World Fantasy Award winner K. J. Parker's newest novella Mightier than the Sword presents itself as a translated oddity of a document called Concerning the Monasteries. But in true Parker style, this novella is instead a sprightly, riveting tale that reveals secret upon secret, building to an ending at once perfect and perfectly unpredictable.
An Imperial legate is called in to see his aunt, who just happens to be the empress running the civilized world while her husband's in his sick bed. After some chastisement, she dispatches her nephew to take care of the dreaded Land and Sea Raiders, pirates who've been attacking the realm's monasteries.
So begins a possibly doomed tour of banished relatives and pompous royals put in charge of monasteries like Cort Doce and Cort Maleston, to name a few. While attempting to discover the truth of what the pirates might be after, the legate visits great libraries and halls in each varied locale and conducts a romance of which he knows--but doesn't care--his aunt will not approve. With enough wit and derring-do (and luck), the narrator might just make it through his mission alive…or will he?