K.J. Parker is one of my favorite writers, which is odd because they don't exist. Well, I mean they do but that's not their name. K.J. Parker is the pen name of Tom Holt, another author, when he feels like writing fantasy (though this isn't high fantasy, so no magic here. Low fantasy, I suppose, is the term though it more often feel like alternate history without having to worry about actual history).
I like K.J. Parker so much, in fact, that I have purposefully not read several of his novels. Why? Just so I won't find myself in the position of having read everything has has written thus far.
The funny thing is, I have a hard time getting into Tim Holt novels but I drink up Parker novels like delicious Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper.
Imagine my surprise, and glee, when I found out that there was a new novella out (found via the New York Times Book section, of course). I immediately hastened to Amazon and bought it.
And I have just devoured it on my flight to Portland, Oregon (the same flight on which I finished reading Amatka). It is a short book following a typical Parker character: someone involved in the ruling class, good at his job but doesn't want to be, and thrust into lots of intrigue. The book also features another of Parker's favorite things: long lists. Lists of fictional books, lists of fictional provinces, and lists of supplies.
I loved it all, and it doesn't hurt that the central mystery (if you can really call it that, since it is pretty incidental to the story) revolves around monks who love books (as does the main character).
Who should read it: I'm always hesitant to actually recommend Parker's books to people because I think they are to a very specific taste, and there's nothing worse than telling someone to read a book you really liked only to find out that they didn't enjoy it. Therefore, you shouldn't read this book.
Would I read it again: I would, but that would be very silly since I still have so much unread Parker left to enjoy!