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Publisher's Summary

Springtime in Styria. And that means war. There have been nineteen 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, 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.

©2010 Joe Abercrombie (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group Limited

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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Fun and Twisted

At this point, I think it's a safe bet that I will enjoy anything read by Steven Pacey. And I honestly think Joe Abercrombie gets better with every book. Very very addictive.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • Australia
  • 05-24-12

Very average

I listened to this book following the First Law series which I found very enjoyable.

Unfortunately this particular book is pretty much a straight out, almost boring tale, with only a twist at the end to keep it from being rated even lower.

Abercrombie has excellent character development, but I feel that the characters are a little too disfunctional in an almost "American sitcom disfunctional family" style.

One particular failing that I found annoying was the eventual predictable situation of knowing something was going to go disasterously wrong when detailed and meticulously laid plans were set in motion.

All in all it felt like the characters and story had moved from the sublime to the ridiculous.

There aren't really any surprises here, no multi threaded grand design all coming together at the end. The characters are all so extremely flawed and hateable to point you feel nothing for them, which doesn't give the listener much to identify and feel with through the course of the book.

Excellent narration rescues a rather forgettable storyline.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Nathan
  • Glen Bernie, MD, United States
  • 04-14-13

Great from start to finish

A great new cast of characters along with some familiar names. Things kick off right from the start and keep pace righ to the end. Great characters, well developed and in Abercrombies style often put to beffitting or undeserved ends.

Once again Steven Pacey puts in a flawless performance, every character unique and he hits every whispered, whimppered, croaked, shouted and stranggled line without fail.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another excellent story from Joe Abercrombie

Steven Pacey is an outstanding narrator who gives life to Abercrombie's colourful characters. Its a dark tale of revenge with many excellent Abercombie twists. Things often don't go the way you might expect.

Favourite character the swashbuckling Koska who always sees the humorous side. Another well crafted, intriguing but despicable character is the Poisoner Morvia. All of the characters are flawed but it makes them all the more interesting.

I listened to the "First Law" prior to this and enjoyed it. "Best Served Cold" is also excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • lowfat
  • Sask, Canada
  • 01-26-13

11ty times better than the Michael Page version.

Which character – as performed by Steven Pacey – was your favorite?

All of them. Shame this version wasn't available first. Steven Pacey narrates so significantly better than Michael Page it ain't even funny.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • Banora Point, Australia
  • 08-08-12

not for all tastes

Found this book a bit too gruesome for myself. The underlying story is quite interesting for the more hardened listeners.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bruno
  • North Shore City, New Zealand
  • 02-19-12

A Great Story - Now With Great Narration

Would you consider the audio edition of Best Served Cold to be better than the print version?

I believe that this audio production is the best way to enjoy

What did you like best about this story?

Joe Abercrombie has a wonderful talent for creating the best characters

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • matty
  • chorley, United Kingdom
  • 04-18-11

Delicious

Another triumph by the best current writer of epic fantasy. From the first page Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold is a deliciously sordid tale of revenge, murder, cowardice, triumph and trial.

The narrative is pacey and very well constructed. The scenes each build upon each other as the book progresses. The book is also on funny. There are many moments when you can't help but laugh (and then feel guilty for laughing).

The main characters are each triumphant yet flawed; dogged yet weak; hateful yet at the same time likeable. Although none of the characters are typically heroic, you can't help but sympathise with them, notwithstanding how despicable they can be.

Michael Page is excellent.

One of my top 10 audiobooks of the last 12 months. The book caused me to laugh, sympathise, despise the violence, root for the under dog, hate the hero whilst at the same time willing her to victory...a simply delicious book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lynn
  • Hurlstone Park, Australia
  • 02-20-11

As Always

Thank goodness for Abercrombie a creator of real people and places unlike the usual heroic good guy fantasy schmaltz.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bruno
  • North Shore City, New Zealand
  • 07-21-11

Disappointing narration

After being blown away by the excellent production (& excellent narration by Steven Pacey) in "The First Law" series, this production really let me down. I started listening to it immediately after the completion of "The First Law" and it was terrible. I had to stop, I'll try it again later, because I am sure it is a good story, but "The First Law" excellent production is still to fresh in my mind.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Stuart
  • 02-08-13

Low down dirty double crossing ...

