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Author Topic: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4  (Read 11834 times)

Offline Arry

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The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« on: September 03, 2013, 12:28:01 AM »
I’m really enjoying this one so far. Basso is … welll. I can’t decide what I think of Basso. I think his ego is obviously going to come around and get him eventually. There is so mucht going on in this story. There’s the obvious political aspects. Going to war over resources (sound familiar?? Guess that's always been a common theme of war) as well as to keep the public perception of Basso inline with what Basso wants. Basso's personal growth as a character, etc.

Basso’s relationships are interesting too. I couldn’t help but wonder if he got his propensity for cold hearted murder from his mother? Maybe that’s harsh, but the they way they were both able to take life so easily, have no retribution and honestly, as far as I can tell, no remorse either. Maybe he could claim self defense in the case of Palo. But his wife? The only reason for that I think was to tie up any loose ends, and prevent whatever fallout he may have had by leaving her alive. And that maybe he just didn't care much for/about her.

And then there are his children. I think we were a good ways into this section before we even found out their names. But we had a couple sections with his nephew before that. Why is he always so concerned with his nephew, yet we hear next to nothing of his own children? I’m actually curious about his relationship with his sister growing up that he feels so much love for her, but not for anyone else, except perhaps her son. He even states that his sister is the person he loves most. All we really know of her growing up is that he beat up a guard over her and that, at least according to Basso, she excelled at everything, but without a passion for any of it. And that she hates Basso now. I still wonder about the details of her marriage with Plano, what was the “long term” deal with that one? I suspect we may still find out about that. Or maybe it was just the trust that has already come out, but I really can’t help but be suspicious and expect there to be something more.

Obviously the other relationship in his life is with his mentor. How can he be so trusting of the Antigonus? Forcing him to return to work after he had saved to buy his own freedom? When he essentially purchased him back, forced him to return, I just kept thinking, he’ll pay for that later. I just don’t think Antigonous is the type to allow him to be bought like a commodity (even if he is a slave). And while at the end of this section, they are showing Antigonous as aging/dying, I still suspect  that he may be working to undermine Basso in some way. I may be proven quite wrong, but that's what's playing in the back of my mind as I am reading right now.

So... What are others thinking of this one?? :)
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Offline pornokitsch

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 12:09:42 PM »
"I think we were a good ways into this section before we even found out their names. "

That's crazy, isn't it? And any sort of connection between them seems to disappear the instant they walk in on the killings (I mean, I guess that's kind of to be expected!)

Offline Arry

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Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2013, 12:48:15 PM »
"I think we were a good ways into this section before we even found out their names. "

That's crazy, isn't it? And any sort of connection between them seems to disappear the instant they walk in on the killings (I mean, I guess that's kind of to be expected!)
True, I can see how having your children walk in to find you covered in blood at the murder scene of their mother and their uncle might put a bit of a damper on familial relationships.
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Offline DBASKLS

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2013, 04:01:55 PM »
Really enjoying this. Basso is a brilliant character. Some of the language is interesting. I haven’t read many fantasy novels where the word “Dad” is used – a simple word but it makes it more intimate. My only gripe is that there isn’t really any fantasy as such, apart from the obvious set in a different world bit. However, I think this is going to be a cracker  :D
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 09:26:19 PM »
Looking back over my thoughts I posted on Jared's reread on Tor. 

For chapter 1 I noted that it revealed a lot about Basso's character.  The slightly creepy killing of bugs, the stealing just for 'sport', and also his mother's cold blooded murder of the intruder seems significant. Is this a foreshadowing of a trait that Basso will inherit from her?

The stealing just for 'sport' is interesting as well, as we will see Basso enjoys taking risks. Are these necessary or unnecessary risk though?

For chapter 2 I noted that is was a really interesting chapter which crams a hell of a lot of plot in - Basso's apprenticeship, the birth of his sons (who he really seems to be indifferent to!), his besting of Antigonus, the change in relationship with his father who he can now manipulate, and has earned the respect of, and of course his difficult marriage and the murder.

Father and son relationships seem really crucial in this chapter. As I have already alluded, Baso's relationship with his father changes a lot over the course of this chapter, to the point that he wins his father's respect (the brilliantly written archery scene) and now he is the one manipulating and controlling his father. At the beginning of the chapter he has no salary, and is unsure where to get money from to keep Cilia happy, by the end his father is letting him take the lead in making financial decisions for the family. As I said he is also indifferent to his own sons, but yet seems taken by his nephew who is tellingly named after him. It is clear already he sees his nephew as his heir rather than his own sons - and interesting how much he spends on the 'acceptance party.' Also the return of Aelius - who I get the feeling will be a significant character. (and which I would prove right on!)

I later added "Just realised I wasn't that clear before - I see Aelius and Antigonus as two surrogate father figures to Basso as well, but as with his own father, Basso feels the need to win their acceptance and redefine their relationship to one when he is in charge and manipulating and controlling them."  - Jared thought this was an excellent point at the time. 

