by K.J. Parker

Subterranean Press
2018, 533 pages, $40

ISBN 978-1-59606-852-0

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THE FATHER OF LIES is a big book of stories, almost too big, at 533 pages. Some of it can be captivating; other parts, not so much.

Parker gives us 541 pages of fiction: in this case, pure punishment fiction. You see, to be gifted with certain powers, whether you are some kind of court-, as in king’s court, appointed wizard or whether you are the devil himself, in “No Peace for the Wicked,” people will hate you. Others will lock you up and kill you.

And you are just doing your work, and mere mortals just don’t get it. There always will be those who hide their powers and lie about it, as a result of fear and intimidation.

Those are the standard themes through a collection that does more to have fun with the language (you can almost read Parker as someone who is pointing a finger at the work and saying, “Look, aren’t I so inventive and clever?”) and make that the theme of the book. Or “Look what I can do!”

However, to a reader, that can be viewed as pretty boring. I am more interested in well-developed characters and a story that has deeper meaning. I need more of that and less “clever” or inventive language/situations.