Devices and Desires

Devices and Desires

by K. J. Parker


$15.26 $16.00 Save 5% Current price is $15.26, Original price is $16. You Save 5%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, October 21


When an engineer is sentenced to death for a petty transgression of guild law, he flees the city, leaving behind his wife and daughter. Forced into exile, he seeks a terrible vengeance — one that will leave a trail of death and destruction in its wake. But he will not be able to achieve this by himself. He must draw up his plans using the blood of others...

In a compelling tale of intrigue and injustice, K. J. Parker's embittered hero takes up arms against his enemies, using the only weapons he has left to him: his ingenuity and his passion — his devices and desires.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316003384
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: 10/25/2007
Series: Engineer Trilogy Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 514,179
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 2.10(d)

About the Author

K.J. Parker is a pseudonym.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Devices and Desires (Engineer Trilogy #1) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Due to its incredible industrial base with advanced technology, the Mezentine Republic is the superpower. Two neighboring people, the Vadani and the Eremians resent their superiority. Whereas the Vandai leadership uses guile in its dealing with the powerful Republic, the Eremians invade only to be slaughtered by their foes due to superior technological weaponry especially the mechanical Scorpions.----------------- However, in the ruins of the slaughter, opportunity arises. Guild foreman and engineer Ziani Vaatzes has fled the Republic to avoid execution for breaking the rules. He offers the Eremians his knowledge of weaponry for safety and the opportunity to see his beloved wife and daughter one last time. However, Mezentines realizing that Ziani may sell them out and attack the Eremians to insure they remain the sole superpower.------------------ The first book of the Engineer Trilogy is a fascinating look at power mostly through the machinations of the scheming lying Ziani, who manipulates people as he climbs the social pyramid to get the support to meet his obsessed goal. He does this with the backdrop of nations selling violence and control as the key to regional ownership of a global economy. Although the antihero Ziani¿s skills are incredible, luck and coincidence helps him stay alive while his plausibility index is somewhere over Everest and his ethics somewhere in hell as he sacrifices innocent people to further his cause. Still this is an entertaining tale of one man who to achieve his quest requires him to be Machiavelli and Rove.------------ Harriet Klausner
adent More than 1 year ago
I knew nothing of this writer and just picked up D&D in the store and started browsing the first few pages - still like the physical visit to a store for that unplanned selection. You certainly have to work with the writer (The exposition takes the whole of this book and the others in the trilogy). Strong characters - no black and white here - all seem to have redeeming and dislikable traits and these again evolve over time. The book gets pretty technical at times as we learn how to defend a castle, build cross-bows, etc but with Parker this learning is great fun. Buy the trilogy and that is the summer's reading sorted out!
-Z- More than 1 year ago
I am certainly no book critic but I did not want to see such a superb book sit at 3.5 stars. This book is filled with intrigue, stunning visual descriptions and a flow that makes it very hard to put down. The author has done a terrific job of getting readers to understand and relate to the plot and its key players. To add to its appeal this novel strays from the typical knight in shining armor hero's tale and instead is played out on a much darker field where you find yourself enjoying the lies and betrayals of Ziani as he builds his mechanism of revenge. Tens of thousands die, friends and heros are betrayed, and unlikely heros emerge from the fray. All in all I found this book fantastic and I think anyone with half a brain would also. If your idea of fantasy is wizards hurling fireballs or knights slaying dragons, of which this book has none, then perhaps you would be disappointed. But I doubt it. Kudos to the author, buy it, read it. You will not regret it.
PoshGeek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent--better and more fluid command of language than I've seen in some time, but still an easy read. Characters are multi-dimensional and intelligently drawn. Drags a bit in places, could've used a good edit. That and you hope that after 700 pages you'll have a better idea of "the plan," but then I guess that would spoil the fun.
membrillu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
De momento no me satisface, pero sigo con él por si mejora. Soy un mal "abandonador de libros".

Una lástima, las críticas que leí eran muy buenas.

Hace mucho que no leo nada nuevo de fantasía (de ciencia ficción es diferente) que me deje buen sabor de boca.


He abandonado el libro una temporada y ahora lo retomo. Como pasa a veces, esta vez me está pareciendo mucho más interesante. Veamos si dura.

[Comentario final]

Es un libro demasiado largo para lo que explica, la verdad. El desenlace es muy bueno, pero la trama es un poco aburrida. Es una trilogía, así que quedan dos libros más por delante. Me ha interesado lo suficiente como para leer la continuación, pero no ahora mismo.