For Chapter 3 I noted "Again it's all about father-son relationships to me. The loss of his own father, and the sad part you pointed out that the father had been actively trying to compete with his own at making investments and failing miserably. Basso still feeling the need to show off to Antigonus, look how clever I have come!, and then coming off second best with Aelius, and for once having to step down, and admit he can't lead an army into battle. There is the heart to heart with his son elect, Young Bassano, and then finally the narrative gives his own sons names, and Basso takes an interest in their upbringing. Tellingly though he learns about them through Young Bassano, not through any direct interaction with them. And the threat to Festo is interesting, plus Young Bassano reveals that Pio and Festo are in fear of him.

Interesting how you draw the comparisons between Basso and a villain, as he certainly seems to be a villain in the eyes of his own sons, his sister and Aelius."  Jared wasn't sure if Aelius saw Basso as a villain or not. 

My thoughts on chapter 4 were a bit spoilerific but contemplated whether Basso got fortunate in his win against Auxentia or whether he is just the supreme planner but plans his moves out like a game of Chess and has fall backs and plan Bs in place.

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Offline Arry

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Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 01:00:20 AM »
My only gripe is that there isn’t really any fantasy as such, apart from the obvious set in a different world bit.
That hasn't bothered me, but I am very curious what may make this book fantastical.

For chapter 1 I noted that it revealed a lot about Basso's character.  The slightly creepy killing of bugs, the stealing just for 'sport', and also his mother's cold blooded murder of the intruder seems significant. Is this a foreshadowing of a trait that Basso will inherit from her?
Oh, absolutely. I felt like the precision and calculation it took to kill the bugs the way he did, plus the calm detached manner, could really be an indication of things to come later. As well as the stealing for sport. And I already commented on his mother's murder. Definitely seems like that will be significant at some point. And if not, I guess the complete insignificance of it is significant in its own way. (if that makes sense)


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finally the narrative gives his own sons names, and Basso takes an interest in their upbringing. Tellingly though he learns about them through Young Bassano, not through any direct interaction with them.
Yep, definitely an interesting dynamic there

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And the threat to Festo is interesting, plus Young Bassano reveals that Pio and Festo are in fear of him.
Well .... it can hardly be surprising they would fear the man they saw murder their mother. And that shows no affection towards them despite being their father.
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Offline eclipse

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Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 08:00:55 AM »
Got up to chapter 3 , Think I'm going to enjoy this book  :)

I Would have liked to see more of the mother and her potions, counting up to 10 in her head to see when a body fall's down and surprised when it happens earlier then 10 seconds and doesn't throw out the folding knife she was threatened with when she finds it later on

How many patients do you think she's treated  ;)



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Offline Arry

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Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2013, 01:30:19 PM »
Got up to chapter 3 , Think I'm going to enjoy this book  :)

I Would have liked to see more of the mother and her potions, counting up to 10 in her head to see when a body fall's down and surprised when it happens earlier then 10 seconds and doesn't throw out the folding knife she was threatened with when she finds it later on

How many patients do you think she's treated  ;)
No idea, but his mother, for the little bit of page time she had (in the grand scheme of things) is definitely a curious and disturbing character. Would love to find out more about her.
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Offline Jeni

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2013, 08:44:51 PM »
*sigh*

A story about a banker/politician doing bankery/politiciany things which include starting wars just to make himself even richer and to prove to himself that he is the smartest person alive. Because, ego.

So. The life and times of an egocentric accountant is apparently not my idea of a ripping yarn.

Someone pleeeeeeeeease tell me that there is some kind of plot hiding within the next few chapters!!!!




Offline Nighteyes

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Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2013, 11:49:51 PM »
Wow, Jeni goes all Fellshot on us!  Though since it's your first time, and you had your reasons I'll let you off. ;)  Not enjoying a book because it is about a devious banker, is slightly better than Fellshot's usual reason, 'It's popular, so I am going to be contrary and not like it.' YAWN.

The plot though is how do we reach the ending we are given in the prologue.  What is Basso's one mistake?  It is basically the rise, and fall of Basso.  Personally I was completely engrossed, but yes, it is not really conventional fantasy as we have no magic, no heroic characters, no quest to save the world.  Just a tale that could have been set in Venice towards the end of the Roman Empire.  But I think Parker has deliberately created an alternative world with it's own histories so she is free of the constraints of historical record, and write the narrative, and create the characters she wants for her own tales.   
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Offline pornokitsch

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2013, 12:41:49 PM »
*sigh*

A story about a banker/politician doing bankery/politiciany things which include starting wars just to make himself even richer and to prove to himself that he is the smartest person alive. Because, ego.

So. The life and times of an egocentric accountant is apparently not my idea of a ripping yarn.

Someone pleeeeeeeeease tell me that there is some kind of plot hiding within the next few chapters!!!!

Jeni, if it helps, I think Basso *is* a villain - he's sympathetic, but not empathetic, if that makes sense. You wind up liking him despite the fact that he's a war-mongering, murdering banker.

Given that this book was published at the height of anti-war and anti-banker sentiment, I think it also meant to address that head on! At no point does The Folding Knife try to claim what Basso is doing is the Right Thing, but it does help you think about why people do the wrong things (while thinking they're right).

