Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Blue and Gold” as Want to Read:
Blue and Gold
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Blue and Gold

(Saloninus #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  449 ratings  ·  76 reviews
'Well, let me see,' I said, as the innkeeper poured me a beer. 'In the morning I discovered the secret of changing base metal into gold. In the afternoon, I murdered my wife.'

For a man as remarkable as the philosopher Saloninus, just another day.

Of course, we only have his word for it, and Saloninus has been known to be creative with the truth. Little white lies are inevit
Hardcover, 99 pages
Published December 31st 2010 by Subterranean Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Blue and Gold, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Blue and Gold

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  449 ratings  ·  76 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Blue and Gold
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This novella turned out to be a ton of fun. I'm glad I gave K.J.Parker another chance as I've failed in the past with his début book and with a Tom Holt book I tried in my younger days. I'm usually a one flop and done sort of guy but this was just a novella and the blurb was really appealing. Lucky for me this story delivered on the promise of that awesome blurb!

“Well, let me see,” I said, as the innkeeper poured me a beer. “In the morning I discovered the secret of changing base metal into gol
Nov 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to unknown by: Liviu
This book is a joke.

No, really. I'm not being mean. K.J. Parker is just messing with you: this is a story told by an unreliable narrator who is upfront about being unreliable, and the entire narrative is just a setup for a punchline that doesn't arrive until you've read the final two words.

There's a really great first line:

"Well, let me see," I said, as the innkeeper poured me a beer. "In the morning I discovered the secret of changing base metal into gold. In the afternoon, I murdered my wife.
Manuel Antão
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Unreliability in Fiction: "Blue and Gold" by K. J. Parker

"The two predominant factors that make me up, philosophy and criminality, when combined, when combined together on the block of ice hat serves me for a personality go to make up alchemy.”

In “Blue and Gold” by K. J. Parker
Beep… -cking answering machines! Kevin… Kevin… Kevin, I know you’re there. With her probably, whoever she is – stupid cow. Listen Kevin, you actually
Althea Ann
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
KJ Parker revisited the character of Saloninus, introduced here, in 'The Devil You Know,' which I read a few months ago. I understand why - it's a great character! (Imagine if Leonardo da Vinci had been an amoral conman and alchemist?) If you've read either one, some of the details here will be familiar to you.I did think that 'The Devil You Know' was slightly better, but this one was great too.

KJ Parker's wry cynicism regarding human nature is on display in top form, in this story.
The narrator
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“In the morning I discovered the secret of changing base metal into gold. In the afternoon I murdered my wife.” Unmistakable mister Parker ;))

Just like in “The Two of Swords” he brings to life some hack of a character: “I’m Saloninus, by the way. And I tell lies, from time to time”.

Well, that ‘time to time’ is pretty relative. Up until the end you have no idea what is true or not. And even now that I finished it, I’m not quite sure he told the truth in the end. After all, Blue and Gold, Re
"Blue and Gold" is the short 100 page novel by KJ Parker tbp late 2010 (or novella - though like Purple and Black this one has a feeling of completeness while for example the excellent A Rich Full Week from the Swords/Dark magic anthology has the novella episodic feeling)

I actually read it several times to get all its nuances since it's packed with stuff whose true meaning becomes apparent only gradually; a first person narration from self-confessed unreliable narrator, philosopher, writer, crim
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Blue and Gold is my first full length (I use the term loosely as it is a novella) read from K.J. Parker (or Tom Holt for that matter). I have read one his shorts in the anthology Swords & Dark Magic, and really enjoyed it. And like that short, this is a clever and imaginative story.

The story is told by an unreliable narrator (he tells you he's not to be trust right from the beginning) from the first person view. Because of this, and despite a rather simple premise; a man on the run from the law
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novella
Parker is a genius. His books offer not only a clever, intelligent entertainment but also food for thought. Blue and Gold is a darkly humorous novella told by an unreliable narrator - Saloninus. He claims to be the greatest living alchemist who’s just poisoned his wife Eudoxia. He finds himself on the run from Paraprosdocia and justice, hampered by his lack of resources and a broad array of enemies.
I won’t call him a good guy, but Salonimus has plenty of charm and even when his actions and conf
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2016
4 Stars

"I’m Saloninus, by the way. And I tell lies, from time to time. Which goes to prove the old rule; never entirely trust a man who talks about himself in the third person."

