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The Blade Itself Audiobook

The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One

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Publisher's Summary

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.

Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain and shallow, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men. And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all - ideally by running away from it.

But as he's discovering, old habits die hard....especially when Bayaz gets involved. An 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 Glokta, Jezal, and Logen a whole lot more difficult....

©2010 Joe Abercrombie (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group

What Members Say

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  •  
    Mitchell Tweedie 10-11-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome! But where is Book 2?"

    Amazing performance and story, but no book 2 on audible? I shouldn’t have to check if a decade old sequel is on here. Real disappointing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Pittsburgh, PA, United States 09-16-17
    Anne Pittsburgh, PA, United States 09-16-17 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Am I screaming or laughing? "

    *How do I tell the difference?*

    This is a review for all 3 books of the First Law Trilogy:
    *The First Law, it is forbidden to touch The Other Side direct.*

    *The blade itself incites to deeds of violence*- attributed to The Odyssey by Homer

    Book 1 is the best, introducing the 6 main characters: Glotka, Logan, West, Luthar, Bayaz, and Ferro Maljinn.
    Each is totally memorable; their personalities change, grow, mature into something quite different over the course of the trilogy….or perhaps they are slowly revealed to be who they really are down deep where we could not see initially.
    My favorite is always Glotka, miserable, nasty, crippled from years of being a POW but with the most amusing and clever internal monologues carried on continuously with himself; he develops slowly over the course of the 3 novels, evolving into something like a hero.
    *Given the opportunity to torture any one man, any one at all, he would surely have chosen the inventor of steps*

    *We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged*- Heinrich Heine

    Book 2, the adventure for each character is begun; all difficult, bloody, violent and well told:
    Bayaz, Ferro, Logan and Luthar on a quest to the ends of the world; Glotka to defend a city under siege and West to lead a dysfunctional army into war.
    Wonderful, engrossing stories that again contribute to the characters development and eventually lead them all together for book 3.
    *Big men, small men, thin men, fat men, clever men, stupid men, they all respond the same to a fist in the guts. One minute you think you're the most powerful man in the world. The next you can't even breathe by yourself.*

    *The last argument of kings*- reportedly inscribed on Louis XIV ‘s cannons

    Book 3, most of the story lines are wrapped up neatly and satisfyingly.
    In my opinion, the weakest of the 3 books with excessive violence and destruction (through which I frequently fast forwarded); Glotka’s asides were no longer as clever or amusing; Luthar talked far too much and said little; and Bayaz’s true nature was not what I expected at ALL.
    *What is it about power, that it has to be higher up that everyone else? Can a man not be powerful on the ground floor?*

    These are extraordinary books, well thought out, well written, intelligent and thought provoking.
    There is much graphic violence, swearing and sex in all 3….not necessarily adding to the stories.
    The reader was amazing, developing a voice for every character so distinct I could usually identify who was speaking before being told.
    I highly recommend this trilogy; you can just zip through the violence if needed.

    I used * rather than quotes; for whatever reason, some reviews are uploading with odd errors…..such as "Am I screaming or laughing? How do I tell the difference?&quot (I asked Audible to delete my review with errors)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erik 09-08-17
    Erik 09-08-17 Member Since 2016
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    8
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    "Brilliant preformance ny the narrator. "

    I'm really really really upset with audible for not having the remaining books in the series available. I hope that changes promptly! Because the book was great!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob 08-11-17
    Rob 08-11-17
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    2
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    "Slow to start."

    It was slow to start, but for some reason I couldn't stop listening. But once I it got going it was cool to listen to, the narration was excellent, and now I want to find the next book!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JAMES GIDCUMB 06-28-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It Doesn't Get any Better"

    This book/trilogy is in my top 3 of all time. Steven Pacey nails the narration. I think he made an already unique and very well written story much better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taylor 05-31-17
    Taylor 05-31-17
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    6
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    "Fantastic book series"

    I love this book and I believe the narrator does a great job at telling this thrilling story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dug 05-08-17
    Dug 05-08-17
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    3
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    "very good"

    Enjoyed this book a lot.. Can't wait to hear the next book in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hanlie Cape Town, South Africa 04-24-17
    Hanlie Cape Town, South Africa 04-24-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Yes, yes, yes!"
    Would you listen to The Blade Itself again? Why?

    Absolutely! It was engaging and original. I normally tune out during fight sequences, but Abercrombie is masterful at describing the action and he left me gasping at times.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Logen Ninefingers, for sure. I also have high hopes for Glotka.


