The great city of Perimadeia has fallen to its barbarian enemies, and its last commander, Bardas Loredan, is one of the few survivors, saved by the brother who betrayed the city. The Loredan family are a strange bunch, doomed by the consequences of past actions to endless attempts at reconciliation, or actions so appalling that no reconciliation will be possible. And they are also crucial to the financial manoeuvrings of this well-imagined world, where hostile take-overs are conducted at swords point ... K J Parker's The Belly of the Bow, second of the Fencer trilogy, is intelligent about perverse behaviour, about the logistics of conquest and resistance and about the way that power follows both finance and military might. He is also intelligent about the details of weapon making--in his first book Colours in the Steel, it was siege engines and here it is longbows--and about the working and consequences of magic--a pair of wizards who meddled in things they did not understand find themselves tinkering endlessly to make events less devastating, and running out of that luck which makes meddling possible. With two books, Parker has become a name to be reckoned with; his gloomy fantasies of fate and misadventure are not like anything else in the field.
A massively enjoyable adventure
From the first page, it has style, humour and pace all its own, and develops rapidly into one of the most entertaining fantasy debuts in recent years...Refreshing, fun, thoughtful, different, absorbing
Parker's skilful control of pacing, expert rendering of characters, and subtle sense of humour add depth and believability
Assassins, emperors, generals, rogues, farmboys-turned-hero - all the trappings of epic fantasy . . . [and] all the complexity you could ever desire
One of fantasy's premier voices