“Once you’ve got a task to do, it’s better to do it than live with the fear of it.”
Today, let’s talk about an author who is brutally realistic in his portrayal of man’s depravity. Even his “good” guys are dark angels, with a few exceptions.
His style is gripping and fast paced. Don’t expect a slow, Tolkien-esc epic. These stories MOVE. And I love it. Don’t get me wrong, The Lord of The Rings trilogy was my introduction to fantasy writing, and they are still the banner against which all of these books are measured, but for pure fun reading, this guy has it.
Who is he?
“Has it ever occured to you, Master Ninefingers, that a sword is different from other weapons? Axes and maces and so forth are lethal enough, but they hang on the belt like dumb brutes. But a sword…a sword has a voice.
Sheathed it has little to say, to be sure, but you need only put your hand on the hilt and it begins to whisper in your enemy’s ear. A gentle word. A word of caution. Do you hear it?
Now, compare it to the sword half drawn. It speaks louder, does it not? It hisses a dire threat. It makes a deadly promise. Do you hear it?
Now compare it to the sword full drawn. It shouts now, does it not? It screams defiance! It bellows a challenge! Do you hear it?”
In 2006, Abercrombie burst onto the scene with “The Blade Itself”, which is the first book in his “The First Law” trilogy. The other two books are, “Before They Are Hanged” and “Last Argument of Kings”.
At first it seems like a knock-off of LOTR, but Joe’s characters are a little more……nuanced than Tolkien’s. Just remember, wizards don’t give a flying fig for the normies.
“Rules are for children. This is war, and in war the only crime is to lose.”
Abercrombie followed up this trilogy with three stand alone novels which are set in the “First Law” universe.
“The fool strikes. The wise man smiles, and watches, and learns. Then strikes.”
The first one of these, “Best Served Cold” features a female protagonist. *gasp*
It is actually a good read, though. She is not some super powered Mary Sue. She does not win hand-to-hand combat with a hulking male, she has to use other males for that. I don’t mind reading a book with a female protagonist if she is written correctly. Louis L’Amour had female lead actors in some of his stories as well.
So don’t knock this one until you try it. It brings home the moral that in pursuit of revenge, oftentimes we destroy ourselves while we seek to destroy others.
“The truth is like salt. Men want to taste a little, but too much makes everyone sick.”
“The Heroes” is probably my favorite book of his, so far. It covers a three day span which involves a battle over control of a hill with rune stones at the peak, called “The Heroes”. The book takes you bouncing around the battlefield to various viewpoints. Really good stuff. Brutal battle scenes, but there’s also humor sprinkled throughout.
“Anyone can face ease and success with confidence. It is the way we face trouble and misfortune that defines us.”
“Red Country” follows one of our heroes from the trilogy, although I missed who it was until about halfway through the book. This man struggles with inner demons and tries to run from them, but they catch up to him. With explosive results. Sometimes we must sacrifice what we love to protect others.
“The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know. Still, the struggle itself is worthwhile. Knowledge is the root of power, after all.”
He also wrote a young adult trilogy, but it is not as good, to me at least, as his “adult” books. Try him out. I think you’ll enjoy him.
As always, thanks for reading.