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Inside Man

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K.J. Parker returns to the amoral world of Prosper's Demon with a wry, sardonic novella that flips the eternal, rule-governed battle between men and demons on its head. An anonymous representative of the Devil, once a high-ranking Duke of Hell and now a committed underachiever, has spent the last forever of an eternity leading a perfectly tedious existence distracting m K.J. Parker returns to the amoral world of Prosper's Demon with a wry, sardonic novella that flips the eternal, rule-governed battle between men and demons on its head. An anonymous representative of the Devil, once a high-ranking Duke of Hell and now a committed underachiever, has spent the last forever of an eternity leading a perfectly tedious existence distracting monks from their liturgical devotions. It’s interminable, but he prefers it that way, now that he’s been officially designated by Downstairs as “fragile.” No, he won’t elaborate. All that changes when he finds himself ensnared, along with a sadistic exorcist, in a labyrinthine plot to subvert the very nature of Good and Evil. In such a circumstance, sympathy for the Devil is practically inevitable.


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K.J. Parker returns to the amoral world of Prosper's Demon with a wry, sardonic novella that flips the eternal, rule-governed battle between men and demons on its head. An anonymous representative of the Devil, once a high-ranking Duke of Hell and now a committed underachiever, has spent the last forever of an eternity leading a perfectly tedious existence distracting m K.J. Parker returns to the amoral world of Prosper's Demon with a wry, sardonic novella that flips the eternal, rule-governed battle between men and demons on its head. An anonymous representative of the Devil, once a high-ranking Duke of Hell and now a committed underachiever, has spent the last forever of an eternity leading a perfectly tedious existence distracting monks from their liturgical devotions. It’s interminable, but he prefers it that way, now that he’s been officially designated by Downstairs as “fragile.” No, he won’t elaborate. All that changes when he finds himself ensnared, along with a sadistic exorcist, in a labyrinthine plot to subvert the very nature of Good and Evil. In such a circumstance, sympathy for the Devil is practically inevitable.

30 review for Inside Man

  1. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    #1) Prosper's Demon ★★★★★ "As if Deadpool had slipped into the body of the Witcher Geralt" me : *vibrating at a frequency that shatters glass* me : yeah i'm anticipating this a normal amount Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram #1) Prosper's Demon ★★★★★ "As if Deadpool had slipped into the body of the Witcher Geralt" me : *vibrating at a frequency that shatters glass* me : yeah i'm anticipating this a normal amount Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    "I distinctly remember telling them all, back in the day. It'll all end in tears, I told them. But they wouldn't listen, and they went ahead, and the rest is theology." I adored this. It's dripping with cheeky, snarky irreverence and I swear I couldn't stop giggling. Told from the POV of a minor demon in a "fragile" state, after a traumatic assignment of which we will not speak... It loosely ties into theology and history as we know it, yet departs enough that it feels both surprising and amusing "I distinctly remember telling them all, back in the day. It'll all end in tears, I told them. But they wouldn't listen, and they went ahead, and the rest is theology." I adored this. It's dripping with cheeky, snarky irreverence and I swear I couldn't stop giggling. Told from the POV of a minor demon in a "fragile" state, after a traumatic assignment of which we will not speak... It loosely ties into theology and history as we know it, yet departs enough that it feels both surprising and amusing. I loved everything from the minor nuisances and annoyances the demon so enthusiastically engenders while performing his assigned tasks, to the ridiculous bureaucracy and procedures he and his, um, colleagues are forced to operate by.

  3. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    KJ Parker getting closer to his Tom Holt persona here with a strong Good Omens flavour. Tale of exorcism told by a demon, very much about the Ineffable Plan, with a lot of excellent jokes to go with the Miltonic wrangling. A bit, oh, lightweight, which was obviously deliberate: it's an entertainment and I enjoyed it a lot. KJ Parker getting closer to his Tom Holt persona here with a strong Good Omens flavour. Tale of exorcism told by a demon, very much about the Ineffable Plan, with a lot of excellent jokes to go with the Miltonic wrangling. A bit, oh, lightweight, which was obviously deliberate: it's an entertainment and I enjoyed it a lot.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jayadev

