Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$9.97
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: ***2*** library stamps (both internal). Those library marks and the lightest of any shelf wear are the only imperfections. The book remains in crisp, very good condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Purple and Black Hardcover – July 30, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$34.99 $2.98

Top 20 lists in Books
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this heartbreaking epistolary novella, pseudonymous military fantasist Parker (The Company) keeps the letters, humor and tension moving at a quick clip. Nicephorus becomes the reluctant emperor of the Vesani after all his imperial relatives kill one other off. Knowing that 72 of the past century's 77 emperors have been murdered by the military, he appoints his trusted friend Phormio to command on a frontier filled with almost preternaturally effective insurgents. Each man sends two letters at a time to the other: one in official purple ink, the other a black-inked personal missive ranging from hilarious to despairing. As enemies become stalwart allies, sorrow lurks within victory and a forgotten moment of youth threatens everything, Parker sends the brief (but never terse) story flying to a wrenching and all too realistic conclusion. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean (July 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159606241X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596062412
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Exquisitely drawn story, very funny and then very tragic in all the right points. The story is an exchange of letters between two figures, the newly crowned Emperor and his long term schoolfriend set out to command at the frontier. The genre elements are a bit thin (it's closely modeled after Rome but equally clearly has its own specific events) but the actual process of emotion and exchange is first rate. Feels very much like a parable, sketching out the question of idealism and pragmatism in politics, and what happens to student promises for justice once the former students attain real power. A fairly grim long-term perspective, but the spark of character detail and effectively rendered perspectives make this a satisfying read, at once unique, plausible and surprisingly fun despite the grim result. Glad I came across this one.
Comment 4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
KJ Parker might as well change his/her pen name to "The Enigmatic". Not only do the official blurbs refer to the author in this fashion, but virtually every review does the same. "KJ Parker" is a pseudonym (supposedly of someone that's already famous in another genre), but the cryptic reputation is reinforced by his/her chosen stylistic territory.

Parker writes epic fantasy with the tone and flair of the great existentialists. Imagine Camus (beret / chain-smoking / small coffee / derisive look) secretly going home and reading Tolkien under the covers. The closest modern comparison is Andrzej Sapkowski, who also lends a certain stark & philosophical bent to his work. (Although the 'stark' could be the result of the translations).

Purple and Black is a limited edition novella from Subterranean Press, who have defied the 2009 malaise by putting out some stonking short fiction over the past 12 months.

It is, first and foremost, a stunning book. Subterranean pulled out all the stops - even printing it in mixed purple and black text. A short (120 pg) book, this is a quick read, but by no means a light one.

The novella takes place in a world vaguely analogous to the late Roman empire, although, like in The Company, world-building details are kept deliberately abstracted in favor of character-building. And, despite the short span of the book, there's plenty of character. An epistolary novel tough to write, but Parker manages to bring both letter-writers to life. The idealistic young Emperor Nico and his cynical friend Phormio are both astoundingly empathetic - all the more impressive as we only know them from their own words.

Nico has appointed his friend as General.
Read more ›
Comment 4 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This novella drilled into my mind an impression from which I cannot quickly shake. Although it mimes traditional fantasy, it stands on its own authenticity. People are drawn to power. Some seem to shy away from it, others reluctantly accept it, and others lust for it. At least that's the premise. I think we all lust for it, for better or worse. Perhaps it is best to put individual power in perspective and seek more important things in life. Better relationships with kin, or volunteerism, perhaps. I don't know.
Comment 2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book because I'd heard good things about the author, and was not disappointed.

The novella consists mostly of letters between two friends: one newly made Emperor, and the other out to quash a rebellion for him. It's a short book, but packs quite a punch; as with many epistolary novels, there's more unwritten than actually on the page, which makes for wonderfully thought-provoking reading. And unlike in most epistolary novels I've read, the letters here actually sound like letters that people might write to one another: there's not a lot of scene-setting, description, dialogue, or telling each other what they already know, which leaves us to fill in a lot of blanks.

Like many of my favorite books, this one is set in a secondary world, but without magic, dragons and so on. It focuses on political intrigue and the corrupting effects of power, and is predictably grim. The one problem I found was that the language felt perhaps too modern and slang-y for the (ambiguous, but certainly premodern) setting. Purple and Black is expensive (I was fortunate enough to find it at the library) but was certainly worth an evening of my time.
Comment 1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Another wonderful novella by the elusive K.J. Parker, he* (!) who is still not paid the appropriate attention and respect despite a considerable output of consistently high quality.
I like epistolary storytelling - dispatches in this case exchanged between the Vesani emperor Nicephorus V. and his old academy friend Phormio whom he sent to Upper Tremissis to deal with insurgents. I hate spoilers so no more of the story here.
It's a quick read, 1-2 hours with a satisfying end and yes, I would have liked another 50-100 pages but the story is told and doesn't need more pages.
It takes place in the same universe all of Parker's novels and stories are situated in, though Parker steps up the humour this time - just read the names of some of the characters out loud: Nicephorus, Tremissis, the Philagyrus Brothers, Perimadeia, you get the idea or (page 32) "it isn't exactly catapult science" as Parker puts it.

*Does anybody really think a woman could have written a sentence like this (page 67): "The bond between two people who share a common devotion to hardcore porn is unbreakable."
Comment 1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?