SimonW11 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Devices and Desires K.J. Parker Volume one of a fantasy trilogy. I enjoyed this. On a low tech continent there exists one city with a highly developed industry based on mechanics. This regimented society has by ruthlessly suppressing new ideas maintained its economic dominance. One of its citizens threatened with death escapes. To regain his wife he .engineers both a war and the weapons to fight it. Apart from the city dwellers the majority of characters in this are nobles with a strong sense of noblesse oblige. but it seems likely that selfish love will lead them all to betray those ideals of friendship, duty and honour.
Ehlana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very good start to a series that I hope will end in 'and they all lived happily ever after'..... except, of course, this is K J Parker so that's highly unlikely!
noradannan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautiful, tragic, and stunning.
stubbyfingers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a fantasy novel but there is no magic, there are no mythical creatures, and there is no quest. In fact there aren't really even any heroes or villains. Needless to say, this isn't your typical fantasy novel. The setting is somewhat low-tech--there is no electricity, but otherwise the engineering of the day has worked marvels. One of the world's top engineers has broken a law--a minor infraction really, but still punishable by death. For love of his wife and daughter, he does not submit to the punishment, but instead flees to a poor neighboring country where he can put his engineering skills to use. In an attempt to extradite him and to ensure their engineering secrets aren't leaked, war is waged on a massive scale. Meanwhile, what's this relationship going on between the duke of a third country and the duchess of the poor country? Will the third country become embroiled in the war? This a great story filled with love, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, treason, secrets, machinations and epic battles. The pace could've been a little quicker, but for the most part I loved it. When I finished reading this I wanted to start reading the sequel without pause.
Jennisis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It seems that this is a book that many people have a hard time determining their feelings about - some love it, some despise it and many are ambivalent.I really liked this book in that it kept me guessing as to everyone's motives - I still am not entirely sure the motivations of the main character, Vaatzes. Alternately I liked him, pitied him and hated him.The rest of the characters evoked similar feelings - though often they were stupid, detached, weak...utterly flabber...more It seems that this is a book that many people have a hard time determining their feelings about - some love it, some despise it and many are ambivalent.I really liked this book in that it kept me guessing as to everyone's motives - I still am not entirely sure the motivations of the main character, Vaatzes. Alternately I liked him, pitied him and hated him.The rest of the characters evoked similar feelings - though often they were stupid, detached, weak...utterly flabbergasted by the main character's actions as I was.I was entertained by the wry wit of the author and the repeated references to rules of Fashion, Tolerance and statistical tables of war. The author illustrates his world's cultures solidly.The discussions of metalworking and engineering were quite interesting, but sometimes a bit drawn out. Similarly, the portrayal of the hunt - however, having never been on a formal hunt, yet having read about many in various books, this is the first time that I felt an author fully understood what it entails and gave me a complete picture of it as well. So, while it derailed the narrative a bit, I still enjoyed it.Unfortunately, the "evil villain" of the book falls into the trap of all cliche evil villains and explains his master plan to a captive in one of the last few chapters of the book...not quite all of it, but I'd rather have had the "Aha! He did it!" moment revealed another way than in a smug monologue.I also would have appreciated a few more female characters, or at least more "screen time" and development for those that exist.I will definitely go on to read the rest of the series, despite the weaknesses of the book.
demonite93 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's long and at times drawn out at times but incredibly ....... different. I found it really interesting and you really have to be careful not to loose track of all the building/engineering junk he talks about to make sure it's understandable. Knowledge of midevil weapons and all that junk helps too. Check it out it's all ok and lon and................ you get the point it's a good time filler.
plappen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First of a trilogy, this fantasy novel is about an engineer who starts a major war so he can be re-united with his wife and daughter.Mezentia is a city-state that is the local technological superpower. They don¿t let their technical knowledge get out to the surrounding kingdoms, which is how they keep their superiority. Mezentia is also a land of guilds, where technical specifications and tolerances were decided long ago. It is written into law that, for instance, a certain gear shall be no larger than a certain size (down to hundredths of an inch) or a certain lever shall be a certain length, and no longer. Ziani Vaatzes, a talented engineer, breaks the rules, unintentionally, in building a mechanical toy for his daughter. He is sentenced to death by the Mezentian Council, accused of Abomination, and manages to escape with his life.Vaatzes is picked up by the remnants of the army of Eremia, one of the neighboring kingdoms. They are struggling to get back home after attacking Mezentia, and getting slaughtered by superior Mezentian weapons. His offer to train Eremians in how to build the weapons that just decimated their army is politely declined, but Vaatzes is set up in a factory of his own by the Eremian equivalent of a venture capitalist. Vaatzes does not just start at the beginning, he has plenty of building, planning and training to do just to