Friday, May 10, 2013

The First Law - Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie's first novel, "The Blade Itself," is the first in his "The First Law" trilogy.   US publication was in 2007.  I don't know why I just recently found this series, but I'm glad I did.  It's given me a well needed dose of Epic Fantasy while wondering if "A Song of Ice and Fire" will ever be finished.

For a first novel, let alone a trilogy, Abercrombie really delivered.  His characters are diverse and complex.  From Jezel dan Luther, a haughty young noble who gradually learns more of the value of others, and himself, to Bayaz, the self-proclaimed "first of the Magi;" who is either a complete charlatan, or a centuries-old wizard. 

Then there is Logen Ninefingers, a Northman, also known as "the bloody nine."  Here is truly a berserker with a conscience.  A warrior who has lost everything, but has more to offer than he seems.

One of his most intriguing characters, however, is Sand dan Glotka, a Superior for the Inquisition.  In other words, he is one of the chief torturers in the kingdom.  Glotka is an expert torturer partly because he has spent time on both sides of the torture chamber.  His wrecked body reminds him constantly of the man he was, and the man he has become.

Abercrombie's narrative flows whether he is portraying the political maneuverings of the Closed Council, a game of cards, a lovers' quarrel, or the mayhem of battle.  This is epic fantasy/swords and sorcerers fare.

The First Law trilogy consists of "The Blade Itself," "Before They are Hanged," and "The Last Argument of Kings."  In my next entry, I will discuss both the second and third books.

Highly recommended for any "Game of Thrones" or "The Lord of the Rings" fans.

Alan Andrews
Basso for Hire

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