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The Last Witness

The Last Witness - K.J. Parker

Author: K.J. Parker

Rating: 4 stars


This was good, very good. 


If you had the power to erase other people's memories, would you use it? This power is often featured in comics and superhero movies wherein the hero uses it to solve some immediate problem and on with the story. This fantasy novella, coming in at 144 pages, really delves into this power and the domino affect of unexpected consequences it can have on user and their victim. 


Our hero in this novella is no hero. He puts his ability to erase people's memories up for hire. So he winds up in quite a few jams. But he's not completely without empathy, for he also uses his power to help. Yet even that has surprising consequences.


A point explored in this novella is how your mind would process all these new memories.  Our main character's mind begins to blur his own reality with his victims. First person narrative was perfect for this story- you are intimately aware of the main character's struggle, trying to figure out what's real, what's right. My head was spinning, in a good way. Is it really merciful to remove past hurts and problems, even though on the surface it seems the right thing to do? This book really gets you thinking right down to its twisty ending.


I was impressed with the level of writing. The author, K.J. Parker, also writes as Tom Holt. I'm tempted to buy his other works.


One of the best novellas I've read. Definitely recommend.


One note: Though I understood the cover after reading the novella, I do not like the cover.  If you feel the same way, don't let it put you off - this is a solid story.