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The Heroes (First Law World 2) Paperback – 10 May 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575083859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575083851
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (220 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,038 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

"Lord of the rings as directed by Kurosawa" --- Wall Street Journal."Magnificent, richly entertaining." --- "Time""Abercrombie never glosses over a moment of the madness, passion, and horror of war, nor the tribulations that turn ordinary people into the titular heroes." --- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)"The Heroes is an indictment of war and the duplicity that corrupts men striving for total power: bloody and violent, but never gratuitously so, it's imbued with cutting humour, acute characterisation and world-weary wisdom about the weaknesses of the human race. Brilliant." --- Eric Brown, The Guardian (UK)"Delivered in Abercrombie's trademark witty style ... This is an action-packed novel full of brutality, black humour and razor-sharp characterisation." --- Dave Bradley, SFX (5 star review)"It's an excellent tale and arguably Abercrombie's best book yet ... Its pace really showcases his talent for differently voiced and realistically motivated characters ... any genre fan can enjoy what's one of the best fantasy books of the past year." --- SciFi Now (5 star review)

Book Description

Three men. One battle. No Heroes.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joe Abercrombie has become one of the UK's top fantasy writers after only 5 books. Many suggest he is similar to David Gemmell which I would not agree with, Gemmell's characters had a nobility and sense of right about them, Abercrombie's are lacking in a sense of nobility and justice and have the whole range of emotions and traits including many that are not at all nice.

So while Abercrombie does play in the Gemmell's genre of fantasy with swords and occasional sorcery, Abercrombie is strong on rich and often deliciously self serving characters spun into a violent and unforgiving world. His first three books, the First Law trilogy were a joy, followed up by a standalone novel set in the same world.

The Heroes is his fifth novel and it is an ambitious and unique take on the traditional fantasy battle story. The Heroes as a title is a clever sleight of hand - it refers to a circle of rocks on a hill, not any set of characters involved in the story. The Heroes are the central strategic goal for two opposing armies, The Union and the North and we see a battle over three days from the perspective of many of the participants. Abercrombie is making a few points here and turns the traditional fantasy battle on its blooded head, here there is no great evil to defeat or bigger picture, it's all a bit pointless. The loss of life for a small bit of ground was much like the trench warfare of WW1 with equally poor judgement and waste of life. There are no good guys or bad guys in this, just two opposing forces being slaughtered for nothing more than a pile of rocks. Wrapped in this mess we have a variety of strong and interesting characters and Abercrombie's trademark dialogue and banter.

It takes a while to get used to the vast cast but the effort is rewarded with a strong reminder as to how good a writer Joe Abercrombie is. Not for the fainthearted or those offended by earthy language though!
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Pablo Cheesecake (The Eloquent Page) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Three Men. One Battle. No Heroes.

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie is a standalone novel set in the same world he created for the First Law trilogy. It follows the course of a single battle, over the period of three days, between the forces of the Union and the Northmen. The opposing armies have been dancing around one another for many months but in the valley of Osrung, they finally come together in a definitive clash.

There are three main characters in the novel. Firstly there is Bremer dan Gorst, a disgraced master swordsman fighting in the Union army. He is attempting to reclaim his place in his King's court and will stop at nothing in order to do so.

Next is Curden Craw, a lifelong soldier in the army of the Northmen. He has reached the age where the appeal of battle is swiftly receding. His nerves and knees are shot and he wants nothing more than peace.

Finally there is Prince Calder, considered a coward by many, he is only interested in power and how best to avoid getting involved in all the fighting. His father was once king of the Northmen and Calder continues to crave the throne.

It is fantastic to read and discover the metamorphosis of these men over the battles duration. Each are forced to face hard facts about themselves and I don't think any end up where they would have expected when the battle began.

The battle itself is a brutal, bloody, frenetic affair and nothing is sugar coated. Men are violently dispatched and little is left to the imagination. The action is merciless and I think the novel is all the better for it. Many readers will be used to a battle in a fantasy novel having an almost clinical description. Abercrombie doesn't write that way.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steve D on 29 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
I read Joe Abercrombie's 'First Law Trilogy' a couple of years back and, whilst I enjoyed it, I was slightly puzzled as to why he was being praised so highly. The Heroes has changed that. It is a tour de force, one of those rare books that I didn't want to end, and that I lay awake thinking about after I finished it last night.

The 'Heroes' of the title are not the characters in the novel - they are a circle of standing stones perched atop a hill in a contested valley, and the high ground that becomes the focus of the ensuing battle between the Northmen and the Union. Some of the characters are carried over from his previous books, but the novel can be read on its own without detriment - I recognised some of the names but, apart from Bayaz, didn't really remember what they'd done before. And some - no, all - of the characters here are brilliant, fully developed, interesting, sympathetic and believable.

Even though the blurb mentions three particular men, there are many more characters involved, and I loved the way Abercrombie introduced them and then gradually fleshed them out, in all cases totally subverting my expectations of them. Particular favourites: Caul Shivers, Black Dow's enforcer, scarred, one-eyed and exuding menace in a constant whisper; and Whirrun of Bligh, Craw's friend from far to the north and wielder of the Father of Swords, a weapon almost as long as he is tall, and possessing so much history that it rivals Dragnipur in the Malazan novels. To me, both of those characters almost deserve books of their own. Then there's Finree, the ambitious daughter of the Union's Lord Marshall, who has plans for her husband's rise in the political stakes, and is involved in one of the most terrifying, heart-stopping set-pieces I've yet read in a novel.
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