    Have you listened to any of Steven Pacey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was the first and I liked his narration very much.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Logen carried the apprentice on his back for days. Also when Ferro came back for Logen.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't wait to start on the next one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mattias America 03-05-17
    Mattias America 03-05-17 Member Since 2013
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    52
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    "FANTASTIC"

    Greit story with exciting characters. Amazing narrater that is easy to listen to. I look forward to book 2

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer seattle, wa 03-02-17
    Amazon Customer seattle, wa 03-02-17 Member Since 2017
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    8
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    "best narration ever"

    the narrator is fantastic. very wide variety of voices. I really enjoyed the story. The fighting is more gritty and realistic than many books. The main characters still get hurt in fights and they're not all perfect looking. I can't wait to listen to the next book in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Tom
    West Wickham, United Kingdom
    8/16/10
    Overall
    "Excellent book, superbly narrated"

    I very much enjoyed this book.

    I dont read such Mediaeval fantasy series as a rule. I would guess that the fantasy backdrop, the structure of the plot and the nature of the characters are not that original.

    But this book has three splendid things going for it. First it is very well written - sharp, pacy prose, very well drawn characters, and clever and interesting dialogue, all spiced with plenty of sardonic humour; second, although there is some pretty good action the narrative is very much plot and character driven, - lots of threads to a satisfyingly complicated plot, and you want to know what happens to the people in the story, both goodies and baddies; and third and most important is the narrator Stephen Pacey. I listened to the (free) Audible podcast where he explained that he liked reading audiobooks as he got to play all the characters! Well, he certainly earns his money on this book; expertly paced and varied narration and the huge range of characters is brilliantly drawn and brought to convincing life. He turns what is already a very good book into a great one. If there was an Oscar for narrators he should definitely be on the short list.

    This is part 1 of a trilogy and I am looking forward to parts 2 and 3 - also narrated by Stephen Pacey.

    A five star listen without a doubt.

    70 of 71 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    Chinnor, United Kingdom
    10/18/13
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    "Possibly My Favourite Listen So Far..."

    After "Name of the Wind" and "Wise Man's Fear" I thought I'd possibly heard the best I could in the Fantasy genre (so towards the end of WMF I started to get a little sad about what would come next.)

    Having since listened to a lot of other good audiobooks - this trilogy (I am nearly at the end of the third book) is brilliant. The story (stories really) are involved and detailed, the characters flawed but engaging - and often very funny. It's such a pleasure to read (listen) to books where I don't find myself questioning the things that happen ("how would he manage that?" "she'd never say that" "how could that work") - the story just unfolds, the characters stay true to their short comings - even as they grow in places. Events are portrayed effortlessly.

    All of this is made twice as good by a fantastic performance from Steven Pacey. His reading is such a pleasure to listen to. A large cast, each with distinctive (and similar where appropriate) voices that completely bring the characters to life.

    As I come towards the end of the third book (Last Argument of Kings) I am starting to wonder what comes next in my "audiobook life"...

    39 of 40 people found this review helpful
  • Stefan
    KINGSTON UPON THAMES, United Kingdom
    6/24/11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Be warned... herein lies addiction..."

    and the purchasing of all three books in quick succession.
    I was browsing round for something new to listen to and I was intrigued by the glowing reviews.
    One download and 30 minutes later I was hooked. Two weeks later I'm downloading book three.

    An excellent story, well written and superbly narrated. I cannot fault Steven Pacey in his work. A fantastic job of bringing the characters to life.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • Apollon
    Caterham, Surrey, United Kingdom
    3/8/11
    Overall
    "A well writen, gritty piece of Fantasy fiction."

    Great piece of fiction that is strongly focused around the characters and their stories.
    The Fantasy element of this story is not the focus, but does creep into the story as you progress.
    I like the way the characters flaws are displayed and the internal conflicts that the main characters experience.
    There is also not just one main character, but many, with interwove stories and plots. (Thus the trilogy)

    This Fantasy Fiction story is also written from a fresh perspective that feels more real than fantasy, and all the violence, colourful language and intertwining plots make for an Gritty entertaining adventure....and there are 2 more books to follow! Can't wait to start the next book.

    PS. The Narrator Steven Pacey is Brilliant. He really does a fantastic job with accents, and dramatization.
    The reason I listen to fiction books, (apart from the hands free experience) is because of such narrators that add so much more to an great story.

    30 of 31 people found this review helpful
  • Dwiver
    London
    10/23/10
    Overall
    "Brilliant"

    This is an exciting story with many twists. The characters are beautifully written and totally engrossing.

    The reading is perfect.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Robyn
    Malmesbury, United Kingdom
    1/14/12
    Overall
    "A slow start, but it gets better...."

