And with that tagline Joe Abercrombie's latest book is upon us like an axe through a Union man! I am about a third of the way into the book and it is his best work thus far. I'm a big fan of Joe's books having read each within days of release. The man writes great characters that break through many of the traditional fantasy "hero" molds.
I really enjoy Curnden Craw and his band of Named Men. The dialogue between the band is great and funny at times. This being an Abercrombie book it only happens between bloody, vicious battles! Curnden is the broken down warrior who missed the life that could have been and just carries on because he knows nothing better. He cares for the average man and it shows in his first encounter with a scouting party from the Union Army led by Hardbread...
"I try not to jump at all these days," said Hardbread. "Heard you was fighting for Black Dow. You and your dozen."
"Trying to keep the fighting to a minimum, but as far as who I’m doing it for, you’re right. Dow buys my porridge."
"...Thought you’d have company from the first moment I saw you, Craw. But since you’re still jawing and I’m still breathing, I reckon you're set on giving us a chance to talk
"Then you’ve reckoned the shit out o’ me," said Craw.
"That’s exactly the plan."
"Well, my old arse if I’m fighting my way out o’ this," said Hardbread, brightly. 'Any chance you’d let us clear out?"
"I’ve a mind to insist on it," said Craw.
"We can take our gear?"
"I’m not looking to embarrass you. I just want your hill."
However my favorite POV character in the book is Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman. Here he returns after appearing in The First Law trilogy to redeem his honor, at any and often bloody cost. I can't say I identify with Gorst but his thoughts ring true if you are someone who ever single mindedly sought to attain some goal, no matter what the personal cost might be.
Lookout for the chapter titled Casualties, it's the best in the book up to where I'm currently reading.
Again great stuff from Joe Abercrombie. I noticed he blogged on his site recently showing a photo of some cowboy and western materials which are research for his next stand alone book in this universe. I'm looking forward to it!
Here is a lengthy extract. Enjoy