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Author Topic: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4  (Read 11833 times)

Offline pornokitsch

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2013, 08:43:15 PM »
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!

Definitely. Look forward to that - like you, I'm just not sure at all!

Offline Idlewilder

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2013, 11:30:05 AM »

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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?)


It definitely makes sense. I do find it interesting that he keeps Antigonus so close to him, even though the guy has previously proven he can't really be trusted. Basso's certainly inherited Antigonus' ability to see beyond the bigger picture into the minute details; and the knowledge on how to manipulate the details. Likewise with his father he's seemingly cherry-picked the elements he finds useful. Hmm.
Make Another World.

Offline Victoria Hooper

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2013, 01:25:37 PM »
I'm really enjoying this so far. I agree that (so far, anyway) it's better than Sharps, and I loved Sharps. I also had no idea that these were set in the same world! Are all K. J. Parker's books in the same world? This one feels like it's set earlier in the world's timeline than Sharps was. Not sure why, just a feeling. What do you think?

Basso is such an interesting character, but I also love his sister, and Aelius. Not sure how long Aelius will keep being his pet general - perhaps he will end up working against Basso or perhaps he'll be an odd sort of ally throughout. And obviously Basso's sister hates him now - I wonder if she is going to be a main enemy for him, plotting revenge. Will it be her who eventually ruins him? Was his BIG MISTAKE killing her husband? I'm actually not sure if he could have avoided that, as it was self-defence. Killing his wife was the one he could have avoided. I love that we've been told there's one big mistake but not what it is. Makes you wonder if each new thing he does could be IT.

Basso has a really weird relationship with his sons and his nephew. Definitely closer to the nephew and seems to love him more. I got a bit of a feel of The Godfather from some sections - he's such a powerful figure, and seems to be grooming his nephew to be like him, yet at the same time not quite like him. Basso says his sons have a cruel streak that he doesn't like, and they don't seem to be as intelligent as Bassano either; he seems to appreciate his nephew's more thoughtful, gentle personality. There are also similarities between Basso and the emperor Claudius from Roman history.

I love the setting. I studied Roman history at uni, so reading this is pretty fun. It feels like a mix of very early Empire, very late Empire, and Renaissance Italy, and even some bits of the Republic thrown in. I think K. J. Parker has done a really good job of combining these aspects without making it feel too jumbled. It gives it a sense of not quite matching anything in our world, while still having fun similarities, while also having a really distinct feel of its own. I feel like I really know the world, and can picture it so well, after only a few chapters.

I'm going to go find the read-along that Jared did now.  :) Was that on Tor?

Offline Arry

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Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2013, 12:12:40 AM »
It definitely makes sense. I do find it interesting that he keeps Antigonus so close to him, even though the guy has previously proven he can't really be trusted.
Basso's blind trust of Antigonus really perplexes me. And I am really stuck on how Antigonus worked for his freedom, and Basso bought him back. That just doesn't seem like the best option to maintain employee loyalty.

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Basso's certainly inherited Antigonus' ability to see beyond the bigger picture into the minute details; and the knowledge on how to manipulate the details. Likewise with his father he's seemingly cherry-picked the elements he finds useful. Hmm.
Makes you wonder how much of it is Basso and how much of it is Antigonus being a master manipulator.

Basso is such an interesting character, but I also love his sister, and Aelius. Not sure how long Aelius will keep being his pet general - perhaps he will end up working against Basso or perhaps he'll be an odd sort of ally throughout. And obviously Basso's sister hates him now - I wonder if she is going to be a main enemy for him, plotting revenge. Will it be her who eventually ruins him?
His relationship with his sister is certainly interesting. Such passion in those siblings! No, not Lannister passion, but her passionately hating him, and him passionately wishing for her forgiveness.

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I love that we've been told there's one big mistake but not what it is. Makes you wonder if each new thing he does could be IT.
Exactly!  ;D

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I'm going to go find the read-along that Jared did now.  :) Was that on Tor?
Yep. :)
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Offline Effing_Rainbow

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2013, 02:01:21 AM »
*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!!!!

I'm a bit behind at this point, but since I haven't gotten through Chapters 5-8 yet I'll put this here...

I'm more or less with Jeni at this point. I thought the book sounded more interesting than it's turned out to be, so far. I'm willing to put a lot of this down to how different it is from anything I normally read, but... Yeah. I've gotten through the first quarter and I'm struggling to stay keen on it. I'll try, but this doesn't bode well...

Offline AnneLyle

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2013, 12:46:26 PM »
I'm enjoying it, though not as much as Sharps - clearly I prefer fencing to banking :)

I too am intrigued by the world-building - it's pretty apparent that this book is set in the same world as Sharps, though perhaps at an earlier date. There are mentions of Scleria/Scheria*, the currency is numismata, the main religion is the Unconquered Sun... I almost see the setting as sandalpunk, i.e. it takes as its basis the late Roman Empire (in Sharps, we learn there is an Eastern as well as a Western Empire) but pushes it straight into an almost 18th/19th century state of advancement, as if the empire had never fallen. IIRC Sol Invictus was one of the many mystery cults competing with Christianity in the early centuries A.D.

