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The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One: 1 Paperback – 1 Oct 2009


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Frequently Bought Together

The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One: 1 + Before They Are Hanged: The First Law: Book Two: 2 + Last Argument Of Kings: The First Law: Book Three
Price For All Three: £20.67

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575091088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575091085
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 3.5 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (314 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,816 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

Standalone:

Best Served Cold

Product Description

Review

I might not end up marrying this book, but I'm certainly infatuated with it right at the moment. It's delicious, the characters sharply drawn and their motivations believable, the clash of cultures (always particularly difficult for an author to pull off) believable as well. (Lilith Saintcrow)

There is a gritty edge to his world and an awareness of the human cost of violence that is very contemporary (The Times)

Delightfully twisted and evil (The Guardian)

The Blade Itself is a page-turner powered by a combination of fast-paced action and juicy doses of cynicism. Perhaps more remarkable, however, is the way Abercrombie sets the scene (Edge Magazine)

There's a fat vein of cynicism and dark humour throughout. The action scenes are fast-paced and the violence takes its toll both mentally and physically. A great start to a long journey' (Dreamwatch)

You'd never guess that The Blade Itself is Joe Abercrombie's debut novel. He writes like a natural. There are great characters, sparky dialogue, an action-packed plot, and from the very first words and an opening scene that is literally a cliff-hanger, you know you are in for a cheeky, vivid, exhilarating ride (Starburst)

An admirably hard, fast and unpretentious read from debut author Joe Abercrombie. Packs a mean punch in the bloodthirsty mayhem and mystery departments. Crammed full of torture, vengeance and bad behaviour, it's a lively tale of savagery vs. civilisation. The Blade Itself may not reinvent the wheel, but it does serve up a whole banquet of violent action and intrigue' (SFX)

The star of the show is doubtlessly Inquisitor Glotka for simply being one of the most wonderfully bitter and cynical characters I've come across. With a very funny and clever internal monologue going on during every conversation he has, Glotka's as miserable and nasty at the end as he was to start with and, especially in a heroic fantasy novel, it works perfectly (SF Crowsnest) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The best-selling fantasy trilogy, from one of Gollancz' biggest authors, is back as you've never seen it before

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 144 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Sep 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At first glance The Blade Itself is pretty old-school: it's book one of a trilogy (entitled The First Law; the second volume, Before They Are Hanged, is out now, to be followed by The Last Argument of Kings in March 2008), it features an old wizard mentor character and a barbarian hero as well as an untried youth, a feisty young woman and an army of nasty barbarians on the march in the north, whilst a resurgent desert empire threatens our heroes' homeland - the Midderland Union - from the south. There's also the threat of a non-human species gathering its forces beyond the northern-most reach of humankind's lands (isn't there always?).

Yet Abercrombie invests these storylines with vigour and energy. None of our heroes are quite what they first appear to be and the author expertly deconstructs them throughout the book, revealing their true motivations when you last expect it. Abercrombie is also a dab hand are writing excellent battle scenes and swordfights. There is also a hint of otherwordly alieness in this book, such as the scenes set in the House of the Maker which are quite memorable. The only major complaint I had about the book is the lack of a map. Most fantasy novels with a map don't really need them, but with military campaigns getting underway it would be nice to tell exactly where Adua is in relation to the Northlands, and where both are in relation to Dagoska, for example. But this is a minor complaint at best.

By the end of the book the pace has been ramped up to a compelling level, as our heroes depart in different directions to face their various destinies and full-scale war seems about to erupt on all sides. The Blade Itself is a tremendously enjoyable novel and I count myself fortunate to have read it late enough in the day to only have a brief wait for the second book.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful By SteveA (UK) on 29 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
Joe Abercrombie was recommended to me by a friend who has also been reading fantasy for a long time. He knew I was a huge fan of David Gemmell and said there were some similarities between his and Abercrombie's work; a certain level of grittiness, grey characters and an unpredictable plot. If Brent Weeks writes dark fantasy or crime fantasy, then Abercrombie's is definitely gritty fantasy or maybe blunt force trauma fantasy. Marketing people love labels, and sometimes they can be annoying, but in this case it tells you exactly what to expect. A shock to the system that will leave you reeling and bloody afterwards.

At first you might think The Blade Itself is a Me Too book as two of the characters are a battered warrior and a cranky old wizard. However, another main character is a torturer, someone who was himself a victim of torture, so much so that he is now crippled and in constant pain. And if someone were to kill him it would almost be a relief, because there would be an end to his daily suffering. Glokta was a former golden boy, a swordsman of renown who was captured by the enemy and broken in their cells. He didn't slaughter an army single-handed and fight his way home. If that's the kind of fantasy story you're expecting then look elsewhere. What emerged from the enemy cells not only looked different but inside Glokta was a new, very twisted man. This bitterness might sound depressing but in fact Glokta's dark sense of humour and internal monologue is some of the funniest material in the series. In any good book, no matter the genre, if it's dark you need some comedy or an undercurrent of black comedy to make it less depressing and Glokta delivers this.

What emerged for me throughout this book is how human Abercrombie makes his characters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dondero on 29 May 2009
Format: Paperback
I decided to give this book a go having read some favourable reviews on a fantasy literature website, and having got somewhat bored of the traditional fantasy genre.

I really enjoyed this book, the characters were well written with strong personalities, and the plot was full of mystery and intrigue. My favourite character would have to be Inquisitioner Glokta, his cynicism and sarcasm made me laugh out loud at times. Each of the characters seems to have an interesting history, and how they all mesh together makes for a gripping read.

This is an excellent debut novel, and sets the scene well for the second book in the series, which I'm really looking forward to reading. I'm expecting great things of it!

I'd recommend this book for anyone who's feeling a bit jaded about the typical fantasy template that most authors these days seem to churn out. There's still plenty of swords and sorcery here, but written in a modern and refreshing way!
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By G. C. McGlothlen on 31 Jan 2009
Format: Paperback
Usually when a book has many good reviews and I agree with them, I don't bother adding my voice to the throng. However, in this case I'll make an exception because I enjoyed this trilogy enormously. Not what I'd call hardcore fantasy, but a great story set in a fantasy environment. Many others here have sung the praises of these books in detail. What really sets them apart from most fiction I've read - the characters. Outstanding. Superb. The most interesting, funny, realistic, complex characters I've read in a long time. I think I read someone compared the author's writing to Dickens. I thought - come on - are you insane? After reading this, I think they must've been talking about the characters. Truly Mr. Abercrombie is in the same parish as Dickens when it comes to characters. Sand den Glokta is the most interesting character I've ever read outside Dickens. Jezel, Ardee, "Ninefingers" the Dogman... all great. After reading this along with "Before They are Hanged" and "Last Argument of Kings", I'm looking forward to his next book.
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