Blue and Gold by K.J. Parker is the first in the Saloninus series. It is a whimsical fantasy about the world's greatest alchemist and probably also liar. This is a short and fun read about a likable asshole. Saloninus is quite unreliable...literally.

I love how the story was told, the way in which it unfoldes, the way the
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May the topic not be of the utmost interest for me, Parker's writing and the intricate layers sure made it a worth reading.
Kat  Hooper
May 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Talk about unreliable narrators! If you like that technique, you’re sure to enjoy K.J. Parker’s Blue and Gold. It’s a fast, intense, and dramatic little book that will entertain you for an afternoon.

Saloninus is probably the cleverest alchemist who ever lived (or is he?). After publishing several important (?) papers and losing his tuition money, he drops out of the university and begins a life of crime, then gets commissioned by the prince to figure out h
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Actual rating: 3.5

What a fun little read! For so short a story, it's really a testament to the author's skills as a writer to make such a likeable character in just under 100 pages. And I think this all works quite well as a novella, and makes me question why so many authors these days muddle down their works with overlong and overworked pages...

The only reason for such an average score is that I felt this story came off more as a sequel to another work. You're immediately thrown into the story
D.D. Price
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: novella, kj-parker
This book is a fun read. The only other book I’ve by Parker was the Folding Knife which I really liked. This novella is completely different and very funny, especially the way it starts out. But it’s funny in a very dark way. I imagine this is something more similar to what he writes as Tom Holt. It is only 99 pages so it is very short and light reading. I finished it in one day easily. If you want to get a feel for his style but don’t want to read a full length novel to start out then this woul ...more
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-ebook
Incredibly short novella that I fell right into from the first page. The story was drawn out beautifully, and I love my some anti-hero MCs.
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Characters 4*
Plot 4*
World building 2.5*

Total: 3.5*

An intriguing short story that was a good quick read. The writing style was a bit dense, but the concept was enjoyable.
Hayley Stone
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This novella was loaned to me by a friend, and I'm so pleased he recommended it. Blue and Gold has one of the best unreliable narrators I've ever read. It's a delightful, twisted tale that takes full advantage of its morally negligent characters, yet still has you somehow rooting for the main character to succeed (and this despite his untrustworthy personality). Parker's attention to detail is so thorough and realistic that it immediately pulls you into the world of Saloninus the alchemist, and ...more
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good novella. Parker's writing style is very good and entertaining. I got more quotes out of those 60 pages than I usually get out of whole huge novels. The main character, the unreliable first-person narrator, is quite interesting. Even though often done by many authors, Parker gives a fresh take on that style of narration. The plot is complex with lots of twists and surprises but it felt a bit fragmented at times. All in all, I recommend this novella and I definitely intend to ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Pretty good read, with some amusing lines.

Saloninus (who I actually read first about in the sequel) is really a remarkable character. He lives like a king, then lives like a beggar, it's a genius in a moment and a con artist in another, and so on.

Parker also summarizes very well, not an easy skill to develop. He also likes to portray the element of luck and chance in his stories, but I think on this one these elements went a bit too convenient in the character's favor, contrary to his other st
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
That's the funniest gem of a book I ever did read! I had to read it in a single sitting - there was just no way to put it down! My recommendation, get a nice comfy chair, your favorite beverage, and treat yourself to the hour or so needed to read Blue and Gold. Just wonderful!
Jenny T
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2020
Unreliable Narrators with Questionable Ethics are apparently my jam, because this was delectable. Our protagonist, alchemist Saloninus, outright admits that he's lying to us. But when? And what's he really like: cold or remorseful? Brilliant and confident or arrogant and lucky? And what were the real circumstances behind his wife's death?

This novella was short and sharp, just the way I like it!
Kelly Spoer
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cute little novella.

It's fantasy the way like Beowulf is fantasy. Or like King Arthur.
But, like, it's so D&D it hurts.
And I love it.
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, dark, 2017
Had this been the first thing I'd read by K.J. Parker, I might not have glommed on to him as an Author to Read like I have. Then again, the first thing I read by him -- The Last Witness -- may not have done it all by itself, either. It took me reading The Devil You Know to see how brilliant of a writer he is. It also helped that I had already read The Devil You Know, since Saloninus features in both stories, and since I already knew what happened when he murdered his wife, which is what happens ...more
Raf/ kittensparadise
9 out of 10⭐✨
Despite a short novella, this was a very enjoyable read.

