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Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City
The Siege, Book 1
K. J. Parker
Spieldauer: 13 Std. und 15 Min.
4.5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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.
Ever been offered a promotion that seems too good to be true? You know - the sort they'd be insane to be offering to someone like you. The kind where you snap their arm off to accept, then wonder why all your long-serving colleagues look secretly relieved, as if they're off some strange and unpleasant hook...It's the kind of trick that deeply sinister companies like J.W. Wells & Co. pull all the time. Especially with employees who are too busy mooning over the office intern to think about what they're getting into.
The City may be under siege, but everyone still has to make a living. Take Notker, the acclaimed playwright, actor and impresario. Nobody works harder, even when he's not working. Thankfully, it turns out that people appreciate an evening at the theatre even when there are large rocks falling out of the sky. But Notker is a man of many talents and all the world is, apparently, a stage.
Starting a new job is always stressful (especially when you don't particularly want one), but when Paul Carpenter arrives at the office of J. W. Wells he has no idea what trouble lies in store. Because he is about to discover that the apparently respectable establishment now paying his salary is in fact a front for a deeply sinister organisation that has a mighty peculiar agenda. It seems that half the time his bosses are away with the fairies. But they're not, of course. They're away with the goblins.
New Evil. Same as the Old Evil but with better PR. Mordak isn't bad as far as goblin kings go, but when someone or something starts pumping gold into the human kingdoms, it puts his rule into serious jeopardy. Suddenly he's locked in an arms race with a species whose arms he once considered merely part of a healthy breakfast.
Maurice has just killed a dragon with a breadknife. And had his destiny foretold...and had his true love spirited away. That's precisely the sort of stuff that'd bring out the latent heroism in anyone. Unfortunately, Maurice is pretty sure he hasn't got any latent heroism. Meanwhile, a man wakes up in a jar in a different kind of pickle (figuratively speaking).
Being the Dark Lord and Prince of Evil is not as much fun as it sounds, particularly if you are a basically decent person. King Mordak is just such a person. Technically he's more goblin than person, but the point is that he is really keen to be a lot less despicable than his predecessors. Not that the other goblins appreciate Mordak's attempts to redefine the role. Why should they when his new health-care program seems designed to actually extend life expectancy, and his efforts to end a perfectly reasonable war with the dwarves appear to have become an obsession?
J.W. Wells seemed to be a respectable establishment, but the company now paying Paul Carpenter's salary is in fact a deeply sinister organisation with a mighty peculiar management team. Paul thought he was getting the hang of it (particularly when he fell head over heels for his colleague Sophie), but death is never far away when you work at J.W. Wells, unlike the stapler - that's always going AWOL. Our love-struck hero is about to discover that custard is definitely in the eye of the beholder. And that it really stings.
A happy workforce is a productive workforce. At the moment, the Wizard's employees are neither. The goblins are upset with their working conditions, the dragonslayer has thrown a hissy fit over his medical insurance (or lack thereof) and everyone is upset about the terrible canteen coffee. Yet the Wizard hasn't got time to worry about revolution in the workplace - he's about to see his brilliant business plan (based on entrepreneurial flair and involving one or two parallel worlds) disrupted by a clueless young man.
Monsters are roaming the streets of London. Of course, some monsters are scarier than others: Unicorns? No bother. Vampires? Big deal. Werewolves? Ho hum. Lawyers? … Aaargh! Duncan's boss doesn't think that he's cut out to be a lawyer. He isn’t a pack animal. He lacks the killer instinct. But when his best friend from school barges his way back into Duncan’s life, with a full supporting cast of lawyers, ex-wives, zombies and snow-white unicorns, it’s not long before things become distinctly unsettling.
The doughnut is a thing of beauty, a circle of fried, doughy perfection - a source of comfort in trying times, perhaps. For Theo Bernstein it is far, far more. An accident at work lost Theo his job (and his work involved preventing a Very, Very Large Hadron Collider from blowing up, so he's unlikely to get it back). His wife has left him; he doesn't have any money; and news arrives that his good friend, Professor Pieter van Goyen, renowned physicist and Nobel laureate, has died.
When the Supreme Being and his son decide that being supreme isn't for them anymore, it's inevitable that things get a bit of a shake-up. It soon becomes apparent that our new owners, the Venturi brothers, have a very different perspective on all sorts of things. Take Good and Evil, for example. For them it's an outdated concept that never worked particularly well in the first place.
The “Funeral” Owl is supposedly an omen of death, so when there’s a rare sighting, Philip Dryden, editor of local newspaper, has a sense of foreboding. It's already proving to be an eventful week. The body of a Chinese man has been discovered hanging in a churchyard; the death of two tramps has unearthed some shocking findings; and a series of metal thefts is plaguing the area. And Dryden has been requested to help in solving a horrifying ten-year-old cold case.
Journalist Philip Dryden is shocked to be informed by police that his father has been killed in a car accident - he drowned during the fenland floods of 1977, 35 years before. At the same time, two unrelated cases are demanding Dryden's professional attention: a body riddled with bullets found hanging in the middle of a lettuce field, and a couple protesting that the local council has buried their baby daughter in a pauper's grave without permission.