kills without care. Two brothers, both unbeatable generals, now fighting for opposing armies.
No one in the vast and once glorious United Empire remains untouched by the rift between East and West, and the war has been fought for as long as anyone can remember. Some still survive who know how it was started, but no one knows how it will end.
Except, perhaps, the Two of Swords.
World Fantasy Award-winning fantasy author K. J. Parker delivers his most ambitious work yet - the story of a war on a grand scale, told through the eyes of soldiers, politicians, victims and heroes.
Books by K.J. Parker:
The Colours in the Steel
The Belly of the Bow
The Proof House
Devices and Desires
Evil for Evil
Blue and Gold
The Devil You Know
Two of Swords
The Two of Swords: Part 1
The Two of Swords: Part 2
The Two of Swords: Part 3
The Folding Knife
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City
My Beautiful Life
An empire, similar but not identical to ancient Rome, has split down the middle and is ravaged by a civil war in Parker's brilliant first Two of Swords fantasy. A simple farm boy, Teucer, who happens to be good at archery, is conscripted into the army; Telamon, a spy and assassin, uses dazzling intelligence and esoteric knowledge to recruit a young thief; the generals of the Eastern and Western empires, brothers bound by their intentions to kill each other, circle in eternal, bloody stalemate. And everything, including the novel itself, is structured around the imagery and placement of the Tarot-like mystical cards wielded throughout the world by a mysterious and powerful secret lodge. Parker's plot is a delight, full of successive revelations; his characters earn sympathy even at their most pragmatically ruthless, and his sparkling prose and sardonic humor help build the dazzling shape of a game larger than two empires. Parker (Downfall of the Gods) delivers a consistently enjoyable and unpredictable ride, with the firm promise of more in the future.