    The sequel to Prosper's demon is told in the perspective of.... well... Prosper's Demon. An intriguing twist where the story follows from the point of view of the Demon instead of the exorcist or the victim. But this isn't just a story of a demonic possession, nor is it one following the rivalry between the Demon and the exorcist (both of which were the subjects in Prosper's Demon). We get more information about the working of demonkind, their nature, their hierarchy and their unending and unwinn The sequel to Prosper's demon is told in the perspective of.... well... Prosper's Demon. An intriguing twist where the story follows from the point of view of the Demon instead of the exorcist or the victim. But this isn't just a story of a demonic possession, nor is it one following the rivalry between the Demon and the exorcist (both of which were the subjects in Prosper's Demon). We get more information about the working of demonkind, their nature, their hierarchy and their unending and unwinnable "fight" against the host of heaven. Notions of free will, compassion and one's place in the cosmic order of things are also sprinkled in here and there. I'm quite surprised the author was able to include so much of this (along with a ton of worldbuilding) in such a short story, suffice to say I loved it more than the first book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    I’m fairly sure I’d enjoy reading a shopping list written by this author. But in the context of much of his excellent writing I was a little disappointed by this novella. It’s the follow up to Prosper's Demon which portrayed the life of an exorcist, and the professional familiarity that he could develop with the demons/devils he expelled from people, with wry humour and in the characteristic Parkeresque Medieval style world. In this novella roles are reversed and we see things from the point of v I’m fairly sure I’d enjoy reading a shopping list written by this author. But in the context of much of his excellent writing I was a little disappointed by this novella. It’s the follow up to Prosper's Demon which portrayed the life of an exorcist, and the professional familiarity that he could develop with the demons/devils he expelled from people, with wry humour and in the characteristic Parkeresque Medieval style world. In this novella roles are reversed and we see things from the point of view of the demons or devils! I could explain the plot in detail and you’d still be missing much of the content which is concerned with amusing theological musings on the relationship between good and evil. Sounds a bit heavyweight but I’d say it was more in the style of Terry Pratchett than anything from a college philosophy department. Not an insult at all to the author, as many of his earlier works (under the Tom Holt name) were in that comedic style and Sir Terry is a literary saint as far as I’m concerned. Much of the story considers the dependency on each other of the forces of good and evil - if you create light, you create darkness at the same time, etc. A jokey twist involves the possibility that they might actually have to cooperate for once in the face of a new problem. In the context of much of the fantasy I read this novella was clever, amusing and entertaining but in comparison to the author’s other works, and even the preceding Prosper's Demon, I’m afraid it rates only a 3.5* for me…

  6. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

    Like the other novellas/shorts with an immortal demon as the main character, this one is funny, darkly ironic, but also touching upon serious issues from what it means to be omniscient, what is free will, evil etc; not to be missed for both fans of the author but also for a good introduction to his style; while related with other works (and with allusions at pretty much all his fantasy oeuvre), the novella is independent;

