Sunday, November 18, 2007

Evil For Evil-K.J. Parker

Evil For Evil
K.J. Parker
Orbit, Nov 2007, $12.99
ISBN: 9780316003391

The Mexentine army found the invasion of Eremian easy; they won the war without much resistance. However, the occupation is another matter. Insurgents like that led by Miel Ducas, who prefers resistance liberators, is causing problems for the occupiers. Their solution is to take it out on the common people as killing them is easy and the Mezentines are quite proud of their ability to kill and destroy.

Walled cities like Civitas Vadanis cannot survive the onslaught. It’s leader Duke Valens is troubled with how to save his people; fleeing seems the only responsible solution, but that will leave many dead even if the enemy army fails to find them, an unlike outcome. Of course there is that insane exiled Mexentine engineering genius Ziani Vaatzes, whose killing machines frighten even his vicious people as they are weapons of mass destruction; his latest one may be capable of destroying the world or protect a city from invaders. He is joined by another engineering genius Daurenja in a partnership that means hell for everyone else. Meanwhile the worlds a stage for all the key players are coming together in holy matrimony and other stately alliances that foster betrayals caused by love and worse emotions.

The first Engineering tale (DEVICES AND DESIRES) is a complex somewhat convoluted thriller; however book two, EVIL FOR EVIL, makes the predecessor look like a simple Dick and Jane adventure as the plot has become even more complicated. The above is too simplified of a description of all the goings-on as the key players return still filled with a gloom and doom inevitable outlook. K.J. Parker uses satire and humor to expand the plot; for instance the Mexentine people and its bureaucracy ironically remain disengaged from their war fighters except for the technology sector. Intricate, multifaceted, and still way over the top of the stratosphere, fans who read the first Engineer’s tale will appreciate the middle segment and look forward to how K.J. Parker ties together the antics of a cast that act like some sort of DNA blending of Rove, Machiavelli, and Rumsford.

Harriet Klausner

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