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Two of Swords Books In Order

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Publication Order of The Two of Swords Books

The Two of Swords, Volume One (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Two of Swords, Volume Two (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Two of Swords, Volume Three (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

“The Two of Swords” is a serialized series of novels by K.J. Parker. In 2015, it was announced that Orbit the fantasy and science fiction arm of Hachette Book Group was planning to serialize the original novel from K.J. Parker. The first three episodes hit the stores in April of 2015 ,and more titles followed to take the series to 23 titles by 2017. The series, which is released in installments, is typically released in e-book editions that are eventually released in digital and collected print editions. What makes the format of the novel so intriguing is that Parker is not yet finished writing the novel thus making it possible that he could take the story in several interesting tangents. Nonetheless, the author who is known for novels that center on complex personalities and politics, asserted that even though the original story is not yet finished, he has a vague idea of its ending. The series features a unified analysis of critical events and a huge cast of characters such as emperors, tradesmen, spies, and soldiers that are witness to many events in their imaginary world.

When we are first introduced to The Two Swords series, they are backstories that lead up to situations and conflicts that make for gripping narratives. The stories are told from the perspective of the characters that provides some of the best view of the happenings in their world. There is a diverse and huge range of characters all of which have interconnected stories that dart forwards and backwards between them. As such, each character is more like a Grand Prix motor race spectator; seeing only a bit of the action, while the reader sees the entire picture but from different viewpoints. The format of novels that intimates a novella format is one that K’J. Parker has been very good at, and “The Two of Swords” is more of a linked set of novellas in this regard. Using this format, the narratives in the series offer an in-depth look into the minds of the characters, while offering just enough detail and the right amount of world building that makes for an imaginary world that highly realistic even if imaginary. The series of narratives are something of a relay race that sees the narrative baton pass from one character to the next at the end of each part in the volume. Fascinating stories, the novels are similar to the Scavenger Trilogy, where the things that happen may have a variety of explanations available for the tons of happenings. However, unlike the Scavenger series, The Two Swords series is more about being thrust into confounding settings, and then having to unravel the mystery over the course of the series.

For any fan of the K.J. Parker novels, the “Two of Swords” is a set of interesting stories with some very realistic characters. Things will typically end badly for his lead characters given that everything falls apart over the course of the narrative. The lead character in the series offers a unique viewpoint into the happenings in his world, uninformed and disoriented as it is through incidental dialogue. The narratives are tightly written and even as they are intended to be released as one volume, the different stories can be read as standalones. However, there is a character arc for the protagonist as the world building allows for the building of the character over the course of the novellas. As is typical of his writing style, Parker does not pull any punches packing a lot of story into about eighty pages in each part of the narrative. The novels throw some unexpected curveballs throwing in game changers and taking off in unexpected directions before the reader is torn back out after getting used to the new status quo. Even as standalone stories, the novellas are well worth reading with their believable settings, fast-moving plots, and interesting characters. The start of the series introduces a broader narrative before it builds on them in the subsequent series where it introduces different lead protagonists.

“The Two of Swords: Part One” is the first exhilarating novel in The Two of Swords series by K.J. Parker. Set in a fantasy world, the novel analyzes the world from the perspective of soldiers involved in war. In a world where forceful conscription is a fact of life, the son of the local farmer comes back from winning an archery contest to learn that he is one of the conscripts into the army, to face an advancing enemy force. The army Teucer joins is a dysfunctional mess full of young men that just like the lead character, soon find themselves wandering in the fields unable to tell friend from foe or find their way back home. K.J. Parker narrates the tale of Teucer as he joins the arm, goes to battle and then comes back home in a story that intends to highlight the meaning of war to the common man. Alongside the lead character is Musen, a recruit that also comes from the same village that shares the journey with Teucer. As is always the case with Parker, he takes his reader on a spectacular medieval fantasy story that will have your heart racing.

“The Two of Swords: Part Two” is the sequel to the first novel of the series that goes behind the scenes to look at happenings from the perspective of a prisoner of war. Moving away from the farm boy turned archer protagonist of the first novel, focus shifts to Musen who was one of the major characters in the first novel. Musen is the lead character is a former village militiaman and is now serving as prisoner of war taken by the enemy army encamped near the sea. Even as he is a well skilled craftsman he is infinitely more unlikable and more unreliable given that his loyalty is to his fellow craftsmen rather than his own country. Unlike the first novel that was more fluid, the second novel is more static, as the protagonist looks to establish himself in a society that thinks little of him and his skills. To survive he is forced to do anything necessary even if it means betraying his countrymen and doing what was once abhorrent. In fact, one of the questions he will have to ask is what is he and everyone fighting for?

Book Series In Order » Characters » Two of Swords

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