  7. 5 out of 5

    Micah Hall

    3.5/5 As always, KJ Parker can be counted on to make me smile with his witty, wry humor and interest in dabbling here and there with philosophy. This was a quick diversion and one I was happy to consume but unfortunately it doesn't quite reach the heights of some of his other works. The story felt a bit more thin than the previous installment and bit too much is going on in terms of gags. I will say, the world remains interesting and it's always a pleasure to get something from Parker. It was a ni 3.5/5 As always, KJ Parker can be counted on to make me smile with his witty, wry humor and interest in dabbling here and there with philosophy. This was a quick diversion and one I was happy to consume but unfortunately it doesn't quite reach the heights of some of his other works. The story felt a bit more thin than the previous installment and bit too much is going on in terms of gags. I will say, the world remains interesting and it's always a pleasure to get something from Parker. It was a nice appetizer to his longer works and certainly pacey.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Not as good as it's partner work "Prosper's Demon" but this one did have a double twist on the title and that was cool. This story is told from the perspective of a demon (like a literal religious demon) whose job it is to disrupt monks at their prayers so that the prayer is ineffective. He tells of the many ways in which it is done and then his own ingenious way to do the job. And it's considered a job just like we have jobs. He has a superior to report to and if he doesn't do his job well he g Not as good as it's partner work "Prosper's Demon" but this one did have a double twist on the title and that was cool. This story is told from the perspective of a demon (like a literal religious demon) whose job it is to disrupt monks at their prayers so that the prayer is ineffective. He tells of the many ways in which it is done and then his own ingenious way to do the job. And it's considered a job just like we have jobs. He has a superior to report to and if he doesn't do his job well he gets punished in some way, usually by getting crap jobs or sent down to work a desk. There is some background that needs to be covered before we get to the main focus of the story, where our MC learns he has to collaborate with an enemy (human exorcists who can talk to the demons and scare them out of people by threatening them with pain) and not just any enemy but the bane of his existence. Or you could say that each is the bane of the other's existence. Anyway they have to come together for the greater good of the Plan. And then it all goes to crap. Not his best so I give it 3 stars but it's K. J. Parker so really it should get more stars if you compare it to other books but I usually compare his books to his other books when giving out stars. Everyone has their own way of measuring stars' worth and comparison to other books, but that's how I do it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    I don’t think this novella lived up to the cover promise of “As if Deadpool had slipped into the body of the Witcher Geralt” but it was a fun read with Pratchett-y Good Omens vibes. It did make me want to read Prosper’s Demon though.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cole

    Read this review and many more at The Quill To Live. “As if Deadpool had slipped into the body of the Witcher Geralt,” reads the NYT book review of K.J. Parker’s Propser’s Demon. And the NYT is mostly correct in that description. We reviewed (and unilaterally enjoyed) Prosper’s Demon last year, going so far as to give the novella a perfect 10. Prosper’s Demon earned the perfect score–there was nothing amiss, no extra fat. Just a story told in exactly the number of words Parker needed. Inside Man, Read this review and many more at The Quill To Live. “As if Deadpool had slipped into the body of the Witcher Geralt,” reads the NYT book review of K.J. Parker’s Propser’s Demon. And the NYT is mostly correct in that description. We reviewed (and unilaterally enjoyed) Prosper’s Demon last year, going so far as to give the novella a perfect 10. Prosper’s Demon earned the perfect score–there was nothing amiss, no extra fat. Just a story told in exactly the number of words Parker needed. Inside Man, the sequel novella, echoes some of the deranged wonderment found in Prosper’s Demon, though it fumbles the hand-off in some ways. Our exorcist friend from the first book returns, though he’s no longer the POV character in Inside Man. Instead, we’re treated to the perspective of a “fragile” demon sentenced to interrupt the prayers of monks and make them question their faith. But when the corporate-esque powers that be need a demon to work with the famed exorcist in pursuit of the mysterious and vague capital-P “Plan,” our nameless demon friend is the perfect fit for the job. Much like in Prosper’s, Parker’s prose is still delectable. The demon’s thoughts and descriptions of his existence (he is immortal but can be made to feel immensely excruciating pain; all of his body parts are hilariously “metaphorical”) serve pithy passages that summon the occasional smile or chuckle. Descriptions are punchy, pacing is fast, and Parker is here to get things done. Frankly, Parker’s prose is just plain fun to read. The exquisite prose leads to more plain fun from the nameless characters that make up the cast. The exorcist is as terrible and oxymoronically lovable as ever, and the addition of a demonic perspective adds flavorful characterization that Prosper’s hinted at. Inside Man executes on the promise and gives readers a real treat in the form of a hellspawn deemed fragile who has to find his way in a predetermined “Plan.” These characters offer more chutzpah than a cavalcade of cookie-cutter fantasy competitors. Despite being nameless, these characters’ identities shine through dialogue, inner thoughts, and interactions with the world. Who needs a name when you’re up to some demonic tomfoolery? Glorious prose: check. Wonderful characters: check. Plot: ehhhhhhhh. There’s probably a whole host of smarter readers out there really enjoying this book’s narrative. But for me, it didn’t *click.* Prosper’s Demon boasted a tight, focused story with a clear dilemma for the exorcist and a satisfying outcome. The story was contained, and Parker understood its scope well enough to tell the tale in a diminutive page count. Inside Man, on the other hand, attempts a larger-scale narrative with a scant 20-page advantage over the prequel. In the midst of the engaging prose, I had to stop and ask myself “What the (literal) hell is happening here?” To be fair, even the main character is confused as he tries to parse out who’s pulling which strings. It’s all fine and dandy until the world bursts wide open to encompass warring countries. I know the exorcist and our demon “protagonist” get involved in these affairs, but by the time the novella ended I scratched my head in confusion. Inside Man struggles to expand its world because it doesn’t need to. Instead of a contained and supremely entertaining quickfire tale, the novella introduces too many concepts at once, leaving a little to be desired. One fact remains, though: K.J. Parker has writing chops, and they enjoy the spotlight in Inside Man. Even if you struggle with the plot as I did, there’s still much demonic goodness to chew on here, and the 126 page count makes it a cautiously recommendable follow-up to Prosper’s Demon.

