The first novel in the First Law Trilogy and the debut novel from New York Times best seller Joe Abercrombie.
Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he's on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian - leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.
Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.
Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: Cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.
Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult.
Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.
Unpredictable, compelling, wickedly funny, and packed with unforgettable characters, The Blade Itself is noir fantasy with a real cutting edge.
Exhilarating.... Abercrombie's knack for wit and grit holds your attention throughout, and his eye for character means that there's heart as well as muscle." [SFX (UK)]
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Characters drive the story. The Narrator rocks!
I've not read the print version. Steven Pacey (the narrator) does a fantastic job making these characters come to life. Abercrombie writes incredibly interesting heroes with both dark and light sides to them. They drive a story that is good but just not important compared to the dynamics of the POV and secondary characters.
Potentially Game of Thrones due to the grey morality and at times very brutal and bleak world. It's very realistic as one of the characters will remind you often. It is certainly smaller in scope than SOIAF though with less winding plot and more emphasis on the stories of the chosen "heroes" then the ever growing cast of GoT.
I've been listening to audiobooks for over 15 years and this might be the best voice acting I've heard. Abercrombie's ability to build unique ticks and traits of characters certainly helped but Pacey just made them REAL. I laughed and felt bad for it and just felt invested in the loving or hating the characters as they went through the story. (I'm speaking somewhat to the whole trilogy here which is well worth it)
I'm a Sanderson guy who loves intricate plots and world building. Abercrombie does the opposite in my opinion with more grey heroes, less emphasis on story and much more on how events affect the characters he's crafted. Different but I absolutely loved it. The characters, while frustrating and heartbreaking at times don't make decisions that I couldn't have predicted. Abercrombie establishes who they are so well that even if you disagree sometimes with how they act or are disappointed you understand why. And when they surprise you it's marvelous but still somehow always true to them. Highly recommend these books and the audio version.
- Brian Alsobrook
A rare combination
- James Ruddy