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Half a King (Shattered Sea, Book 1) Hardcover – 3 Jul 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; 1st edition (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007550200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007550203
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.4 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

UK fantasy writer Joe Abercrombie is the author of the First Law Trilogy: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings, as well as the standalone fantasy Best Served Cold.

Joe now lives in Bath with his wife, Lou, and his daughters Grace and Eve. He still occasionally edits concerts and music festivals for TV, but spends most of his time writing edgy yet humorous fantasy novels.

Here are the First Law Trilogy in series order:

The Blade Itself
Before They Are Hanged
The Last Argument of Kings


Best Served Cold

Product Description


‘Abercrombie writes fantasy like no one else’ Guardian

‘This is my favourite Abercrombie book yet’ PATRICK ROTHFUSS

‘Joe Abercrombie is fast becoming my favourite writer. HALF A KING is a remarkable achievement — thrilling, enthralling, and relentless. The action is frenetic, the characters are as sharp as the blades they wield, and the humour is biting. It's sure to garner him a whole new legion of fans’ DEREK LANDY

‘Perhaps his most technically proficient novel yet, I dare you to read the first chapter and try not to turn the next page. Some wondered if what makes Joe Abercrombie so different would survive the transition to YA. Abercrombie fans, have no fear: Polished and sharp, the un-adult-rated Abercrombie is still unadulterated Abercrombie’ BRENT WEEKS

‘Enthralling. An up-all-night read’ ROBIN HOBB

‘HALF A KING can be summed up in a single word: Masterpiece’ MYKE COLE

‘With eye-popping plot twists and rollicking good action, HALF A KING is definitely a full adventure’ RICK RIORDAN

About the Author

Joe Abercrombie was born in Lancaster on the last day of 1974, the son of an English teacher and a sociologist. He spent much of his youth in imaginary worlds, and left school with a good idea of how to make stuff up. He moved to the big city, learned to brew tea, and ended up as a TV editor, working on documentaries, events and concerts for bands from Iron Maiden to Coldplay. But in the darkness of the night he was still making stuff up, and his first book, The Blade Itself, was published in 2006. He now lives in Bath with his wife Lou and their three children Grace, Eve and Teddy and makes stuff up full-time.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Parm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 July 2014
Format: Hardcover

Joe Abercrombie is one of “THE” authors in the fantasy genre, the first law series is one of the best series in the last 10 years. But for me the first law world series seemed a slow decline, maybe it was due to an expectation set too high? but after Red Country i was really struggling to read another book.

But when the wonderful Jane Johnson starts to spread the word about an exciting new book its hard not to catch that infectious excitement. It was thanks to that lovely lady that i found myself the proud owner of an advance copy of Half a King, even then i had to fight my TBR (to be read) pile and reticence, Then we hit the week of release and i knew i owed both Jane and Joe a read of the book.

I’m so glad i did, While the setting and the people are not Norse the whole world has a very Norse feel to it, the culture and mindset is very much a Norse / Vikingr group. The men are fighters, honour and blood are key to their world. When Yarvi finds himself first a King, then a slave he must learn to overcome his weakness and fight for his vengeance, too fulfill his oaths. As ever with an Abercrombie book there is never just one great character, we are spoiled, from the main group of oarmates to the side characters, Kings, soldiers and ministers, there are so many great nuances in each and every character.

This was a trip back to the early writing wonder of Abercrombie, i was swamped with the tale, taken on board and tied to an oar, flung into the frozen sea and driven to my limits with my oarmates. All of this Joe manages in such a way as to entertain and enthrall the reader, at no point did i think the book was a Young adult read, and looking back on it i can see its a book for any age, YA through to old farts like me.

Highly recommended

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am a massive fan of this talented writer. Given his reputation for dark, realistic and adult fantasy I was interested to see how this would translate into a "Joe lite" YA novel.
So, heir to throne has a deformed hand and a lack of agression, so of course his uncle tries to kill him and then steals the throne. Our hero swears revenge and then has a journey of personal growth and gathers an odd group of friends as he gets the chance to take back his kingdom.
Taking the full grit out of the novel does water down what Mr Abercrombie is so good at, but this is still very readable. The author does not really do heroes, his characters tend to be very grounded and deal with what's in front of them.
So our half a King' survives by wit and not brawn and with some very odd companions. This Joe lite novel does feature the humour, the characterisation and the twists of his normal works, but by going 'lite' it does take a little something away that takes this into the less than outstanding novels we have become accustomed to.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By DRFP on 3 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
"Whatever your questions my answer is steel."

Joe Abercrombie is one of the biggest names in modern fantasy. His first First Law trilogy more than filled the void left by that other titan in the genre George RR Martin whilst the 'Song of Ice and Fire' creator wrestled with his "Merenese knot" between 2001 and 2011. The First Law was a grim and gritty series, that was also darkly funny, and it cleverly subverted many of the tropes that had once upon a time made fantasy seem such a stale realm of writing.

However, since his original trilogy Abercrombie has seemed somewhat lost, unable to decide what next. 'Best Served Cold', arguably his most well written work (at least in terms of prose), seemed to point at a way forward, hinting we might see the other side of the conflict we had witnessed in the First Law books - the Gurkish perspective. But what followed next in 'The Heroes' was instead a retread of a conflict we had already witnessed before: a Union versus The North battle devoid of the emotional context provided by the campaign that unfolded in the First Law.

If 'The Heroes' already felt derivative then 'Red Country' seemed to hint that Abercrombie was well and truly running on fumes by 2012. The squalor, the grim nature of the setting and his characters, the terse verbal barbs - all hallmarks of the author - were now turned up to 11 in a novel that felt like Joe Abercrombie trying his damndest to write a Joe Abercrombie book, with the inevitable result that the book felt tired and forced (and full far too much of the author's love of 'Deadwood', 'Red Dead Redemption', and Westerns in general).

Because of the above, I wasn't disheartened when the author stated he was taking a break from the First Law world to write a new young adult trilogy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Half a King is a generally well written and extremely engaging fantasy epic. Engaging characters, good plotlines and enough twists to keep it moving. It only suffers in comparison to some of Joe Abercrombie's other works which are amongst some of the best fantasy I have ever read. The plotline of Half a King is also just a little bit too disturbingly close to Disney's The Lion King for long periods of time, but fortunately it eventually shakes that off, and leaves one ready and waiting for the next book in the series.
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