  11. 5 out of 5

    elif

    Still the same wit that carried so much of Prosper's Demon, with the crucial difference that this narrator is more contemplative, so the ~meh pacing issues that plagued the last one isn't as noticeable here. Even a proper lack of climax didn't stop me from appreciating it less. Really good stuff, really entertaining, and I would not mind more novellas set in this verse at all honestly. Still the same wit that carried so much of Prosper's Demon, with the crucial difference that this narrator is more contemplative, so the ~meh pacing issues that plagued the last one isn't as noticeable here. Even a proper lack of climax didn't stop me from appreciating it less. Really good stuff, really entertaining, and I would not mind more novellas set in this verse at all honestly.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ned Lud

    A satisfying teaser until November.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Munjiru

    A romp but Prosper’s Demon is still my favorite.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality I picked up Inside Man because I was tempted by Prosper’s Demon. No seriously. I wanted to read this book because I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first book in what I really didn’t expect to be a series that seems to have begun anyway with Prosper’s Demon. This series is set in an alternate universe to our own, in an era that is more-or-less like our Renaissance but isn’t exactly – because it isn’t exactly our world. It is, however, a world where the Originally published at Reading Reality I picked up Inside Man because I was tempted by Prosper’s Demon. No seriously. I wanted to read this book because I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first book in what I really didn’t expect to be a series that seems to have begun anyway with Prosper’s Demon. This series is set in an alternate universe to our own, in an era that is more-or-less like our Renaissance but isn’t exactly – because it isn’t exactly our world. It is, however, a world where the angels and demons that people believed in during the Renaissance in our own world – and that many still believe in to this day – are quite, quite real. And are competing for the souls of, well, pretty much everyone. The story in Prosper’s Demon turned out to be a kind of “greater good” story, where the definition of “good” and “evil” really did depend on where you happened to be sitting. Particularly on whether you happened to be the demon living inside Prosper giving him the genius to be his world’s da Vinci, or whether you happened to be the demon-extractor who was supposed to remove the demon if it killed Prosper. And especially even if removing the demon removed Prosper’s genius, which it certainly would, making him normal and depriving his world of everything their da Vinci equivalent would produce in his lifetime. The story in Inside Man is quite a bit different, and it didn’t work quite as well, at least not for this reader. Even though its combination of Good Omens with The Screwtape Letters was kind of inspired. There were points where I had to double check to be sure that I hadn’t accidentally downloaded The Screwtape Letters instead. If you’re not familiar, Screwtape is a senior demon straight out of the mind of C.S. Lewis – and dedicated to his good friend J.R.R. Tolkien, which I how I first made Screwtape’s acquaintance. The book consists of a series of letters from Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, a Junior Tempter. Screwtape is giving Wormwood pointers on the best methods for tempting humans to sell their souls to the devil. While the whole thing addresses the Christian theological issues that Lewis wrestled with for a significant chunk of his life, the letters themselves are wry, frequently humorous, and have a lot of very true things to say about human nature. The story in Inside Man does invoke the same kind of “sympathy for the devil” that Screwtape did, but the story feels like it owes a lot more to Good Omens than even it’s predecessor did. Or at least to that part of Good Omens that illustrated the concept that angels and demons have more in common with each other than either of them do with their respective “head offices” back home – whether home is above or below. Inside Man also plays, and plays hard, with another bit from Good Omens – the bit where both Crowley and Aziraphale find themselves questioning whether either Heaven or Hell really has that ineffable plan that they keep proclaiming they do. And just like in Good Omens, the demon protagonist of Inside Man figures out that they don’t. Have a plan, that is. But he does. Escape Rating B-: I loved Prosper’s Demon so I expected to love Inside Man and I was disappointed that I didn’t. Although Prosper borrowed bits from Good Omens, it really did take them in its own direction. It also worked well that the human whose soul is being contested, while he isn’t exactly Leonardo da Vinci, was close enough to da Vinci to ground the story in a sense of the real. We could appreciate the consequences of the demon vs. demon-extractor debate because we had a pretty clear picture of what those consequences would be. Leonardo da Vinci, any version of da Vinci, would be sorely missed in any world where he existed. Inside Man made the not-our-world setting more obvious and a bit harder to get past – or perhaps into – by not giving us as clear a frame of reference. Meanwhile, the whole concept of “The Plan” and the lack thereof felt like it borrowed too heavily from Good Omens without giving us Crowley and Aziraphale to root for. On my third hand, Inside Man is really, really short. I didn’t have any problems finishing it. I just kept wishing it was as good as its predecessor.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hicks

