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How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It (The Siege, #2)
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How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It

(The Siege #2)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,314 ratings  ·  207 reviews
This is the story of how the City was saved, by Notker the professional liar, written down because eventually the truth always seeps through.

The City may be under siege, but everyone still has to make a living. Take Notker, the acclaimed playwright, actor and impresario. Nobody works harder, even when he's not working. Thankfully, the good citizens of Classis appreciate an
Trade Paperback, First Edition, 354 pages
Published August 18th 2020 by Orbit
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Aidan No spoilers, but it's a direct sequel set seven years later in the same city, with a few overlapping characters.…moreNo spoilers, but it's a direct sequel set seven years later in the same city, with a few overlapping characters.(less)
Kim No, there are a few references to the first book but most characters are new. I had read the first book but more than one year ago and I didn't rememb…moreNo, there are a few references to the first book but most characters are new. I had read the first book but more than one year ago and I didn't remember any of the characters names. Recurring characters have quite small roles ultimately.
As for the storyline, I would say it's an independent story on itself.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Start your review of How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It (The Siege, #2)
This is the direct sequel (and most likely ending) of the series that started with Sixteen Ways to Defend a walled City, taking place some 7 years later.

It follows the pattern on the first book with a personal narration of the (anti)-hero of the book, a city boy from a Theme family who didn't like the casual violence his father, a minor Green boss, dealt to various violators of Theme rules, violence he witnessed from an early age as his father decided that training his son to be a Green boss ca
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Apr 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
“Best of luck with it,” he said, “but I don’t honestly think it’s for us, thanks all the same.”
“There’s a siege in it,” I told him. “And a love story.”
He hesitated. “Sieges are good,” he said. “Tell you what. Why don’t you go away and rewrite it with just the siege, and forget about the other stuff? Sieges are going down really well right now.”

The reason sieges are on everybody’s mind lately inside the City is the hundreds of thousands of Barbarians camped outside the gates who have been tryin
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don’t have to convince Parker’s fans to buy his books; they’ll do it anyway - even his weaker books beat most of the low fantasy published nowadays. How to Rule the Empire and Get Away With It is a loose sequel to Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, but it works as a standalone. And it’s great

Notker, a cynic, actor, and playwright has a knack for impersonating influential people. His acting skills and physique allow him to win the audience and make a living. Things get complicated when the e
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sixteen Ways to Defend a City was one of my favorite books of 2019. It was hilarious, clever and the main character had a completely unique voice. How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It is a brilliant sequel set 15 to 20 years later where our original protagonist has already been forgotten about and replaced in the people’s minds by his burly and heroic body guard Lysimachus, a far more suited and palatable savior for the commoners to worship and for the politicians to control than a simple ...more
K.J. Charles
Second book in this series about the siege of an alt-Byzantium, with once again a lying cheat finding himself in charge and turning out to be cleverer than everyone else as he weasels his way to save the city.

Very much the same strengths and weaknesses as the first. The politics and the siege details and the technicalities are all wonderful, plausible and interesting. The unreliable, shitty narrator is always good value, as is the world of untrustworthy people where most things go wrong. Howeve
kartik narayanan
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent sequel to the first one. I loved the first; I love the second even more.
Different cast but the characters are still as gripping as ever.
Zandt McCue
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In past reviews, I've tended to rate higher than I should have. In my last review, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars even though I spent most of the review nitpicking it and complaining about the need for an editor. I should've marked it as a 3 but the story and world that was built encouraged me to push past that edge. I have no reservations about this book being a solid 5.

Our story is set up right in the first chapter. Notker is a playwright and actor who is trying to shop his play around but nobody
Jun 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, fantasy, netgalley
Briefly - Hum... Maybe this is something of a "marmite" book. Comedy fantasy is not an easy genre and this one didn't really do it for me.

In full
The city has been under siege for years. Along comes Notker, sometime playwright, sometime actor, frequent liar and part time criminal. The Empire appears to need him for a new role whether he likes it or not. This then is Notker's story.

Maybe unsurprisingly Notker, a thespian, frequently addresses his audience - us the reader - while he is telling his
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, fantasy
Synopsis: Lights on, ready for stage, enter professional liar Notker in three acts of his drama to save the City. The Robur capital is in nearly the same situation seven years after it was defended by engineer Orhan (actually, I've read it just two days ago): surrounded by the enemy white-face army, live just goes on like nothing behind the thick walls. Notker writes theater plays, and people like this way of living, because nowhere else in the whole world is anything like Robur style theaters. ...more
Peter Tillman
Apr 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
A first-rate sequel to "Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City," which I liked a bit more. That one had an engineer for the hero, and a shocking ending. This one ends well, for the City and for Notker, the MC, a low actor and reluctant Emperor. Not that there isn't plenty of horrible stuff going on, but the horrors are peripheral. Mostly. And RULE has a slow start, which put me off to the point that I stalled for a day. When I came back, as Notker adjusts to becoming Emperor, I was happy.

OK, I've
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
*copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*

At this stage, my being enthusiastic about the latest K.J. Parker novel can’t be a surprise. And that streak is going to continue with How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It, which is equal parts social commentary, elaborate heist, and war story. It also has an extremely long title, but you can’t have everything - and as a sort-of sequel to the equally lengthily titled Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, it’s on-brand. And much like that book,
Manuel Antão
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Realizing the Potential in SF: "How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It" by K.J. Parker

SF novels aren't like life. They're an artifice. Nobody insists that in novels, people should say "umm" and "aah" all the time, or sit around picking their nose and making inane comments on this review published on this blog.