Keywords: unreliable narrator, alchemy, morally grey, novella, fantasy, comedy

Blue and Gold tells a story about an alchemist named Saloninus, who is in the run after accidentally murdered his wife. It is written in first person point of view of him. But alas, he is not just an alchemist but also a conman and criminal, so we can't differentiate what are truths and not from what he tells us.

The main genre of this book is perh
“Blue and Gold” is the KJ Parker novel I would recommend to anybody.

Delightful, slim, great sense of humour, clever, wry without being bitter, sharp without being vicious, I defy anybody not to enjoy an evening with “Blue and Gold” and not come away grinning and thoroughly charmed.

The droll, matter-of-fact tone the narrator takes is instantly familiar to those who have read KJ’s other novels or stories. What is not familiar is the deftly playful, almost gentle mood of the tale.  

It took me very
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
KJ Parker up to her usual maliciously ingenious, funny and tragic tricks. Has one of the best opening paragraphs I can remember, as well as a main character who manages to be almost as an- as protagonist, and whom one really shouldn't sympathise with as much as one does.

A lot about lying and alchemy, and how the older, more spiritual view of physics might have had quite a lot to say about emotional metaphysics. Also to an extent about love, compulsion and blowing things up. As ever with Parker,
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
A picaresque novel vaguely set in some alien time and/or place, involving alchemy, scheming royalty, chases on foot and on horseback, murder, betrayal, and other sorts of villainy. Highly readable. The story doubtless appeals more to male than to female readers, as the main character is an ace alchemist but also a ruthless con artist whose major crime was killing his wife. Uxorcide is not generally an appealing character trait for women. Note: those bizarre, deranged individuals who send love le ...more
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a fun little novella with an unreliable narrator (my favorite). It also had the academic setting that I love, even though I'm pretty sure I don't want to be in academia myself. And it had a great hook.

My main disappointment was that it was only a novella. Even though it was short, the world felt fully fleshed out. I enjoyed the narration, but I never felt very connected with the main characters -- and that's probably because he wanted to keep the narration at arm's distance. (Really, ju
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting story -- even more interesting storytelling style. I hadn't known about the book or the author until the book showed up in my mailbox 2 days ago; I won it in a lottery conducted by author Patrick Rothfuss, in conjunction with his annual "Worldbuilders" fundraiser (which benefits Heifer International). I didn't expect to win, and Rothfuss was giving away a great number of books, so winning Parker's book was a pleasant surprise. I'm very happy that circumstance introduced me to it, as ...more
Jordan Frankel
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: k-j-parker
Loved it. My only complaint is that it is a novella, and I can't get enough Parker. Easily my favorite author (J.K. Rowling is excluded from that list).

Parker introduces a narrator that admits to lying to us. This was a new literary style for me, but I enjoyed it. You can't trust the Salonius, but you really want to!

As always, Parker tells it like it is and never sugar coats. The blunt relationships make you think about how you really feel about your own relationships.

Please read this and every
Stephen Poltz
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Blue and Gold has the most unreliable narrator I’ve ever read. And the narrator tells you on the second page that he lies. How much does he lie? A lot. So much so that it’s hard to tell when he’s telling the truth, if at all. It makes for an interesting and entertaining read. But in the end, you wonder if the point of the whole novella is that it’s a shaggy dog story. Well, the last sentence isn’t a pun, but it is the punchline.

Come visit my blog for the full review…
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Of Sorrow and Such
  • The Builders
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing
  • Witches of Lychford (Lychford, #1)
  • Passing Strange
  • A Taste of Honey (The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, #2)
  • The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps (The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, #1)
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary (Gemworld #1)
  • She Who Waits (Low Town, #3)
  • The Hunter (Parker, #1)
  • Forest of Memory
  • Winter Tide (The Innsmouth Legacy, #1)
  • River of Teeth (River of Teeth, #1)
  • The Long Firm (The Long Firm Trilogy #1)
  • The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections
  • The Devil in America
  • Nothing More Than Murder
  • Where Loyalties Lie (Best Laid Plans, #1)
See similar books…
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

Saloninus (2 books)
  • The Devil You Know

News & Interviews

Contemporary young adult literature has often led the way in depicting the real-life issues facing teens from all backgrounds. To delve into ho...
42 likes · 3 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“A wise man once said that any human being is capable of infinite achievement, so long as it’s not the work they’re supposed to be doing.” 19 likes
“It never ceases to amaze me how adaptable social geometry can be. Within a couple of days I went from being the centre of the circle to an indefinite point outside its circumference.” 3 likes
More quotes…