reach "the beginning." In Mezentia, tolerances and specifications are expected to be exact (anything less is not good enough), but in Eremia, the best Vaatzes can do is "pretty good." He and his employees have scoured the city looking for scrap metal to use in the weapons, but they will get the job done.Meantime, the Mezentian Council has learned that Vaatzes is still alive, and is building weapons for the Eremians. The decision is made to invade Eremia, and wipe the entire race off the map. Nothing is more important than Mezentian technological superiority. Civitas Eremiae, the Eremian capital, is built into the side of a mountain, and is nearly impossible for an invading army to conquer. But, it does have a very secret, and very ancient, "back door."Parker is an author who Gets It. This is a big novel, but it is an excellent piece of writing that will really keep the reader¿s interest. I may just read the other two, equally large, parts of this trilogy just because the storytelling is so good.
picardyrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is good on so many levels, I can only say that when I was finished, I craved Book 2 like the pages were potato chips.
LN_Adcox More than 1 year ago
“Devices And Desires: An Irresistible Tale of Corruption, Betrayal, and Revenge NOT A LOVE STORY The author described this first book of the Engineer Trilogy as a love story. But it is only a love story in that love serves as the primary motivator of the main characters even while they admit that love is an illogical motive. It is also the motivator that results in the death of many thousands of people. K. J. Parker’s expertise in world building is one of the attractions of this book as his novel plays out across a landscape inhabited by three civilizations with a four savage warrior civilization, the Cure Hardy, held back by inhospitable desert. The Duchy of Eremia and the Duchy of Vadani resemble medieval civilizations minus the cross bow and scorpion. In contrast, the Perpetual Republic of Mezentia is an industrial society governed by powerful competing guilds. Every aspect of society is influenced by politics and personal rivalries. I thought it seemed familiar and then realized it wasn’t much different than my workplace. Religion is notably absent from all three societies but the engineering specification attains the level of the sacred. Ziani Vaatzes, a Mezentian engineering supervisor, violates this principle, is sentenced to death, escapes and his determination to reunite with his family sets the story in motion. The only caution is that if you don’t intend to read the entire trilogy, you may not want to read this first book as the conclusion fails to answer all of the questions and sets up the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Valence More than 1 year ago
Devices and Desires is about a simple man who does simple honest work (a weapon engineer) but has the tinkerer's itch. Unfortunately this itch gets him sentenced to death, but he escapes, but to what end he does not know, since fugitives are hunted without mercy by his city, Mezentia, the most powerful city in the immediate area. By his engineering ingenuity and a fair does of luck, Ziani Vaatzes sets plans and people in motion to achieve one simple goal: to reunite him with his family. But there will be Hell to pay for standing against on "The Invincible Republic." This book reads somewhat like a psychology book in my opinion. I know that probably sounds strange, but there are no real static characters. Every major character has distinct personality quirks, strengths, and flaws. The intriguing bit is that the characters are very aware of these flaws and are constantly trying to justify them or change them. The character growth and development is a bit slow, but it is rich in its breadth, as nations clash and honor is pitted against common sense and duty is pitted against self-preservation. A real thought provoking piece that features both the wise and the foolish, the smart and the dumb. Many times characters will surprise you with what they decide to do in reaction to events surrounding them. This book is a bit of work to get through, mostly because of the backstory, but it really is a labor of love, because by the midway point you are sufficiently intrigued to see what happens next and by the end you are like "What?! Why would he/she do that???" and then you are left with a decent cliff hanger and the fate of nations lie in the balance of what is to come next. Also, as I myself an engineer, I appreciate the methodic mindset that the author takes when describing the Mezentine Empire and how Ziani perceives others and how they perceive him and his fellow Mezentines. Lastly, the book gets 4/5 stars because of the slow start. If somehow it could have picked up the pace quicker, it would have easily earned 5/5. I'm looking forward to the next two in the trilogy :) .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantasy writing that can be considered literature
KWR57 More than 1 year ago
Story telling at it's finest. Interesting premise and believable characters you want to read about. Politics, intrigue, knights, castles, it's got it all. I'm already on the 2nd installment of the trilogy and enjoying it as well.
Buck_Thunderstud More than 1 year ago
A wonderful tale of what one man will do when not the whole world, but HIS world, is on the line. For the entire series, the only thing I can complain about is that The Escapement is very short by comparison. All in all, this series doesn't disappoint.
BigBrad77 More than 1 year ago
This is a trilogy that started very strong and then faltered. it's as if the writer had greta confidence in laying out the world and the character, and setting events in motion, but after the climactic events of book 1, wasn't sure where to go. Book 2 was IMO a letdown and book 3 just gets bogged down in some not-very-interesting siege developments. My advice is, try this and if you like it pick up #2 with some tempered expectations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tinker_Nich More than 1 year ago
From the first few pages to the end of the final book I was completely enthralled by this story. So many twists and turns in the plot that you never know what comes next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago