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Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City

Lu par : Ray Sawyer
Durée : 13 h et 15 min

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Description

K. J. Parker's new novel is the remarkable tale of the siege of a walled city and the even more remarkable man who had to defend it.   

A siege is approaching, and the city has little time to prepare. The people have no food and no weapons, and the enemy has sworn to slaughter them all.   

To save the city will take a miracle, but what it has is Orhan. A colonel of engineers, Orhan has far more experience with bridge building than battles, is a cheat and a liar, and has a serious problem with authority. He is, in other words, perfect for the job.   

Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City is the story of Orhan, son of Siyyah Doctus Felix Praeclarissimus, and his history of the Great Siege, written down so that the deeds and sufferings of great men may never be forgotten.   

©2019 K. J. Parker (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

Commentaires

"Full of invention and ingenuity...Great fun." (SFX)

"Parker's settings and characterisations never miss a beat." (Library Journal

Ce que les auditeurs disent de Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City

Notations

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Joe Kraus
  • 29/01/2020

An Adventure the Questions Empire

I’ve been thinking recently – and this one has helped me crystallize some of my loose ideas – that there’s a distinction in what they call “high fantasy.” By definition such work imagines empire, imagines some idea of order that stands in contrast to the “low” chaos that some antagonist offers. (Never mind that most of the best recent fantasies – Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, The Night Circus, The Vorrh, Jerusalem, Harry Potter, and even The Magicians – don’t deal with empire at all.) In any case, I think there’s a line to draw between books that have a yearning for empire – as Tolkien taught all of us – and those that have a memory of empire. The distinction sets up much of the action of the novel, but I think it also establishes its politics. Books like The Lord of the Rings are, whether we realize it or not, fundamentally conservative. They want to restore that lost order and, even if they champion the capacity for characters to conceive of something new, that diminishes the potential of the individual outside the whole. Frodo is magnificent, of course, but he is so – as he only gradually learns – within the context of a great and lost kingdom of men. He can never be great by the standards of that empire; at best (and he is at best) he can be only a heroic commoner whom the great condescend to reward. In books that have only a memory of empire, though – and that’s mostly the case with Game of Thrones – we get abiding skepticism about what came before. Empire isn’t lauded as a lost Eden; it’s seen as a persistent threat to the individual, to the character who has real and personal dreams. I say all that because, while Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City has its flaws, it opens with a refreshing contempt for empire. Orhan is an engineer who finds himself accidentally the ranking officer in charge of defending a great city – think Rome or Byzantium – from an existential threat. He’s no fan of the empire; its clients wiped out his village when he was a child, and he has risen in its ranks even though his milk-colored skin marks him as an outsider and other. Still, he takes on the task as if its another of the bridges he knows how to design. He’s drawn less by loyalty and ethics than by the simple engineering challenge of the operation. That tells you much of the politics of this novel. In many ways, it has a deep cynicism toward everything. Orhan turns out to be more of a scoundrel than we might imagine. On top of that, Parker explores some of what it means to have an unreliable narrator recording his own deeds. Yes, Orhan makes one brilliant (or fortunate) decision after another, but he admits outright that it’s his story and he might, every so often, be exaggerating. The primary fun of this is its focus on the problems of design. Orhan has to solve one crisis after another and, early on especially, it’s refreshing to get such nitty-gritty. This is an empire that turns not on the hoped-for return of the king but rather – literally – on a nail. Can they recover or fashion enough of them to repair and sustain the siege engines they need to resist the attackers? I’ll confess that I think this gets weaker toward the end. [SPOILER:] I’m no fan of the plot twist that has the leader of the assembled army be Orhan’s long-lost childhood friend; as the two survivors of their village, they’ve both risen around the threat of the empire and its troops. [Second SPOILER:] While I like the tone of the end of this when an accident alters the course of Orhan’s life and we’re shown how the siege looks to observers centuries later, it felt a bit as if Parker had run out of ideas. That’s not entirely a bad thing, though, since it largely reflects that he offered so many terrific and clever ideas in those early parts. In the end, though, what redeems this from just a clever premise is its willingness to question the prevailing perspective of the genre. A little like Joe Abercrombie in The Blade Itself – but with a very different tone – it remembers what its world was like when an empire put everything into an order that gave little room for the self to blossom. It remembers empire, but it doesn’t yearn for it.

5 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07/02/2020

original fun, not a common thing now a days

loved it, laughed with it. enjoyed it. I'm not a fan of these type of books (the fantasy type that is), I prefer science fiction, but this one I loved

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • @m @ler
  • 09/09/2020

Fantastic reading of a clever story

I happen to be a fan of self-deprecating humor, the philosophy of power, and nerds of notability. If you like these things too, then chances are you will enjoy this book. The author did a great job of injecting a steady stream of deadpan humor and plot twists. He brought up a number of thoughtful contemplations on the trappings of power and how, even if you have a big brain and real life experience, it is still impossible to know enough to plan for a whole city (let alone a whole nation) and how the best of intentions can really backfire in your face. So what can you do? Just wish to be lucky, I guess. Getting this book? Have fun! [I inevitably listen at books at 1.25-1.4x speed.]

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Efrat Kotzer Hassid
  • Efrat Kotzer Hassid
  • 21/05/2020

Great fun and adventure

Very enjoyable! Many plot twists, including the surprising ending. And in between all the adventures, some interesting observations about people and society.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sam
  • 05/05/2020

great performance

I really enjoyed the story and the performance. Very well done, the narrator nailed the personna.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David G. Myers
  • 21/01/2020

Great Story for the Right People!

If you have ever fancied yourself as a tactician, strategist, engineer or just enjoyed siege games then this book is for you! This story artfully conveys the challenges of defending the equivalent of a city in medieval times intertwined with interesting subplots and creative writing. It does so with colorful characters and surprising plot twist. The narration is slower than I am used to and the limited range of character voices made it hard to follow who was talking at times. Nonetheless I looked past that to enjoy the book. Do not look for a sequel to this story. It is a stand alone story. A snapshot of an epic struggle from a distant time and far off place.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JoR
  • 03/01/2020

Please, Audible, MORE KJ PARKER NOVELS!

Another entertaining KJ Parker read. I highly recommend Parker’s work to fans of ancient and medieval history—despite his work not being historical fiction; to fans of fantasy—despite there being no magic presented in the narrative; to fans of comedy—especially to those who prefer the dark, ironic, and clever sort of delivery that sometimes makes you uncomfortable for laughing at it. Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City isn’t my favorite novel of Parker’s. That honor goes to The Folding Knife, or perhaps Sharps... maybe Devices and Desires. Then again, his collection of short fiction, Academic Exercises, might just take the cake. I really like his work. A lot. But Sixteen Ways is special, because it is the first of Parker’s novels available from Audible. Audiobooks happen to be my preferred method of reading. Because I like Parker so much, I’m willing to make my eyes tired and take six months to finish one of his books in print. But I’d much rather listen to one of his books in a day and a half, as I did with Sixteen. Please, Audible, give us more!

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07/12/2019

If you like Tom Holt's work you will love this

Why? Because it in fact is Tom Holt who wrote it. That should be all one needs to know.

2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan
  • 06/12/2019

This book is great

I'm loving this book. I'm more than 2/3 of the way through this and it's so rich. You get awesome story, dey hunpr and really good visualized battles. Book keeps getting better. And the narrator is perfect. He gets the tone and feel for the writer

1 personne a trouvé cela utile