Short story review: A Rich Full Week by K.J. Parker

I’ve never had the opportunity yet to read a K.J. Parker book so have not fully invested myself in the mystery of the author’s identity: however, having just finished ‘A Rich Full Week’ – collected in the anthology ‘Swords and Dark Magic’ – that may very well change.

A Rich Full Week is basically an exercise in world building a specific type of magic system woven around a delightful tale of a mediocre practitioner ‘doing the rounds’ – so to speak. The full scope of the magic is never explored, but we are exposed to certain aspects of it that allow for the author to tease us with its range.

Our protagonist is a relatively low-level member of an order of ‘Brothers’ who ‘don’t do magic’ but are rather “students of natural philosophy, specialising in mental energies, telepathy, telekinesis, indirect vision. Not magic; just science where we haven’t quite figured out how it works yet.”

His first case on his rounds involves a case of the restless dead, which sets the tone and the problem for the second half of the story. The mystery is never perfectly solved, and the ending a tantalising taste of what we’ll never see.

It’s simple, quick, and effortlessly written, and absolutely worth your time.

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