    I need to review this trilogy in a oner....

    Initially, I found the first book too slow. Too much scene setting and character building for me - I needed more action and kept waiting for it all to come together. However, having completed the trilogy, I now understand why the first book was like it was - and it certainly has its place.

    Great second book - all good action and great pace.

    Third book, I think, is the best of the trilogy - plenty of pace and the story peaks, as expected, BUT, it ends with too many loose ends. Whilst I get why it ended like it did, I needed more.....I was left feeling as though there needs to be a 4th book where the wrongs can be righted and the bad get their come-uppance.

    I'm a massive fan of epic fantasies, and this is just that. It's got loads of action, lots of battle scenes, and plenty of blood and swearing. Not really a "girlie" book (although I have to caveat that with an "I'm a girl and thoroughly enjoyed it" statement). All the characters are well developed, and fairly complex. Interesting how my feelings towards each of them changed as the story progressed and I got to know them better. Is it bizarre that my favourite characters turned out be a torturer and a schizophrenic killer???

    If you're a fan of epics, and have a reasonably strong stomach, then this is highly recommended.
    But if you start with book one, be prepared to go through all three, and then still feel like you haven't got to the end...

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Jeff
    Heswall, Wirral, United Kingdom
    11/9/10
    Overall
    "Superb"

    Superbly written and superbly narrated. A far more intelligent and witty fantasy story than the standard fare; those seeking dwarves, elves or magic rings might be wise to look elsewhere (though there is a smattering of sorcery). I can't recommend it highly enough. Great stuff.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Michael
    Hook, United Kingdom
    8/21/10
    Overall
    "I am still alive!"

    Imagine Dumas and Stendhal were thrown into a dungeon and told to knock out something post-Tolkien with beefed-up sordid realism and judicious dashes of cheek and swearing. Their jailers, Robert E Howard and Raymond Chandler, may add a few bon mots should they feel inclined; and, while they're at it, they should also reanimate Arthur C Clarke for a wonderfully strange segment in the middle. Fortunately we have Joe Abercrombie, so you don't have to.

    To describe the plot may make it seem like many other fantasy fictions out there, but it isn't. It's not the stuff of doom and gloom either. Bayaz the affable wide boy magus, but woe betide you if you disrupt his bath time, has a cunning plan, the ramifications of which presumably play out over the trilogy. To this end he draws in diverse characters to the capital city of the Union (itself about to enter a war on two fronts). Our adventurers are already on the hop before they are drawn in, and, in some cases, beset by hazards both human and somewhat beyond. And it's the somewhat beyond that interests Bayaz. There are numerous intertwining threads beyond this though that reach out across Abercrombie's world. The characters are skillfully drawn---so much so, that the novel could be regarded as fantasy's The Wire.

    Mr Abercrombie, perhaps tapping into his skills as a film editor, brings a seemingly effortless pace to proceedings. There is a sense of reality too: the protagonists seldom leave confrontations unscathed, and even use of magic has a price.

    Which brings us to Steven Pacey. His narration is extraordinarily good. The book has a huge cast, and Mr Pacey imbues each and every one of it, including female characters, with a recognisable and believable voice (so much so, I began to wonder if he had smuggled Sean Locke and Pete Postlethwaite, and many more, into the recording sessions). Yes, Mr Pacey deserves an audio-Oscar (and a proper one too).

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • Will
    Cambridge, United Kingdom
    11/13/11
    Overall
    "Wow."

    I bought this one in a sale on the site since I'd run out of audiobooks and it was a while until my next credit came through. I was not in the least disappointed and will definitely be getting the other books in the trilogy. Abercrombie's interesting and well-characterised world is vividly brought to life by Steven Pacey's fantastic narration. With one exception (Captain Luthar, who I disliked strongly throughout the entire book) the protagonists are all interesting, well-formed and sympathetic, and it's a skilled author indeed who can make a torturer into a complex and likeable character. If you like fantasy, check this out. You're unlikely to regret it.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Chris W
    GREENFORD, United Kingdom
    8/14/11
    Overall
    "Awesome!"

    After looking at these books in countless shops in audio and print and reading about them on many to read lists and not picking them up despite all of this. I finally bit the bullet and bought the audiobooks to listen to at work, this was not a mistake! These have made it onto my top 10 favorite books list along with the song of ice and fire series and the Wheel of Time they really are that good.

    The book is a story of grit and intriguetold from the point of view of the strangest characters ever. Just wait until you meet Inquisitor Glokta!
    The audiobook is well read by Stephen Pacey with a lot of emotion and very recognisable characters just by tone and voice alone.

    Overall a very worthwhile buy!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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