Colours In The Steel: Fencer Trilogy volume 1

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Colours in the Steel (Fencer Trilogy, #1) by K.J. Parker

Colours in the Steel. Perimadeia is the famed Triple City and the mercantile capital of the known world. Behind its allegedly impregnable walls, everything is available-including information that will allow its enemies to plan one of the most devastating sieges of all time.

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The man called upon to defend Perimadeia is Bardas Loredan, a fencer-at-law, weary of his work and the world. For Loredan is one of the surviving members of Maxen's Pitchfork, the legendary band of soldiers who waged war on the Plains tribes, rendering an attack on Perimadeia impossible. NOOK Book. Perimadeia: the famed Triple City and the mercantile capital of the known world.


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Behind its allegedly impregnable walls, everything is available. Including information which will allow its enemies to plan one of the most remarkable sieges of all time. The man called upon to defend Perimadeia is Bardas Loredan, a fencer-at-law, weary of his work and of the world. For Loredan is one of the surviving members of Maxen's Pitchfork, the legendary band of soldiers who waged war on the people of the plains for many years, rendering an attack on the city impossible.

Until now But Loredan has problems of its own. In a city where court cases are settled by lawyers disputing with swords not words, enemies are all too easily made. And by winning one particular case, Loredan has unwittingly become the focus of a misplaced curse from a young woman bent on revenge. The last thing he needs is to be made responsible for saving a city. The first volume of the acclaimed fantasy series reissued with a stunning new cover style. Having worked in the journalism and the law, K. Parker now writes and makes things out of wood and metal.

Customer Reviews Average Review. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Werthead Lemming of Discord.

Colours In The Steel

Joined Jun 4, Messages 2, The Fencer Trilogy Book 1: Colours in the Steel Triple-walled Perimadeia is one of the richest city-states in the world, famed for its teeming markets and its impregnable defences. After decades of trying fruitlessly to take the city, one of the plains tribes comes up with an ingenious idea: send one of their own to get a job in the city arsenal and learn its secrets from the inside. Even as an ambitious young chieftain's son plans the most audacious siege in history, life in the city goes on.

Bardas Loredan, a former soldier, now works as a defence advocate. In the courts of Perimadeia cases are settled through swordplay and Bardas is very good at what he does Colours in the Steel was originally published in and was the debut novel by the enigmatic K. It's also the first in The Fencer Trilogy, although it also works quite well as a stand-alone book. It can be best described as a sort-of anti-epic fantasy.

Fencer Trilogy Volume 1

The trappings of much of the subgenre are present: swordfights, large armies, sieges, military manoeuvres, magic more or less and prophecies kind of. However, most of this is window-dressing, with the focus being on Bardas Loredan and his troubled family life, and on young Temrai, the chieftain's son and spy who ends up plotting the genocide of a city he actually quite likes.


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  8. As with Parker's later books, Colours in the Steel has a cynical vein of black humour running through it. There are musings on the futility of revenge, the pointlessness of warfare and the quite insane meanderings of the military bureaucracy there's more than a whiff of WWI incompetence to the leaders of Perimadeia and their military judgement during the siege.

    There's no glorification of warfare, with both sides suffering heavy losses and wondering if it's all worth it. However, there is also a distinct love of military hardware. In fact, Parker devotes pages to how swords are forged, how siege engines work and are built and on the best ways of defending a city under siege from a superior enemy. Colours in the Steel belies the tendency of much of epic fantasy to be pure escapism, instead educating the reader on matters mechanical and mathematical more effectively than most science fiction novels.

    Sometimes the deviations onto the best way to make a trebuchet work go on for a bit too long, but Parker's writing skill is enough to keep even the most detailed descriptions of gears and counterweights interesting. Long-term readers of Parker will know that she? There is no map and the legal system of Perimadeia seems to have been created more for dramatic effect than any desire to create something that would work on a practical level.

    There is no 'magic system' either, with the city's Patriarch cheerfully acknowledging that he has no idea about how magic the Principal, which actually seems more like some kind of limited prophetic or telepathic ability works. What does work quite well is the subplot where the Patriarch and his best friend try to lift the curse the Patriach put on Bardas without understanding what was going on , only to find other forces getting involved. Parker doesn't spell out what's going on with this 'magical' plot and it's left to the reader to piece together what it all means, which shows respect for the reader's intelligence.

    The book's biggest success is in its characterisation, although it has to be said that Bardas himself is painted a little too straightforwardly. Those who are familiar with the whole trilogy particularly his actions in the second novel, The Belly of the Bow will be aware that there are good reasons for this, but newcomers may find Bardas a little too obvious as a protagonist. However, the rest of the cast are painted well, particularly Patriarch Alexius and his friend Gannadius who spend a lot of the book as outside observers and commentators on what's going on before having to get involved.

    Bardas's brother, Gorgas, is also a fascinating and contradicted character. Whilst definitely being a nasty piece of work, he also has his own sense of honour and fair play. He doesn't play much of a role in this novel, but is set up well for the sequel. It has the requisite amounts of well-depicted carnage and military activity for an epic fantasy, but it's focus is much more on the characters, their motivations and the realisations they lead to.

    The book is also darkly funny. It's an excellent example of an epic fantasy novel that uses the tropes and limitations of the genre to say something a bit more interesting than normal. Joined Nov 23, Messages 23, Location Highlands. Sounds intriguing - not least because of the obvious Byzantine references triple walls, Patriarch - might be a good research novel.

    Just to say am enjoying Colours in the Steel so far, thank goodness, after a poor run of reads. So far, doesn't read out of place beside Abercrombie or Scott Lynch, which is good. Only a few small criticisms so far, but good characterisation and intelligent ideas. The Fencer Trilogy Book 2: The Belly of the Bow Shastel is a country owned and run by an academic foundation, whose bank holds the debts of its impoverished citizens in perpetuity.

    Spying an opportunity for profit, the Loredan Bank has taken over the nearby island of Scona and is undercutting the Foundation's economy, sparking a trade war that is in danger of turning very real and very bloody.

    For Bardas Loredan, living in seclusion as a bowyer in Scona's backwater, the last thing he wants is anything to do with the schemes of his ruthless brother and pragmatic sister.