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K. J. Parker


Blue and Gold

The Empire: Saloninus: Book 1

K. J. Parker

'Well, let me see,' I said, as the innkeeper poured me a beer. 'In the morning I discovered the secret of changing base metal into gold. In the afternoon, I murdered my wife.'

For a man as remarkable as the philosopher Saloninus, just another day.

Of course, we only have his word for it, and Saloninus has been known to be creative with the truth. Little white lies are inevitable expedients when you're one jump ahead of the secret police and on the brink of one of the greatest discoveries in the history of alchemy. But why would a scientist with the world's most generous, forgiving patron be so desperate to run away? And what, if anything, has blue got to do with gold?

This novella was originally published as a chapbook, and was collected in Academic Exercises (2014).

The Devil You Know

The Empire: Saloninus: Book 2

K. J. Parker

The greatest philosopher of all time is offering to sell his soul to the Devil. All he wants is twenty more years to complete his life's work. After that, he really doesn't care.

But the assistant demon assigned to the case has his suspicions, because the philosopher is Saloninus--the greatest philosopher, yes, but also the greatest liar, trickster and cheat the world has yet known; the sort of man even the Father of Lies can't trust.

He's almost certainly up to something; but what?

This novella was originally published as a chapbook. It was collected in The Father of Lies (2018).

The Big Score

The Empire: Saloninus: Book 3

K. J. Parker

Saloninus is a man with two distinct professions. In idle moments, he dashes off immortal masterpieces – philosophical treatises, musical compositions, dramas of Shakespearean range and depth – that never manage to turn a profit. His primary profession – that of thief, grifter and itinerant con man – is equally unprofitable, and he spends his life in constant flight from the encroaching forces of the law.

The story opens in the aftermath of Saloninus's own funeral, an act of self-concealment he has staged many times before. Newly risen from the dead, he encounters an old flame – a sort of archetypal femme fatale – with whom he shares a colorful – and highly illegal – history. She has a plan in mind, one that involves both of Saloninus's skill sets: criminality and literary genius. If successful, that plan will lead to the elusive "big score" that will set them free forever. Against his better judgment, and fully aware that failure and betrayal may await him, Saloninus agrees to participate. The result is this ingenious – and very funny – tale.

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