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Last Argument Of Kings: The First Law: Book Three [Paperback]

Joe Abercrombie BA
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
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Book Description

12 Mar 2009 FIRST LAW

The end is coming.

Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him ¿ but it¿s going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm, and there¿s only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy. It¿s past time for the Bloody-Nine to come home.

With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no-one is safe, and no-one can be trusted. His days with a sword are far behind him. It¿s a good thing blackmail, threats and torture still work well enough.

Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is far too painful, and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too, and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on a man when he least expects it.

While the King of the Union lies on his deathbead, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No-one believes that the shadow of war is falling across the very heart of the Union. The First of the Magi has a plan to save the world, as he always does. But there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, after all, than to break the First Law . . .

Frequently Bought Together

Last Argument Of Kings: The First Law: Book Three + Before They Are Hanged: The First Law: Book Two: 2 + The Blade Itself: Book One Of The First Law (Gollancz S.F.): 1
Price For All Three: 24.54

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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (12 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575084162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575084162
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,377 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


"Last Argument of Kings signs off the trilogy on a high, interspersing breathless skirmishes with thriller-like moments. You should always end with the best. Wow them in the final act, make the last chorus a belter, build to a climax and them get them on their feet applauding when the curtain falls. Last Argument of Kings is the textbook example of this theory in practice." (Dave Bradley SFX)

For any writer to produce work of this quality is superb; that this sequence marks a debut is all the more remarkable. The First Law (trilogy) is, I strongly believe, a seminal work of modern fantasy. It is a benchmark sequence that should be regarded as an example of all that is truly great in today's genre fiction. It stands way above the vast majority of the marketplace. It's damn good stuff! (John Berylne SF REVU)

"Breathtaking moments, great characters and grim laughs makes this a cut about your average fantasy. Joe Abercrombie's First Law series has had tired fantasy readers sitting up in pleasant surprise. And rightly so. Abercrombie is a fantasy writer who can really write. Last Argument of Kings is tightly plotted, has wit and style to spare, and in the Barbarian Logen and the Inquisitor Glotka it has two of the best fantasy creations of recent years." (Gideon Kibbleworth DEATHRAY)

All in all it has been one of the most incredible, twisted, inventive and above all utterly enjoyable fantasy reading experiences I've had in a very, very long time . . . Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say he knows how to tell a bloody good tale. (

Last Argument of Kings delivers exactly what this trilogy needed: a no-holds-barred war story in which secrets are exposed, mysteries are explained and the author resolutely refuses to pull any punches. The ending is superb, particularly the tremendously satisfying epilogue and the final scene. Last Argument of Kings is a more than worthy conclusion to this trilogy. (THE WERTZONE)

The trilogy as a whole has crept gradually away from the standard fantasy template and gained a very unique feel. Having said this, for a book so different to Tolkien's, I'm going to make yet another Tolkien comparison - the aftermath and bittersweet ending has a very similar tone to the end of Lord of the Rings. each book in this trilogy has shown a distinct improvement, and with this fantastic concluding volume, I'd even go as far as to say it's become one of my favourite series. (SANDSTORM REVIEWS)

He's written something not far short of a masterpiece, something special. Last Argument of Kings has everything you could ask for: huge battles, political intrigue, masterly characterisation and surprises by the bucket-load. This book will by turns shock you, excite you, make you laugh, and above all entertain you. (SPECULATIVE HORIZONS)

Abercrombie is headed for superstar status (JEFF VANDERMEER)

Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say he knows how to close a trilogy with panache. The final novel in The First Law trilogy, Last Argument of Kings, is without a doubt the strongest novel in the cycle and, indeed, one of the strongest finishes to a trilogy I¿ve come across in a long time. Joe Abercrombie has cemented himself at the top of the heap as one of the most consistent, fresh and exciting new voices in fantasy. (A DRIBBLE OF INK (website))

"Last Argument of Kings concludes The First Law the way it began: with cynicism, blackly comic repartee and non-stop, bloody action." (Barbara Davies STARBURST)

Abercrombie¿s talent for developing believable characters and changing the tone and voice of each chapter according to the point of view is a joy to read. Although he takes familiar fantasy staples, he manages to avoid coming off as a cheap hack reinventing Tolkien. A solidly written finale, rich with Abercrombie¿s trademark dark humour and great dialogue, that finishes with a decidedly downbeat ending. (Den Patrick DREAMWATCH) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Striking, character-driven and cynical noir fantasy.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Say one thing about Joe Abercrombie ... 4 April 2009
...say he spins a damn good yarn.

In fact, for my money, Abercrombie has delivered quite simply the most memorable and satisfying fantasy saga since the original Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

Last Argument of Kings skilfully draws together the diverse threads into a breathtaking finale. We have some sex, some explicit torture, intrigue and stunning revelations aplenty, battles on an epic scale and some incredibly vivid descriptions of how it must feel to become a berserker. We also have more than a few laughs along the way. If you're a fan of the swords and sorcery genre, you may well remark on the absence of any maps at the front of the novel. Abercrombie cheekily engages with the reader by letting one of his characters comment on how she hates books with maps. Nice touch!

More so with this novel than its predecessors, I got a distinct feel that the warring factions hint at historical conflicts between Islam and the West. The 'Gurkish' certainly have vaguely arab-sounding names, aim to force the Union to worship god in their manner and the word 'Crusade' is even used on one occasion. Whether this was Abercrombie's intention or not I don't know, but it adds a further element to the saga. Indeed, somewhat like the Crusades, the labels of right and wrong frequently get blurred. It is in this splendid ambiguity that the power of Abercrombie's story-telling lies. The nearest thing we have to a conventional hero is Jezal - but he remains a coward at heart. We dally a long time with the witty Glokta - and yet he is a ruthless torturer. Logan, Dogman, Bayaz, Ardee, West, even previous bit-players like Pike all have their splendidly rounded characters develop yet further in this superb novel.

