Do you know that difficult communion that occurs when the book you are reading fits your expectations so it seems that the author has expressly written it for you? That's what happened to me with the two novellas (a format I really enjoy) that I will discuss today written by KJ Parker (pseudonym of the writer Tom Holt).
The author's style is characterized by the use of first-person narrators, a sense of humor cynical and ironic that I like very much and by the use of dialogue as a strong point in the narrative. Dialogues that are usually witty and fun, that do not provoke laughter, but smiles of recognition.
The Devil you know is one of the last novellas published by Tor. They are making an interesting bet for this format and in their catalog are hidden little gems like this.
One of the brightest minds of mankind, the famous philosopher Salonicus, decides to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for rejuvenation and the possibility of getting all his wishes fulfilled through an intermediary of Hell. The story tells us the relationship between these two characters, alternating his point of view, while one tries to discover the intentions of the other and the other tries to hide them.
The plot is full of twists, and advances one surprise after another, as alternates the thoughts and reflections of each character in a battle of wits that reaches a very satisfying ending. I was delighted how the pieces finally fit.
With a similar style Downfall of the Gods (which will be published by Subterranean Press) it is also a highly recommended reading.
In this case there is only one narrator, one of the Goddesses of the Pantheon, whimsical, clueless, with very bad temper and not appreciated by his family.
The Goddess chooses not to forgive one of his believers, Lord Archias, because he has killed one of their favorite musicians. But his powerful father forces her to intercede, even the Gods must follow certain rules.
So the Goddess decides that Archias must undertake a long and hard journey to the realm of the dead, in which she will accompany him.
As the journey progresses we will discover the relationships between the different Gods and we will see the evolution in the mood of the unfortunate Archias, passing through indignation, resignation and acceptance in a hilarious sequence.
As a final conclusion I can only add that I want more, that the author becomes part of my personal top-ten writers who use humor as a resource and that I will be very aware of the following works of this fantastic English author.