The Escapement Paperback
by K. J. Parker
Part of the The Engineer Trilogy series
Condemned to death, the engineer Ziani Vaatzes escaped from Mezentia.
His implacable determination to return home led him to contrive an intricate plan to bring down the Republic, a plan which require a war.
He regrets the deaths. But he had no choice. Duke Valens dragged his people into the war to save the life of one woman.
Then he killed her husband. Now, allied to the nomadic barbarians who have the manpower to defeat Mezentia, the Duke regrets the evil he's done.
But he had no choice. Secretary Psellus never wanted to rule the Republic, or fight a desperate siege for its survival.
Trying to make sense of how it all happened, he finds himself compelled to investigate the circumstances of Vaatzes' crime.
He is terrified of what he might find out, but he has no choice. The machine has been built. All that remains is to set it in motion.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 576 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 04/09/2008
- Category: Fantasy
- ISBN: 9781841492803
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Review by lewispike
I feel obscurely let down by this book, and I'm not sure why. It does, after all, do exactly what its main character say it will, and one of the themes of the series is that an engineer makes a device that does precisely what it's designed to and then stops.Part of my issue, I suspect, is that I don't think of people as being that well behaved - although you can have people do what you want to some extent, you can't really know them well enough to control and predict them well enough to treat them as Vantzes does.I think, also, the discovery that the fundamental tenets of his culture are based on lies makes me wonder. Is it really possible that a culture that has so little curiosity and imagination could dominate the world in this way, and could dominate it as an economic and manufacturing power-house?For all that, large parts of this book are really good and the series comes to a largely satisfactory end with lovers reunited (whether they want to be or not), peace in our time and so on and so forth.I think my other niggle is that it's all too quickly wrapped up. I appreciate that's the machine of the story doing what it's designed to do and then stopping, but people don't act that way, events don't act that way, at least not in my experience.