In How To Rule An Empire and Get Away With It by K. J. Parker the city has been under siege for years. Along comes Notker, sometime playwright, sometime actor, frequent liar and part time criminal. The Empire appears to need him for a new role whether he likes it or not. This then is Notker’s story.
Maybe unsurprisingly Notker, a thespian, frequently addresses his audience – us the reader – while he is telling his tale. Initially I found this light hearted and easy to read though maybe less easy to understand what is going in the city/story. However around 20% in things became much clearer and I found myself more engaged with the story. The story is partly addressed to the reader and partly narrative of events etc. I enjoyed Notker as a character but the rest felt rather shallow.
In the end I found this mildly entertaining and easy enough to read. However there was nothing here to get my teeth into. The story was ok I guess however I was never held by it I’ve not read anything by this author previously. I don’t recall reading anything by Tom Holt – the real author – either. Comedy writing (indeed “comedy” generally) is a tough area I think. I don’t actually regret reading this however I never really felt all that engaged in the machinations of the war and the siege. I imagine fans of the author may well be pleased with How To Rule An Empire and Get Away With It even if it wasn’t particularly for me.
Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review