THE PROOF HOUSE is the richly imaginative, masterfully written third volume in the FENCER trilogy
COLOURS IN THE STEEL and THE BELLY OF THE BOW, the first two volumes of the Fencer Trilogy, introduced a remarkable new voice in fantasy fiction. THE PROOF HOUSE is the final volume in K.J. Parker's brilliant Fencer Trilogy.
After years spent in the saps under the defences of the apparently impregnable city of Ap' Iscatoy, Bardas Loredan, sometime fencer-at-law and the betrayed defender of the famed Triple City, is suddenly a hero of the Empire. His reward is a boring administrative job in a backwater, watching armour tested to destruction in the Proof House. But the fall of Ap' Iscatoy has opened up unexpected possibilities for the expansion of the Empire into the land of the Plains people, and Bardas Loredan is the one man Temrai the Great, King of the Plains tribes, fears the most...
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Bardas has come a long way from the young soldier who wrought havoc in the wars with the barbarians of the plains, the swordsman who fought successful trials by combat and the commander whose attempts to save his city were dashed by last-moment treachery. He has taken several steps into madness and depravity; in The Proof House, the impressive conclusion of The Fencer Trilogy, his sanity is entirely up for grabs as an imperial posting sends him to where armour is made and souls are tested, not least by the endless din of breastplates and helmets subjected to breaking strain. It is the end-game for his friends as well--for his former secretary and the ambitious merchants she has formed a partnership with, and the half-smart magicians whose attempts to change history have consistently made things radically and disastrously worse. His family--the brothers who betrayed him and the niece whose attempts to kill him have cost her most of her hand--are out there somewhere too...Parker's is a bleak and sardonic fantasy world, where it can never be assumed that things will turn out for the best; this is a startlingly original book with a tone entirely of its own. - Roz Kaveney, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW
From the first page, it has style, humour and pace all its own, and develops rapidly into one of the most entertaining fantasy debuts in recent years...Refreshing, fun, thoughtful, different, absorbing - SFX
Action-packed adventure ... An intriguing tale of magic, manipulation and revenge - STARBURST
A massively enjoyable adventure - BLACK TEARS on THE BELLY OF THE BOW
K. J. Parker is a pseudonym for Tom Holt. He was born in London in 1961. At Oxford he studied bar billiards, ancient Greek agriculture and the care and feeding of small, temperamental Japanese motorcycle engines. These interests led him, perhaps inevitably, to qualify as a solicitor and emigrate to Somerset, where he specialised in death and taxes for seven years before going straight in 1995. He lives in Chard, Somerset, with his wife and daughter.