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Synopsis: Subterranean Press is proud to announce a new novella by the enigmatic author of The Company and The Engineer Trilogy.

When his father, brothers and uncles wiped each other out in a murderous civil war, Nicephorus was forced to leave the University and become emperor.

Seventy-seven emperors had met violent deaths over the past hundred years, most of them murdered by their own soldiers. Hardly surprising, then, that Nico should want to fill the major offices of state with the only people he knew he could trust, his oldest and closest friends.

But there's danger on the northern frontier, and Nico daren't send a regular general up there with an army, for fear of a military coup. He turns to his best friend Phormio, who reluctantly takes the job.

Military dispatches, written in the purple ink reserved exclusively for official business, are a miserable way for friends to keep in touch, at a time when they need each other most. But there's space in the document-tube for another sheet of paper.

Purple and Black will be printed in two colors throughout.

From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. In this heartbreaking epistolary novella, pseudonymous military fantasist Parker (The Company) keeps the letters, humor and tension moving at a quick clip. Nicephorus becomes the reluctant emperor of the Vesani after all his imperial relatives kill one other off. Knowing that 72 of the past century's 77 emperors have been murdered by the military, he appoints his trusted friend Phormio to command on a frontier filled with almost preternaturally effective insurgents. Each man sends two letters at a time to the other: one in official purple ink, the other a black-inked personal missive ranging from hilarious to despairing. As enemies become stalwart allies, sorrow lurks within victory and a forgotten moment of youth threatens everything, Parker sends the brief (but never terse) story flying to a wrenching and all too realistic conclusion. (July)
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