Back in the day I primarily read SF and it was sometime annoying how often it failed to follow a decent plot structure (alt
May 23, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: shelf-of-shame
If you ask me how disappointment looks like, I would throw this book in your face.

You're probably asking yourself, what could have caused such an outburst of violence in such a timid creature as me? Well, let me tell you. I loved the first book of this series. It went straight to my favourite shelf. Orhan was authentic, his actions made sense, he was an engineer. He won, because he used all his skills and failed, because of the skills he never could aquire in his life. Like showing emotions, or
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Parker does not disappoint! 5 ⭐️

My only gripe why does orbit publishes these books in the cheapest quality paperback format only :/ I would love a hardback copy for a re-read later on.
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. I’m in the KJ Parker fan club so I usually expect top class writing, and a story which has an offbeat journey on its way to the destination. Not disappointed here. This is one of my favourites by this author.

It’s the follow up to Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, and starts just a few years after that story concludes. While the previous story featured the first person narration of Orhan, the commander of an engineering regiment reluctantly defending the Empire’s capital against si
Jul 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
3.5 stars. Fun and witty, researched and clever. Book #1 is the novelty so don’t expect this one to exceed, but still, I truly appreciated Notker, Hodda and the finer humor of this installment.
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
There's a very old saying: when you're falling off a cliff, learn to fly.

Alas, this was over too soon! Loved it - an easy 5 stars from me.
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm convinced that Tom Holt is writing these for me, and I'd like to be his best friend. ...more
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Clever and fun- maybe not cleverer and funner than the first book but that’s alright!
Continuation of the story about the siege of the city told by a different character from an (obviously) different point of view. I really liked Orhan (from Siege #1) because he was a geek, and we kinda just clicked.
On the other hand, Notker (Siege #2 MC) was meh. He was an actor and playwright. And often got lost in philosophical musings.
Overall, I liked the Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City way better, and IMO the second book does not have to be read. I liked how it all ended in the first b
Di Maitland
3.5*s. The poorer cousin to Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City. Good, funny, but not as good, nor as funny. Full review to come. ...more
Ned Lud
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Razor-fucking-sharp! A class act.
Boulder Boulderson
Just like pretty much all of Parker's book, this is excellent. Really can't recommend his work highly enough - the imagination and wit of the stories is really top class, coupled with a reliably unreliable narrative voice, always makes for an excellent read. ...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jun 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It is a sequel to 16 Ways to Defend a Walled City, with the same sardonic wit.

Seven years on from the first book, the siege continues. Notker is a mediocre actor and playwright with a talent for political impersonations, when he gets dragged in the center of politics. The people's hero Lysimachus (gladiator and bodyguard from the first book) was crushed by an unfortunate catapult stone, and the ruling military junta needs a Lysimachus impersonator to keep
Tim Hicks
Feb 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
Entertaining and creative, often funny, always clever, good at satirizing how people, soldiers and politicians behave -- but in the end a bit disturbing.

Notker doesn't have much of a conscience, and in the end, when he (view spoiler), my whole view of the book changed. He had already shown me that soldiers are a disposable asset, and that rights etc. are only for HIS team. While he would risk everything to save HIS citizens, genocide wasn't a
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: n-3-2021, 2021
Great read! It did take some time to warm up to the story and the main character but then the book just flew by.

People impersonating others happen all the time. But genious actors impersonating national heroes to prevent their own nation from imploding and being more useful than the real hero ever was? Sign me in!

Even though it was 2 or 3 years since I read the first book, I perfectly remembered/understood the key references to it and the new situation. The writing is very solid and the dialogue
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2021
This is a fun, funny book - I didn't really remember the events of the first book, but that's not necessary. I also really appreciated how the author talked about needing to resolve the long-term issue of (view spoiler)

4/5 st
Belinda Lewis
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"But (he explained to me, when I objected) what the people want is something that looks at first sight like real life, but which actually turns out to be a fairy tale with virtue triumphant, evil utterly vanquished, a positive, uplifting message, a gutsy, kick-ass female lead and, if at all possible, unicorns". ...more
Unseen Library
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It from Hachette Australia to review.

Prepare to laugh like crazy with How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It by K. J. Parker, an intensely funny and clever fantasy read that was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020.

Several years after their home fell under a brutal and prolonged siege, the inhabitants of the City have settled into a new way of life. There may be a vast army camped on the plains outside and the occasional cat
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this novel from Orbit Books through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review: my thanks to both of them for this opportunity.

I enjoyed reading K.J. Parker’s Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, therefore I was very curious to see how the story would be carried forward with a new main character: from the very start Notker, the protagonist of this novel, spoke with a very unique, very entertaining voice and made this new sojourn in the city a delightful time.

The city is now in its s
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K.J. Parker is a pseudonym for Tom Holt.

According to the biographical notes in some of Parker's books, Parker has previously worked in law, journalism, and numismatics, and now writes and makes things out of wood and metal. It is also claimed that Parker is married to a solicitor and now lives in southern England. According to an autobiographical note, Parker was raised in rural Vermont, a lifest

Other books in the series

The Siege (3 books)
  • Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City (The Siege, #1)
  • A Practical Guide to Conquering the World (The Siege, #3)

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