Still, I can see why KJP hasn't exactly set the fantasy world alight - apart from these hints of worldbuilding, there are no fantastical elements whatsoever, and not much in the way of action. Not that this is a bad thing, but it's hardly popularist.

* Either an evolution of the name over time, or language differences?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 12:49:17 PM by AnneLyle »
Elizabethan fantasy trilogy The Alchemist of SoulsThe Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies out now from Angry Robot Books!

Offline pornokitsch

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2013, 01:09:22 PM »
I'm more or less with Jeni at this point. I thought the book sounded more interesting than it's turned out to be, so far. I'm willing to put a lot of this down to how different it is from anything I normally read, but... Yeah. I've gotten through the first quarter and I'm struggling to stay keen on it. I'll try, but this doesn't bode well...

I can't answer that without spoilers. But, speaking vaguely, there's.... plague, assassinations, heists and war. So stuff definitely happens and there's a lot of it coming.

THAT SAID, the whole thing is still narrated in the same style. So I can promise less economics and much more action, but it doesn't exactly turn into a swashbuckler.

Offline Idlewilder

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2013, 01:09:45 PM »
Still, I can see why KJP hasn't exactly set the fantasy world alight - apart from these hints of worldbuilding, there are no fantastical elements whatsoever, and not much in the way of action. Not that this is a bad thing, but it's hardly popularist.

I completely agree. I really enjoyed Sharps and so far am loving The Folding Knife, but it is easy to see why they're not commercially HUGE. No real...plot, as such; a cynical and satirical dry wit; political and social comment tends to be explored in great depth, usually through extensive exploration of something unusual (like banking or fencing) as somewhat of a cipher; war and violence becomes something deliberately mundane in the description; almost complete lack of magic. Yup.
Make Another World.

Offline AnneLyle

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2013, 01:43:20 PM »
THAT SAID, the whole thing is still narrated in the same style. So I can promise less economics and much more action, but it doesn't exactly turn into a swashbuckler.

That's the thing - the style is very dry. Things do happen, but often at a remove (mental, if not physical) that distances the reader. Necessary to the satirical tone, but yeah, distancing.
Elizabethan fantasy trilogy The Alchemist of SoulsThe Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies out now from Angry Robot Books!

Offline Victoria Hooper

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2013, 02:20:30 PM »
I almost see the setting as sandalpunk, i.e. it takes as its basis the late Roman Empire

I thought that too, then later it mentions characters putting on coats, and I got this weird image of a guy putting on a big duffel coat over the top of sandals and a toga. There are details throughout that definitely feel later than ancient Rome to me, even the late empire, but then there are so many bits that feel like late Roman Republic too. I love the world, but I did actually struggle to picture what clothes and buildings and weapons etc might look like.

Offline AnneLyle

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2013, 02:26:47 PM »
When I say "sandalpunk" I mean that culturally and technologically it's based on the Roman Empire but perhaps fashion has moved on. Even the Romans wore trousers and socks in colder climates, though they considered them barbarian garb.

Also, the rich colours and gilding of Pompeiian houses and ornaments suggest an aesthetic not dissimilar from the 18th & 19th centuries, so I imagine the settings as being Neo-Classical without the Neo :)
Elizabethan fantasy trilogy The Alchemist of SoulsThe Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies out now from Angry Robot Books!

Offline Victoria Hooper

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2013, 03:00:32 PM »
Even the Romans wore trousers and socks in colder climates, though they considered them barbarian garb.

Heh, yes. And they didn't really walk around in togas a lot either. But my mind insisted on that image for some reason!  ;D

I think it was hard at first because I saw so many parallels and similarities with late Republic and early Empire that it was difficult for me to imagine the culture and look of the world being later. So it jolted me a bit when details from later history popped up. In the end there were so many details and references from various points in time, especially some of the later events (don't want to be spoilery) that I think it's very open for the reader to imagine the world however works best for them. Would be interested to know how others imagined it.  :)

Offline AnneLyle

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2013, 03:15:11 PM »
And in some places it's deliberately anachronistic, I feel - even the Romans knew about books, though scrolls remained popular for a long time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkQkeKbTP_w
Elizabethan fantasy trilogy The Alchemist of SoulsThe Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies out now from Angry Robot Books!

Offline Victoria Hooper

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2013, 08:57:07 PM »
Oh, well spotted. Yes I think anachronisms like that are on purpose to give it a more 'Roman-y' feel.

Also, you linked to Horrible Histories! *applause*  ;D

Offline DBASKLS

Re: The Folding Knife Week 1: Chapters 1 - 4
« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2013, 06:20:39 PM »
LOVE Horrible Histories!
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