Steven Pacey! Steven Pacey! Steven Pacey!



I really enjoyed this, even more than the First Law Trilogy. The book has a great depth of characters, and the narrator brings these to life wonderfully. It's a great combination of a well written book and first class narration.



I recently reviewed The Painted Man (different author) and I wasn't kind to it, because I had no empathy for the characters and ultimately didn’t care what happened to them. In this book most of the characters are low down dirty double crossing villains, but you can't help enjoy them. The reason you warm to them is they aren't just plain bad, they have some depth to them and complexity. Joe Abercrombie has a wonderful way of building a story and getting you to care for the type character that most other authors would have cast as the villain. His world isn't black and white, there are people who just seem to get drawn into bad things … as well as those who just relish it.



The references to the First Law Trilogy were excellent and some of the characters from that appear and get expanded upon. A word of warning though - prepared for dark deeds, dark humour and a couple of occasions where you feel like you might lose your lunch.



Fantastic stuff

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gavin
  • 01-21-12

New recording

This book was originally sold with a change of narrator from the First Law books however the publisher has taken note and re-recorded this title and the following book with Steven Pacey. If you bought this with the other narrator you can re-download the title and it will be the new version with Steven Pacey. Excellant news given his brilliant performance.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • mike
  • 04-01-14

Abercrombie + Pacey = Win!

Would you listen to Best Served Cold again? Why?

Yes. Performance by Pacey is amazing, he does justice to the gritty dialogue

What was one of the most memorable moments of Best Served Cold?

Relationship between drug addled monza and shivers

Which character – as performed by Steven Pacey – was your favourite?

Shivers

Any additional comments?

Other narrators should study Pacey. Have listened to several audiobooks before and never heard any other performance even come close to the same quality. He is consistent with the voices but he goes beyond that and builds a character and speech mannerisms.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mr Gerard A Twomey
  • 03-15-12

delightfully vicious

I loved the First Law series, and I think of this as a straight continuation into The Heroes. Steven Pacey's visceral reading brings this brilliant, fresh fantasy book to life with vivid sardonic character, and the book itself has a satisfying pace with lots of notches on the narrative axe. Because it is a complete story within one book I liked this the best of all the Joe Abercrombie series, but it is certainly richer reading them all in order, starting with The Blade Itself. It's satisfying to see minor characters from one book developed in later volumes, and it seems to me that this is a hallmark of Joe Abercrombie's writing - a mastery of point of view. I consider these books a real milestone in fantasy literature, and dare I say it, a bit better than Game of Thrones?

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 02-10-14

Excellent follow-on from the first law trilogy

Joe Abercombie just keeps getting better and better.

Story – 5/5

Joe Abercrombie has managed to get all of the elements of this novel perfect. His character development and sharp whit is still definitely his strongest point, but this time the story has a very fast pace, for those readers who complained about the story progression in ‘The Blade Itself'

As the title suggests, it is a revenge plot story. But there isn’t only the main story arc, there are also a few smaller intertwined stories of revenge throughout, and it is done extremely smoothly. What I especially loved about this novel was how he took a couple of the minor characters from his first law trilogy that we weren’t too bothered about, and developed them into very likeable and interesting characters. This is a standalone novel though, so don’t be put off if you haven’t read the preceding books.

Another thing I love about Joe Abercrombie’s novels, is how he spends about 1 hour after the “big ending” to set a picture of how the story will continue. This not only gives a better impression of an epic world, of which this is a small story within, but it also prolongs the enjoyment of the story by making the reader think about it after finishing.

Performance – 5/5

Steven Pacey is one of the best narrators out there. His character acting was flawless, each having a distinctive and believable voice. His narration enhanced the dark comedy and whit of Joe Abercrombie’s writing, and I felt myself absorbed into the action scenes/battles.

Music/sound effects between scenes/chapters was a nice touch as well, although it would have been nicer to not re-use previous sound effects.

Overall – 5/5

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-04-17

Steven Pacey is ace!