Don't expect a feel-good ending. What I can promise you though, is a spectacular, memorable and realistic ending to this deliciously cynical and ironic, but above all, very human, saga.

Great stuff!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very dark, very funny and very violent 15 July 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the series and this is a great conclusion to the trilogy. This one is darker than the previous 2. There are sinister overtones throughout the book.

Life feels bleak in this book at times. Can a man really change? Logen Ninefingers is constantly facing the question, as is Superior Glokta and Jezal.

The characters are still well written and immensely likable. If you enjoy dark humour you will find this book to be one of your favourites. I'm not sure I enjoyed the outcomes/revelations for Bayaz and Ferro. But the book was a great read overall and the finished most things up perfectly. A couple of twists towards the end, and I have to say I am an Abercrombie fan after reading these. Highly recommended!
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOTR meets Guy Ritchie 14 May 2008
If you buy this trilogy expecting pages of epic landscapes alive with giants, goblins, dragons and bestrode by shining heroes in silver armour sat on magnificent horses wielding magic swords dealing out death and destruction to an evil meglamaniac and his hordes of minions, you will be sadly dissappointed. Also if you like your books full of song lyrics, poems, family trees and elvish alphabets you will be equally dissappointed. Our author even declines to prefix the action with the usual obligatory badly drawn map!

No, Abercrombie's world is a world made of men. Their actions, emotions desires, words, triumphs, failings, smells and innards. The author takes you through the story from the various points of view of the main charactors, and what a collection of charactors they are, beautifully fleshed out, 3D and brought to life so that I almost expected to meet them whilst out walking the dog in the woods. The major benefit of this style is that you never tire of one charactor and you ride along behind their eyes so you know and understand their motives and grow to love and sympathise with them even though they are cabable of the dreadful.

Don't get me wrong, there is much here the hackneyed fantasy reader will recognise. A grizzled campaigner, a young handsome swordsman, an ancient arch magi, a torturer, a beautiful girl and a host of barbarian tribesman. However all given a refreshing twist. The swordsman is a cowardly, self obsessed snob. The grizzled campaigner is oft possessed by a 'beserker' alter ego who is as likey to kill his best friend as his worst enemy and the beautiful girl is a slightly tarty 'low-born' with an inclination to hit the bottle.

Potential buyers of a sensitive nature be warned the writing style is more Guy Ritchie than Tolkien.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. 25 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This has been the most enjoyable fantasy sequence I have read in a very long time.

Mr Abercrombie has the knack of making the loathsome lovable and the most villainous wretch a sympathetic protagonist.

Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say he's a finer writer!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New High in Low Fantasy 20 Jun 2011
Here's a quote that any fantasy author would want in their inside cover, "the best fantasy trilogy since Lord of the Rings." This is exactly what Joe Abercrombie can now put in his `First Law' trilogy; the unfortunate thing will be that the quote is from a random Amazon reviewer i.e. me. Despite my lowly status I am a keen science fiction and fantasy reader so I believe my opinion still counts and that Abercrombie has created the best set of fantasy books for years. As a threesome `The First Law' is an epic saga, but like all stories, they must come to an end. `The Last Argument of Kings' is in many ways a fitting finale as it has more action and battle sequences than the previous books combined, but it also suffers somewhat from the curse of `the end'.

As a set `The First Law' is a new high mark in low fantasy. Abercrombie's fantasy world is gritty and feels real, magic is replaced by dirt and evil. In many ways `Last Argument' reverses this trend as is the most fantastical yet; magic becomes far more prominent towards the end. The battle sections between mages and wizards etc did not sit comfortable with the 1500 pages of the series beforehand. Previously, magic was hinted at, even seen briefly, but it could always be explained as mysticism. By the end magic is very real and these sequences are amongst the most convoluted and confused in the trilogy.

Issues do not end here. Abercrombie revels in his grimy fantasy world, but the book draws some bleak conclusions. The `good' characters were never likely to prevail more than the `bad' characters, but almost everyone takes such a pounding that you can't help feeling a little deflated. Despite the downbeat nature of the book, it does not detract from how awesome Abercrombie's writing is.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Downbeat
I think we got the "Life isn't fair" message a long time ago but it's still being hammered home here. Read more
Published 3 days ago by M. King
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an ending, more a never-ending pause
After going through the whole trilogy, and enjoying most of it, I found the ending exceptionally disappointing - in fact it wasn't an ending, more like a never-ending pause. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Martin Woodrow
1.0 out of 5 stars Where is the ending?
I can only think that deadline day arrived for Mr Abercrombie's book, so he just stopped where he was. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Gary P. Chapman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 17 days ago by david holman
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Any fan of Cornwell or Martin will enjoy this book and the trilogy. Hope the bloody nine makes another appearance.
Published 23 days ago by Peter Gibbons
5.0 out of 5 stars say one thing...
Say one thing about the first law trilogy, say it'll keep you going to the very last.
A perfect blend of dark humour, intrigue and adventure start to finish!
Published 2 months ago by Scott Mooney
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
this trillogy is a good solid page turner. some of the characters may seem a little 2 dimensional but that's perhaps because the main ones are so interesting. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
Fantastic trilogy leaving it open for more I hope that there is a follow up to this trilogy to close some of the loose ends left.
Published 2 months ago by josh s
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read.
Loving this story, I'm on my 4th Abercombie book now, all very good. Highly recommended for anyone who also enjoyed Game of Thrones.
Published 2 months ago by P. McCafferty
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent end to the trilogy
as ive already said about books 1 & 2 in this trilogy, i loved reading these books the characters and story lines were superb, no punches held. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jetvan2312
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