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Last Argument Of Kings: The First Law: Book Three Paperback – 18 Mar 2010

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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: £20.67

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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (18 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575091118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575091115
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 4.7 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 240,923 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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The bestselling fantasy trilogy, from one of Gollancz's biggest authors, is back as you've never seen it before.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GOTTON on 9 Oct 2013
Format: Paperback
The Last Argument of Kings really is a difficult book to review.

On the one hand I want to give it the best review I possibly can because, just as with the previous two novels, Joe Abercrombie has produced a well written tale with brilliant characters and an unforgettable world. Throw on top of that the unbelievable number of twists thrown into this novel and I found myself loving every moment of it. Whilst a lot of those twists you will see coming a mile off, they only serve to mask all the other countless twists that will genuinely take you by surprise.

However, on the other hand this book suffers from a hugely unsatisfying ending. There was about a hundred pages to go when I started to suspect that I wouldn't be happy with how things were going to finish. The story was winding down and there were just so many unresolved story lines that I couldn't imagine them all being summed up. The sad fact is that none of them were, at least not to a finality. I finished this book wondering if this really was the end of a trilogy or if maybe it is just a middle book of a series waiting upon the next.

Continuing his trend of brutal writing that kind of hints that there will not be any happy endings for his characters, we are left feeling that no one has come out the happier for the experiences in this novel, save maybe one whom I won't name right now to saving spoiling the ending for those who haven't read it. There was a time when I would have called this kind of writing brave being as we are in a world where most tales finish with a happy ending. However in recent times there have been a large number of these gritty books that aim for a brutal realism that leaves most stories unhappy and the sad trend in them all is that there are no happy endings for anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. L. Palmer on 16 April 2008
Format: Paperback
Say he is a very talented writer indeed. LAOK is the final chapter of the first law series, and just like its predecessors it is a marvelous read. Again we follow the stories of, 'The Bloody-Nine', Sand Dan Glokta, Jezal Dan Luthar, Ferro, Byaz and the northmen, amongst others, and each is written splendidly, each character seems to come alive and is very individual and we get a sense of this throughout the series.
I am not going to spoil the plot as it is always better to get there yourself, but suffice to say, as other reviewers have before me, that if you are looking for a clean cut black and white tale of good vs evil, look elsewhere. Abercrombie isn't interested in good people and bad people, just people and their capacity for both good and evil, you will find yourself loving characters that when you really stop and think about who they are and what they represent, you shouldn't. In one particular character (Jezal) if you read the whole series, you will go from loathing, to respect, to pity all in the space of three books, and this really is testament to JA and his skill in charecterisation.
The first law series however isn't a blood thirsty romp of death and foul language, it deals with the ambiguous nature of hero's and villains in a way that only the late David Gemmell did before. It also however twists politics and moral conundrums in a way reminiscent of George R R Martin.
A lot has been made about how this book ends, and honestly it is perfect for what it is, it would be a huge cop out for Abercrombie to take the easy road of happily ever after, and anyway I have a sneaking suspicion that we aren't by any means done with the Angland or its occupants.
Overall this book is a shining example of what fantasy fiction can and should be it isn't over the top on magic and monsters, it has a plethora of interesting characters, and it is a very good read often funny, never dull, always exciting.

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Cartimand TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 April 2009
Format: Paperback
...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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