    I liked #1 well enough, but this one didn't work for me. Didn't break any ground that Good Omens hasn't already broken, and by the end I just wanted it to be over - after just 100-and-some pages. In the great baseball game of Parker, this is a foul ball. I liked #1 well enough, but this one didn't work for me. Didn't break any ground that Good Omens hasn't already broken, and by the end I just wanted it to be over - after just 100-and-some pages. In the great baseball game of Parker, this is a foul ball.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    This one took me a moment to review. On one hand, I liked the main POV more than the first book. Not sure what that says about me, but there it is. On the other hand I didn't like the plot as much as Prosper's Demon. It was slower and wasn't as interesting to me. I kinda struggled through parts of this, to be honest. This one took me a moment to review. On one hand, I liked the main POV more than the first book. Not sure what that says about me, but there it is. On the other hand I didn't like the plot as much as Prosper's Demon. It was slower and wasn't as interesting to me. I kinda struggled through parts of this, to be honest.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    I loved it. Getting a view from the other side so to say is always refreshing and when as funny and interesting as this it's a real treat. I loved it. Getting a view from the other side so to say is always refreshing and when as funny and interesting as this it's a real treat.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    3.5 stars

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Marie

    I really love KJ Parker's writing style, and the world they've built in this series of novellas, but I felt like this one was weaker than the first. Probably closer to a 3.5 star read. I really love KJ Parker's writing style, and the world they've built in this series of novellas, but I felt like this one was weaker than the first. Probably closer to a 3.5 star read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy N.

    Not nearly as good as the first one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matie *Cat Lady*

    3 to 3.5 stars Well, this was just as mean as Prosper's Demon, if more depressing. Some of the jokes were rather funny, some were just not it (I don't care if a demonic entity in an humanoid body composed of flies tells them, I can't laugh about these old "I hate my wife" etc jokes). Loved Brother Eusebius. 3 to 3.5 stars Well, this was just as mean as Prosper's Demon, if more depressing. Some of the jokes were rather funny, some were just not it (I don't care if a demonic entity in an humanoid body composed of flies tells them, I can't laugh about these old "I hate my wife" etc jokes). Loved Brother Eusebius.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brandi

    What a tough one to rate... maybe 3.5 stars? The story isn't as strong as Prosper's Demon but had some interesting philosophical takes, especially about fighting back despite the certainty of defeat. What a tough one to rate... maybe 3.5 stars? The story isn't as strong as Prosper's Demon but had some interesting philosophical takes, especially about fighting back despite the certainty of defeat.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lizy

    Inside Man is the quirkily theological chess match I've been waiting for ever since finishing its predecessor, Prosper's Demon. It's complex yet bite sized and deep yet amusing. Highly recommend. Inside Man is the quirkily theological chess match I've been waiting for ever since finishing its predecessor, Prosper's Demon. It's complex yet bite sized and deep yet amusing. Highly recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sally the Salamander

    This was a really, really hard one for me to rate. There were aspects of this that I enjoyed more than Prosper's Demon. The buddy cop element with our still-nameless exorcist and our nameless demon. The snark and comedy has been dialed up significantly, and I think I enjoy this demon as a narrator even more than the exorcist. This portrayal of hell as a sprawling, inefficient, indifferent corporation of sorts was nice. And I felt like overall this story had more narrative drive and tension than P This was a really, really hard one for me to rate. There were aspects of this that I enjoyed more than Prosper's Demon. The buddy cop element with our still-nameless exorcist and our nameless demon. The snark and comedy has been dialed up significantly, and I think I enjoy this demon as a narrator even more than the exorcist. This portrayal of hell as a sprawling, inefficient, indifferent corporation of sorts was nice. And I felt like overall this story had more narrative drive and tension than Proser's Demon. I was on track to enjoy this even more than PD, but unfortunately I think things got out of control in the last quarter of the story. Which is really glaring in such a tight, fast-paced pair of novellas. PD ends on a twist, one that is surprising and morally appalling (depending on your viewpoint) and quite callous, but which is a triumphant moment for our narrator exorcist. He comes out on top, he outsmarts his opponent. Not so in Inside Man. Things just sort of stutter and stop to an emotionally unsatisfying close, with plot holes remaining and narrative threads just snapped off. EVERYTHING BELOW THIS IS RIDDLED WITH SPOILERS Our nameless demon and our nameless exorcist must form an uneasy truce in order to stop a chain of events that threatens to derail The Plan, something that both sides have an interest in preserving. They begin to work together a little better, begin to trust each other a tiny bit more. They rely on each other further when it is discovered that another demon is meddling in their mission. You might think this is going somewhere interesting. The tension rises when our nameless exorcist is killed in a confrontation with this meddling demon, even though directly killing a human is strictly forbidden and even though killing an exorcist is doubly forbidden and even though killing an exorcist while they are out of their body is triple forbidden. And the omniscient God will see this. What will happen?? Gasp, our nameless demon sees the exorcist's soul buzzing by his face and grabs it. What now?? Oh, he's ganged up on and forced to crush the soul right after that. Ok, so the nameless exorcist has been zapped from existence. What will God do? Oh, nothing. He's too overwhelmed with everything else going on in the world to notice. Ok. How does the nameless demon feel? He's a little upset but gets over it. Soon after the exorcist's death, it's revealed that Michael, as in the Archangel Michael, is the "inside man" feeding the demon resistance information about The Plan so they can throw wrenches into it whenever possible. Because the demon resistance is still alive and well, even though they know that God will ultimately win the war. Why are they resisting? Unclear. They just don't like God calling the shots, I guess. Oh, and Michael killed this priest the demon had been going to for advice so that those talks would stop. Our demon doesn't care much. While Proser's Demon was a bit vague on the religion, it had some Christian elements but overall Parker didn't get too into the nitty gritty of the world's belief system. It's monotheistic, there was something akin to a Great Fall, and there are angels and demons. All that matters is that our narrator is an exorcist who removes demons from hosts by metaphysically entering the host body to give the demon a good thrashing. Inside Man gets a lot more detailed, and the result is that this belief system is really just Christianity but with that "what if demons aren't all bad and God is an overwhelmed jerk and the Master Plan is flawed and some angels are getting fed up with God's bs" kind of slant that we frankly have seen a lot of already. Two notable examples that come to mind right away are CW's Supernatural and Gaimain/Pratchett's Good Omens. While I don't necessarily have a problem with this framework, I don't find it inherently funny or interesting. The end result of all this is that both people our nameless demon had started to form a vague acquaintanceship with are unceremoniously killed, he returns to his usual duties with the knowledge that he might be called upon to carry out some BS mission for the resistance at any point, nobody is held to account for what happened because it slipped God's notice, and he's just kind of cool with it. The final line is something like, "with enemies like mine, who needs friends?" I can appreciate the sentiment, but I don't understand why our nameless demon is cool with this. I don't understand the need for a demon resistance, and I hate when character development is ripped away for a gotcha ending.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    1.5 rounded up to 2 I don't think I'd want to be a human, somehow; you people never seem to have got the knack of looking out for each other. Setting: The setting here is something akin to renaissance era Europe. The most important part of the work to understand is how demons and exorcists work. There are demons who go around possessing people and doing demony things. Rarely humans will be born with the capacity to see, talk to, and magically interact with these demons. These people are recruited t 1.5 rounded up to 2 I don't think I'd want to be a human, somehow; you people never seem to have got the knack of looking out for each other. Setting: The setting here is something akin to renaissance era Europe. The most important part of the work to understand is how demons and exorcists work. There are demons who go around possessing people and doing demony things. Rarely humans will be born with the capacity to see, talk to, and magically interact with these demons. These people are recruited to help combat the demons. Character: Narrator: Our main character is the demon we got to know in the previous book. As before, our narrator remains nameless. For being an eternal being literally from the pits of hell, he’s a real whiny sad sack. Plot: After the severe damage our demon narrator suffered in the previous volume he’s been demoted to an easy job in deference to his fragile state. Unfortunately, such things cannot last and he is inevitably pulled back into the high stakes game of Good and Evil. My Thoughts: Despite being a novella this still manages to feel somewhat overlong. This is largely due to the fact that the first half of its page count is more or less just the main character lamenting his poor situation at length. Yes he has undergone a great deal of pain and trauma, but there’s something particularly disagreeable about imagining an immortal force of capital E Evil crying in the corner because the bully beat him up. The demon is in a fragile state? The demon? The immortal timeless being from a realm of infinite suffering and despair? He’s had a bit of a rough go lately? How it tugs at the heartstrings. One could burst into tears simply thinking such things. When things finally do start moving they are somewhat muddled to the point of being confusing. There’s a plan but some people aren’t going along with the plan. There’s something else going on too and nobody wants to talk about any of it all. On the whole it’s a rather disappointing follow up to the truly exceptional Prosper’s Demon.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mademoiselle Luz