That is damn near the most complicated sentence I've ever written, I hope it makes sense.

There's a lot of accountancy though. :)

Offline Jeni

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2013, 10:22:27 PM »
I don't hate it - I guess I'm just disappointed because I was hoping I'd like this one.

It does have some good points - sarcastic dialogue is always gonna be a win for me, and I do find a couple of the characters interesting(ish) - but I am struggling to hold any interest in the actual story, so far.

Offline michaelramm

The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2013, 02:43:16 PM »
I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. My only real problem is that I have lost the sense of time. It seems to indiscriminately jump forward and I am not very good at the minute details of keeping up with it. I am sure that on subsequent reads it will be much easier to follow.


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Offline Idlewilder

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2013, 05:59:43 PM »
So, I just caught up! Really enjoying it so far - I'd say more than Sharps, which I ended up thinking was excellent. The Folding Knife has more of a central narrative (believe it or not, Jeni!  :) ) and it has this character at its centre that forms the backbone of the whole thing. Sharps didn't really have that. But anyway.

I don't particularly like Basso, but I like reading about him. He's fascinating. He's so measured with everything he does - or so it seems - that you can't help but wonder what his ultimate endgame is. I also find it interesting, as an antithesis to that, that although he is incredibly measured (and obviously thinks of himself as a genius, beyond the fact he actually is one (EGO)), so many of his actions can actually be attributed to his early connections.

Ergo, we're repeatedly told that Antigonus is a shrewd manipulator, and yet Basso keeps him close - possibly to his own detriment. Likewise, we're consistently informed that his father was a little more than fool with supremely good luck. And yet, Basso holds to so many of the phrases and supposed ideals his father had. Regardless of his own intellect, I get the feeling Basso's odd connections with his family and friends are what could lead to his downfall.

Perfect example: we barely know anything about his children, and yet his sister - who clearly loathes him - is, as Basso puts it, "...the person I love most in the world..." (p.90). He has this really odd idea of family alongside a genuinely brilliant mind when it comes to matters of a less "social" framework. (i.e. Finance, War, Politics, etc...)

<aside: does Basso have the makings of a sociopath?>

It seems his one mistake so far (no idea if it is THE MISTAKE) is letting his passions get the best of him in killing his wife and brother-in-law. For a man so usually measured, an act such as this clearly has a legacy we're seeing in the relationships he has with his sister, nephew, sons and so on. It's a domino effect.

Onwards!
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2013, 07:09:11 PM »
So, I just caught up! Really enjoying it so far - I'd say more than Sharps, which I ended up thinking was excellent. The Folding Knife has more of a central narrative (believe it or not, Jeni!  :) ) and it has this character at its centre that forms the backbone of the whole thing. Sharps didn't really have that. But anyway.

It's much better than Sharps.  Sharps doesn't really come together till the final hundred pages, whilst here we start with the ending (or do we?), and are now working our way back towards it, along with the fateful murder of his wife and brother in law.

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I don't particularly like Basso, but I like reading about him. He's fascinating. He's so measured with everything he does - or so it seems - that you can't help but wonder what his ultimate endgame is. I also find it interesting, as an antithesis to that, that although he is incredibly measured (and obviously thinks of himself as a genius, beyond the fact he actually is one (EGO)), so many of his actions can actually be attributed to his early connections.

I actually like Basso.  I thought he was very charming and found him much more likeable that some of those whiny farm boy heroes out there.


Quote
Ergo, we're repeatedly told that Antigonus is a shrewd manipulator, and yet Basso keeps him close - possibly to his own detriment. Likewise, we're consistently informed that his father was a little more than fool with supremely good luck. And yet, Basso holds to so many of the phrases and supposed ideals his father had. Regardless of his own intellect, I get the feeling Basso's odd connections with his family and friends are what could lead to his downfall.

Interesting.  Yes, Basso is a bit of a sponge in that he absorbs ideas and teachings from all the various characters around him.  But yet, is he trying to take the best from everyone and so make a better whole?  (Does that make sense?)

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Perfect example: we barely know anything about his children, and yet his sister - who clearly loathes him - is, as Basso puts it, "...the person I love most in the world..." (p.90). He has this really odd idea of family alongside a genuinely brilliant mind when it comes to matters of a less "social" framework. (i.e. Finance, War, Politics, etc...)

<aside: does Basso have the makings of a sociopath?>

I don't think so.  I think he does have people he genuinely cares about, and wants to do the best by them.  But at the same time, he is very self seeking ...

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It seems his one mistake so far (no idea if it is THE MISTAKE) is letting his passions get the best of him in killing his wife and brother-in-law. For a man so usually measured, an act such as this clearly has a legacy we're seeing in the relationships he has with his sister, nephew, sons and so on. It's a domino effect.

Onwards!

If it is the MISTAKE?  Well worth a discussion at the end about what is the MISTAKE.  I am still not sure and I have finished the damned book and read Jared's thoughts on it as well!
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