Springtime in Styria. And that means war.
There have been 19 years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, and behind the scenes bankers, priests, and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king.
War may be hell, but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso's employ, it's a damn good way of making money, too. Her victories have made her popular - a shade too popular for her employer's taste. Betrayed, thrown down a mountain, and left for dead, Murcatto's reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die.
Her allies include Styria's least reliable drunkard, Styria's most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murderer obsessed with numbers, and a Northman who just wants to do the right thing. Her enemies number the better half of the nation. And that's all before the most dangerous man in the world is dispatched to hunt her down and finish the job Duke Orso started....
Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.
First Law Trilogy
The Blade Itself
Before They Are Hanged
Last Argument of Kings
Novels in the First Law World
Best Served Cold
©2015 Joe Abercrombie (P)2015 Hachette Audio
"The battles are vivid and visceral, the action brutal, the pace headlong, and Abercrombie piles the betrayals, reversals, and plot twists one atop another to keep us guessing how it will all come out. This is his best book yet." (George R. R. Martin)
"Joe Abercrombie takes the grand tradition of high fantasy literature and drags it down into the gutter, in the best possible way. Monza is a beautiful mercenary who has sworn to kill the seven men who tried to kill her. No elves, no wands - just lots of down-and-dirty swordplay." (Time)
"Abercrombie is both fiendishly inventive and solidly convincing, especially when sprinkling his appallingly vivid combat scenes with humor so dark that it's almost ultraviolet." (Publishers Weekly)
had to wait a long time for it to be narrated by setieven pacey, it was worth the wait. not a single touch less compelling than the first law trilogy and to hear it from the same talented narrator made it as if i was just continuing the same story rather than reading a stand alone book.
The more I read Joe Abercrombie the more I like him. I was hesitant to start reading another series by the author after having already read the First Law series because I thought that I'd be bored. Wrong! The writing style is still the same gritty roller-coaster ride of anger and sorrow but the plot was very fresh and not at all familiar feeling. The fact that the author managed to really surprise me towards the end was highlight for me. I'm one of those readers who usually sees plot twists coming a mile away but I never saw this one coming.
Another reason I really enjoy Abercrombie's books so much is the outstanding narration that Steven Pacey gives. My first taste of Abercrombie's work came in an audio book and I have since read some of his books in print as well. I can honestly say that I enjoy the audio books much more and that's because Mr. Pacey does such a great job. There are a lot of characters in this book, both male and female, and Mr Pacey is fabulous at voicing both. He doesn't seem to be over dramatic but when the situation calls for it he is great at building tension. I haven't listened to any other authors that Mr Pacey has narrated for but I certainly will in the future.
The First Law trilogy is probably my favorite trilogy. I've listened to it three times through. Best Served Cold was a good story, but I swear every other sentence was a platitude trying to be a very profound introspective statement. I don't remember The First Law trilogy being that way. Either way this book is still worth a credit and listen.
This tale grabs you right from the start and holds you to the end. The masterful narration is a real joy 😀
I've come to really enjoy Joe Abercrombie's writing, and this is his best story yet. It is fast paced, yet detailed. Hard edged, but tender. Bloody, yet touching. As flawed as the characters are, Abercrombie puts you inside each of their heads, giving you a deep connection with them all. Pacey breathes incredible life into these characters with his distinct voices and accents and his terribly consistent performance made me want to listen to every second. A narration of the top quality.
Having already done a read of First law series in the print version, I was forced to a revisit all of them simply by the strength of Pacey's storytelling skills. It's not a book for the faint hearted (like all of Joe Abercrombie's books). There are no clear winners, just people doing the best with what they've got. Its brutal, cold, relentless, exhilarating and gripping.
Just like life.
SPOILERS: When Caul Shivers reiterates the Bloody-Nine's words during a melee..........
"I am made of death. I am the Great Leveller. I am the storm in the High Places.' The Bloody-Nine's voice, but it came from his own throat.
Having read the books, the most important thing Steven Pacey brings is the emotion into the dialogue. You can feel Cosca's apathy and sadness, Morveer's narcissism, Shiver's rage, Friendly's love for numbers and prison and Monza's dying thirst for revenge.
SPOILERS: Shiver's transformation after a loss...and his eye-for-an-eye attitude (wink) after that
Don't just buy this one book read by Steven Pacey. His reading of other books in this series is just as good!
One of the best.
His range of voices is enormous, makes it seem like he is 20 different people. It's very hard to enjoy other audiobooks with different narrators after listening to him.
I enjoyed the First Law trilogy. Pacey's a great narrator, better than most, and I loved Glokta. I bought Best Served Cold thinking I would get more of the same, but instead I got a much darker story with better characters and dialogue. I loved this listen!
- Hurricave -
I greatly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who read and enjoyed "The First Law" trilogy. If I'm not mistaken, this is the 4th book in the series, but it's not part of the trilogy. It's a standalone book that follows mostly different characters and occurs after the trilogy. The narrator is simply amazing and I found the story to be very entertaining. A+++++++
The Abercrombie/Pacey combo is as good as any. I initially skipped this book and The Heroes and jumped straight to Red Country because I hoped these two books would be re-recorded (sorry other narrator-guy) with Pacey's narration. It finally happened!!
I'm past being surprised at how Abercrombie can take relatively unimportant characters from one book and put them front and center in another and hook me every time. The First Law world must turn forever.
I'm telling the world right now, George RR Martin should beg Joe Abercrombie to finish ASOIAF and have Steven Pacey narrate the books as they are finished.
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