In the pitch dark, witty fantasy novella Prosper’s Demon, K. J. Parker deftly creates a world with vivid, unbending rules, seething with demons, broken faith, and worse men.
In a botched demonic extraction, they say the demon feels it ten times worse than the man. But they don’t die, and we do. Equilibrium.
The unnamed and morally questionable narrator is an exorcist with great follow-through and few doubts. His methods aren’t delicate but they’re undeniably effective: he’ll get the demon out—he just doesn’t particularly care what happens to the person.
Prosper of Schanz is a man of science, determined to raise the world’s first philosopher-king, reared according to the purest principles. Too bad he’s demonically possessed.
I must admit that part of the reason I decided to pick this up is because I was sucked in by that gorgeous cover. After reading the synopsis I thought this would be a perfect quick horror read, something spooky that I could read in one sitting. What I got wasn’t really what I had expected. It’s a unique and engaging story, following our unnamed narrator as he carries out exorcisms across the country. When he comes across the Prosper of Schanz, a man revered throughout the country as a genius and man of science, he discovers the Prosper is possessed, but what will the cost be if he exorcises him?
This is a pretty short novella, it’s a little over 60 pages so Parker packs quite a lot into the small page count. It’s definitely a more character focused tale, as our unnamed narrator discusses philosophy and art. The story definitely leans more towards humour than horror, the narrator is not afraid to voice his opinions, even if that makes him less than likeable.
It’s an interesting tale, and one that I really enjoyed reading. As I pretty much always do, I wish it could have been a bit longer – I would have loved the opportunity to get to know the world a bit more and understand the history of the demons in this world and those that are tasked with exorcising them. If you’ve looking for something unique with plenty of dark humour, this could be the perfect little novella for you.