    2.5 stars - This is the fourth story by K. J. Parker that I've read and let me tell you : that man has a huge problem with female characters. As in, there are none in this book. There is not one single woman in all this story. Not even in the background. Which is strange as half of the characters are not even human. But apparently, demons and angels are all male. And so is God. And I know the story takes place in a pseudo european renaissance setting, but, come on ! That is not an excuse for such 2.5 stars - This is the fourth story by K. J. Parker that I've read and let me tell you : that man has a huge problem with female characters. As in, there are none in this book. There is not one single woman in all this story. Not even in the background. Which is strange as half of the characters are not even human. But apparently, demons and angels are all male. And so is God. And I know the story takes place in a pseudo european renaissance setting, but, come on ! That is not an excuse for such a phallocratic view of religion and society. And it's the case in all the books by this author that I've read. Women are viewed as literary means exclusively. They're always dismissed as tools to serve the male protagonist story, and rarely have any direct influence on the action. They rarely even talk. They're mostly in the background, doing womanly things, aka being some man's mother, sister, daughter or love interest (The Last Witness). Oh, I almost forgot : whores. Women can be whores (The Devil You Know). Honestly, the more books I read by this author, the more disapointed I am. And it all begun so well : I loved Prosper's Demon. Not many women in it, but it's a novella, so I honestly didn't pay much attention. Now I know it wasn't specific to this story : it's specific to this author. Apparently, K. J. Parker is the "female pseudonym" that Tom Holt used for more than a decade without people knowing it was him. Well, I hope there are more, better treated female characters in his other books by this name, or I don't know how people could believe they were written by a woman...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alisha Nagpal

