|The Proof House|
Date: May, 2003 — $8.99 — Book
Okay, Evil Rob is right. The Loredans are completely and utterly psycho. What's worse is that they are in such a straightforward manner: each one has a motivation and follows it. Niessa wants money and status. Gorgas wants to be there for his family, specifically Bardas, the one who wants nothing to do with him. (There's a couple of hints here and there that they were companions when they were young, and that Gorgas can't let that go.)
Bardas— well, in his case, he doesn't *have* a motivation, which means he's this huge undirected force. And yes, I do mean huge, because for some reason everything seems to revolve around him. Even though he doesn't notice it.
There's this weird metaphysical thing going on in this trilogy that's never adequately explained, mainly because none of the characters understand it, even the ones who think they do. All we really figure out by the end is that we were in some sort of loop, and because of the efforts of many of those involved— or perhaps in SPITE of their efforts, we're now out of the loop, thank you very much and bow to the representatives of the Empire as you leave.
Oh, yes, the Empire. It's some sort of crazy cross between Rome and China, and it's taking over everything in sight, somewhat with the assistance of Bardas. And Gorgas, of course, who is mainly trying to be nice to Bardas in a specifically psycho way.
Actually, I do think I know what Bardas' motivation is— to not have anything to do with Gorgas ever again. And maybe settle down to a nice boring life.
Which reminds me... if I ever get the chance to meet K.J. Parker, I need to ask if Parker thinks that Bardas should go to Hell. Because, really, that might just be where Bardas is going at the end. Whether he deserves it or not is another question...