The Blade Itself
Book One of The First Law
“The blade itself incites to deeds of violence.” – Homer
Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught up in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian, leaving nothing behind but some bad songs, a few 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 as 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 jar. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendships. 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.
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 fantasy with a real cutting edge.
The star of the show is doubtlessly Inquisitor Glotka for simply being one of the most wonderfully bitter and cynical characters I’ve come across. With a very funny and clever internal monologue going on during every conversation he has, Glotka’s as miserable and nasty at the end as he was to start with and, especially in a heroic fantasy novel, it works perfectly — SF Crowsnest An admirably hard, fast and unpretentious read from debut author Joe Abercrombie. Packs a mean punch in the bloodthirsty mayhem and mystery departments. Crammed full of torture, vengeance and bad behaviour, it’s a lively tale of savagery vs. civilisation. The Blade Itself may not reinvent the wheel, but it does serve up a whole banquet of violent action and intrigue’ — SFX You’d never guess that The Blade Itself is Joe Abercrombie’s debut novel. He writes like a natural. There are great characters, sparky dialogue, an action-packed plot, and from the very first words and an opening scene that is literally a cliff-hanger, you know you are in for a cheeky, vivid, exhilarating ride — Starburst There’s a fat vein of cynicism and dark humour throughout. The action scenes are fast-paced and the violence takes its toll both mentally and physically. A great start to a long journey’ — Dreamwatch The Blade Itself is a page-turner powered by a combination of fast-paced action and juicy doses of cynicism. Perhaps more remarkable, however, is the way Abercrombie sets the scene — Edge Magazine Delightfully twisted and evil — The Guardian There is a gritty edge to his world and an awareness of the human cost of violence that is very contemporary — The Times Highly recommended – a funny, finely-wrought, terrifically energetic work of high fantasy. Seek it out — Joe Hill I might not end up marrying this book, but I’m certainly infatuated with it right at the moment. It’s delicious, the characters sharply drawn and their motivations believable, the clash of cultures (always particularly difficult for an author to pull off) believable as well. — Lilith Saintcrow