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He's getting better and better,
This review is from: Red Country (First Law World 3) (Hardcover)
I have read all his books and this is the best.
The first law trilogy is perhaps better overall for scope and diverstity of characters (I can still hear Glokta's voice ringing in my ears) but Joe's abilities (always considerable) are improving (in my humble opinion) if that's possible.
Cosca's dialogue drips with sarcasm and cynicism to such an extent (never overdone) that I marvel at how Joe finds the time to produce such rich prose in such a short period of time. You can almost 'feel' Lamb's slumped shoulders at the start of the tale, his somber and shameful self image.
The bloodshed also feels more real this time round. Joe's always been great at action scenes and the nitty gritty of death and dying. He's been accused of trivialising such suffering in the past (and no doubt there'll be similar accusations here ...as always) but, though I have no personal experience of such matters, it reads VERY real indeed; believable and all the more moving and shocking for it. There's a fabulous scene near the start where Cosca has just sacked a small town, a mercenary is mounting rebel head on spikes when he adds the head of a dog to the rogues gallery. He proceeds to dress it up in a shirt and tie and finds the whole charade highly amusing. Brilliant.
The story moves at a good pace and you're always wondering what's going to happen to Lamb and if good old Caul Shivers will get what he wants (I won't say move in case of spoilers).
Joe's work has always been a fine wine to savour. Believe it or not, he's getting better with age. This is top, top quality fantasy.