Does anyone else know of this fantasy author? He's caused surprisingly little ripples on the great electronic ocean of the Internet.
Which is a pity, because he's a very interesting author. It's not at all conventional fantasy (and, while I'm on it, allow me to say how much I hate the state of affairs that has allowed the phrase 'conventional fantasy' to be meaningful. Fantasy should never be conventional. It shouldn't have conventions. Except the ones where authors sign books and stuff). He's written two trilogies; the Fencer Trilogy and the Scavenger Trilogy. I've read the former and have recently finished the first book of the latter.
Part of what makes him different is the use of humour. There's genuine, sardonic wit to his characters and situations, not just the usual forced hoho heartiness of the dwarf getting drunk or whatever. They're also remarkably dark books; not dark in the sense of overwrought purple prose, angst-ridden protagonists who go around with hands stapled to their forehead, and wicked bad Evil Gods. Dark in the real world sense. Characters aren't melodramatically bitter about the woeful state of their lives; they keep smiling, cos you might as well, carry on, and would cheerfully cut your throat if it gained them something. They're pragmatic. People die all the time, mostly through stupid mistakes, and there's no time to bewail anything.
The third, and maybe most important thing, is Parker's common sense. Armour chafes and is heavy. You're meant to wear the fucking helmet; it's what keeps your brains being splattered all over the place. Use your ancient, master-work family sword to cut thick cable rope and it'll blunt and eventually snap. The author knows how things work, how they're put together. Nothing is just waved aside, nothing is ignored for the sake of some over-the-top drama. The author he most reminds me of in this way is Diana Wynne Jones; another author of sensible fantasy.