This is an engaging story, interweaving a wide variety of characters with their foibles. I am not really into this genre, but what made this a story I could not leave, was Steven Pacey's absolutely brilliant reading of it. I could engage with every character and there were some that made me laugh out loud. Really great combination of a romping story read by an excellent actor.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. C. Horsfall
  • 04-30-16

great story. Well told.

I had trouble sympathising with most of the characters. they all seemed evil in their own way. I felt saddened at the end, but thoroughly enjoyed the book none the less.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 06-07-15

Thoroughly entertaining

Very dark, very funny, and very very good. Steven Pacey reads this perfectly. (don't buy the one read by the other guy.

Someone should write a book of Cosca quotes!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicholas
  • 07-07-14

Outstanding!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Logan, he is complex and although fighting his demons as "The Bloody Nine" is trying to do the right thing.

What does Steven Pacey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His tone and accents paint the characters and story line to allow you engulf yourself inthe book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • KatDLF
  • 12-01-13

Excellent characters and believable fantasy world

Would you listen to Best Served Cold again? Why?

I will definitely listen to this again. Mainly to see if I can find hints that pre-figure the many plot-twists.

What did you like best about this story?

This story is incredibly well-crafted. Although it is based in a world described in a previous trilogy, I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not having read the previous books.<br/><br/>I chose this book because I was looking for a fantasy story with a strong female lead and Monza Murcatto does not disappoint. She, like all the characters in this book, is best defined by her flaws. None of the characters come out of this story in a purely good light, not even Monza's "martyred" brother, who is the main impetus for the story.<br/><br/>This story also keeps hitting one with plot-twist after plot-twist, so you're never certain that you know what's coming, which is very refreshing. However, all of those twists are in-keeping with the characterisation, so you never feel like its simply a plot device.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book makes you care about the characters, even though most of them are what would normally be classed as 'evil'. I did find myself disappointed when one of Monza's gang of criminals dies and the possibility of a romance between them is killed.

Any additional comments?

If you're considering reading the trilogy but are unsure if Abercrombie's world will interest you, I would really recommend Best Served Cold as you get to see a lot of the world and the various cultures that exist.<br/><br/>It is also a brilliant story for anyone interested in late-medieval/early modern politics as I am.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 10-24-16

Great listen. Dark and vivid storyline.

Loved it. Good narrator. Easy to listen to. Dark and foreboding. Kept me interested from start to finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-07-17

Favorite one sofar

Has to be one of my favorites books now. Joe Abercrombie spins a good story. This is the 4th I have read following the sword itself series and I loved it. I was worried I wouldn't get along with the characters and that a story of revenge would be boring but I was pleasantly surprised the entire way.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-12-17

surprisingly great

the narrators voice was very good for me. his pauses and ability to use different tones gave me new insight to just how talented the author is, great book!

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  • A fan
  • 06-10-17

Wow! What an awesome read!👍

I really can't believe how great Abercrombie is! Every time I finish another of his books, I'm amazed time & again how good they keep being. So far they've kept me fully sucked in to the very end, where I think heck yeah that's his best yet! So when I get that feeling every time with him i know that I'm experiencing something great. His character's have such individual richness that they really leep right off the page! Cosca had me bursting out laughing on a packed bus without me even realizing it!
Thd 1st trilogy definitely has to be read 1st though. I'd rsad few reviews saying that the last 3 could be read independently, however I strongly recommend that u read the 1st trilogy 1st as some characters stay in the series with the time line flowing smoothly along. I'm now on book 5 The Heroes.
So far it feels like book 5 was best, but I think that's because it's a great story that just gets better.

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  • David Frew
  • 06-08-17

Highly enjoyable book by Abercrombie

excellent performance to accompany well written novel in the first law universe, good fun and highly enjoyable

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  • Oswald the Stormtrooper
  • 06-05-17

Gruesome and brilliant

If you love the first law books, you'll love this. true to form, a great story following a few old favourites from the original trilogy

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  • tecevo
  • 02-26-17

Simular to Joe's others in the series

Simular to Joe's others but that's what I want, when they are this good, stick to it!

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  • cheryl
  • 02-03-17

too much blood and guts

interesting story but the violence becomes boring and gets in the way of the story