    Inside man by K.J. Parker Rating : 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 I loved this book even more than the previous one. This book, if possible is chock full of witty sarcasm with an irreverent dose of cheeky, dry humour that will have you chuckling through out this book. This book is told from the perspective of the demon, but it’s not about the characters from the first book. This is from the perspective of a demon, who is…well, simply put from the bottom of the chain of command, and is in a “fragile” state of mind. There Inside man by K.J. Parker Rating : 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 I loved this book even more than the previous one. This book, if possible is chock full of witty sarcasm with an irreverent dose of cheeky, dry humour that will have you chuckling through out this book. This book is told from the perspective of the demon, but it’s not about the characters from the first book. This is from the perspective of a demon, who is…well, simply put from the bottom of the chain of command, and is in a “fragile” state of mind. There is so much world building in this book, that frankly put I am impressed. We get to know about the constant war between the good and the evil. There is history, there is theology, there is bureaucracy, there is exorcism and so much more. — (From the book, not exactly by quote) He said: “Let there be light”, He never said: “Let there be darkness”, but let me tell you, it was heavily implied. “The nasty-nice dichotomy is, of course, a policy issue and way above my pay grade. I’m only obeying orders.” “The prime directive of our order and Rule Number One: First, do no harm. If that sounds vaguely familiar to you, by the way, I’m not surprised. Your lot stole it from us, a long time ago.” Excerpt From Inside Man K. J. Parker — I truly did not expect the end, you think you know where it’s going, but trust me you don’t. Give it a try. This book will make you fall in love. I, for one, am going to devour more of the books from this author.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

    "A wise man, probably Saloninus, once said that the beating of the heart, the action of the lungs, is a useful prevarication, keeping all options open. While there's life, at the very least there's being here, even if here is a shitheap. Not being here, even in a shitheap, is nothing at all." A devilishly cynical and fun read. K.J. Parker humorously sketches a mocking caricature of the human condition, its relationship with theology and, of course, the insufferable omnipresence of bureaucracy. Do "A wise man, probably Saloninus, once said that the beating of the heart, the action of the lungs, is a useful prevarication, keeping all options open. While there's life, at the very least there's being here, even if here is a shitheap. Not being here, even in a shitheap, is nothing at all." A devilishly cynical and fun read. K.J. Parker humorously sketches a mocking caricature of the human condition, its relationship with theology and, of course, the insufferable omnipresence of bureaucracy. Don't let the length fool you, this novella is densely packed with witty dialogue and a variety of themes. After reading its predecessor, Prosper's Demon (which I recommend to read before Inside Man), I already had high expectations, but I'm happy to report that I was not disappointed in the slightest. Just read it :)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    Here's another short, funny, sarcastic and twisty Parker tale of the alternate Renaissance period where scheming con men (i.e., Saloninus) remake the world while accidentally writing the world's great literature in order to make a buck. However, in this book Saloninus makes only a cameo appearance (he's dead), while the first-person narrator is the demon from the book “Prosper's Demon”. Events in that book have led to a demotion, and the demon is whiling away time trying to get monks to break th Here's another short, funny, sarcastic and twisty Parker tale of the alternate Renaissance period where scheming con men (i.e., Saloninus) remake the world while accidentally writing the world's great literature in order to make a buck. However, in this book Saloninus makes only a cameo appearance (he's dead), while the first-person narrator is the demon from the book “Prosper's Demon”. Events in that book have led to a demotion, and the demon is whiling away time trying to get monks to break their concentration while praying. This mundane task is interrupted when Division HQ assigns him a new task that involves an exorcist who really, really, REALLY hates demons and can't be beaten. Or can he? The dialogue is snappy, the twists are engaging, and Parker fans will spend a couple of fun hours with this novella.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chhavi

    Droll and clever; I loved this and while reading I kept comparing the wit and bite of the character's voice to previous authors. So the spoiler and big reveal about the other name Parker writes under seemed almost as big a deal as the actual novella! I enjoyed that surprise as much as I appreciated all the humourous and endearing elements of the story. I mean all of the wisdom of Salonius, channeling the bard, the Book and pop songs, was fabulous. And the names of the regiments (Michael's 16th a Droll and clever; I loved this and while reading I kept comparing the wit and bite of the character's voice to previous authors. So the spoiler and big reveal about the other name Parker writes under seemed almost as big a deal as the actual novella! I enjoyed that surprise as much as I appreciated all the humourous and endearing elements of the story. I mean all of the wisdom of Salonius, channeling the bard, the Book and pop songs, was fabulous. And the names of the regiments (Michael's 16th airborne, Raphael's 9th armoured) ... I just know Parker was having so much fun with this. All the stars.

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