- File Size: 242 KB
- Print Length: 54 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Umberland Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2015)
- Publication Date: January 1, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00RPHN2LU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,356 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$2.99|
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The Killing Knife (A Tale of the Assassin Without a Name #1 - 3) Kindle Edition
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The nameless assassin lives in a fantasy world that reminded me a little of those described in Game of Thrones, particularly the lands of Pentos, Bravos, etc, over the seas. This is not to say it is in any way a copy of such; I mention this just to give an indication of the type of location. For those unfamiliar with Game of Thrones, think a combination of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves mixed with ancient Rome, perhaps!
I liked the structure of this book. The Killing Knife is actually three stories in one, all linked, as are other installments in the series, also available. I thought the beginning was excellent, and liked the first, short story the best, though they are all well written, intelligent and amusing. The nameless assassin is an oddly endearing sociopath, I suppose; the way in which he considers himself apart from and superior to most other beings is artfully illustrated. The only time he shows a little emotional connection and vulnerability is when he is in the vicinity of Liz, his former lover and some time partner in crime.
Marlow is a talented writer who clearly understands how to hold the reader's attention, and I would recommend this to anyone who likes tales of fearless, alpha male type adventurers told with a smooth wit.
But really, my favorite character trope is the hitman-with-a-code. He’s the best killer out there, a super-ninja who always gets his target, only he has a moral compass that won’t let him hurt kids/dogs/Mamas. And there are just so many of them out there, it’s a wonder anyone gets assassinated at all. We’re talking every killer-wannabe from the huntsman who couldn’t kill Snow White to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In Grosse Pointe Blank, he’s the hitman who spurns the French government’s contract to blow up a Greenpeace vessel with the line, “No way—I have scruples.” In Terry Pratchett’s Diskworld, it’s any member of the Assassins’ Guild, whose motto is “Nil Mortifi Sine Lucre” (“No killing without profit”) but whose members are not allowed to kill the defenseless. (Dr. Cruces: “No, we do it for the money. And, because we above all must know the value of a human life, we do it for a great deal of money.”)
Lucky for me, now there’s Scott Marlow’s Assassin Without a Name, the antihero of The Killing Knife. When we meet our nameless protagonist, he’s in the middle of an ordinary work day—just wondering why it’s taking so long for his intended victim to get on with the dying. Fine Wine, the first story in the anthology, is little more than an introduction to the Assassin’s world. The killer-for-hire is not, he assures himself, a monster. Sure, he’ll still kill his victim, and he’ll still refuse the offer of a bribe because he’s already been paid—but after he makes the gut-eviscerating cut his employer requested he will add a subtle “mercy” cut to end the victim’s suffering. That’s Moral Code, baby. The amusing part comes when our noble assassin is offered a bribe he can’t refuse: a five-year supply of the intended victim’s incredible syrah wine, a victory over both the moral and business scruples of the killer.
In the next two stories, the Assassin Without a Name reveals further signs of a moral compass in direct opposition to his business priorities. While he does manage to kill both living and already-dead in Killing the Dead, the assassin finds himself seeking reassurance from one of the clerics that even one such as he could seek absolution--
“As a holy servant of my god and church,” Father Kem said, “my word is always representative of…” He stopped, sparing me the remainder of his practiced doctrine. Then he sighed. “The church oftentimes takes a hard stance against men such as yourself. But my own thoughts… I think all men deserve a chance to make amends.”
It was enough for me.
Scott Marlowe just plain gets it. Nobody wants to read about an assassin who questions his work, or who has moments of weakness. So these are for the most part, tiny blips on the radar of an accomplished professional killer. “They almost had me; in a fair fight, I’d be dead. But I never fight fair…” In the end, despite (possibly) saving the world, and (probably) saving the girl in Night of Zealotry, he remains comfortable in the skin of the killer. “I make no excuses regarding my love for wine; it may very well be my only vice. Killing people? That’s not a vice. Not for me anyway. It’s just what I do.”
If you’re looking for a complex novel with deep thematic threads, The Killing Knife isn’t the book for you. But if you’re up for a collection of fast-paced, tightly crafted little rollercoaster miniatures with plenty of snarky humor, then these stories are guaranteed to entertain. I’d give them four stars and a plea to Scott Marlowe to give this engaging killer a full-length novel to play in. He nails the hitman-with-a-code trope, and makes it his own.
With The Killing Knife, Scott Marlowe has created a thrilling compilation of the three first tales about the Assassin Without a Name in the series. The Killing Knife comprises three different stories, each gripping in its own way. You get to know the assassin without a name better and better with each story. The Assassin Without a Name is quite a character and I held my breath along the way. I was drawn into the story - hoping to not become his next killing order. This is for you if you like fantasy, crime and - do not object to admitting that a killer can seem like quite a nice guy. ;-)
The World of Uhl is addictive! :-D