They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.
Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts or even the strongest arms that prevail.
Three men. One battle. No Heroes.
©2011 Joe Abercrombie (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited
Bought this title many moons ago and then wondered why I had done so: didn't bother to start listening. Until, that is, about a couple of weeks ago. At first I was unsure what I had let myself in for but gradually I was mesmerised by the unfolding miserable story of a pointless war fought but meaningless heroes.
Please don't take that as a criticism! The style is delicious, thoughtful and humorous in a very dark way. Don't worry about remembering all the names, ranks or even whose side someone is on - it really doesn't matter!
Whilst this is a dramatic yarn it is also persuasive philosophy.
The enjoyment is hugely enhanced by the masterful narration from the man with a hundred accents, Mr Steven Pacey.
"New recording with the original narrator"
This book was originally sold with a change of narrator from the First Law books however the publisher has taken note and re-recorded this title and the following book with Steven Pacey. If you bought this with the other narrator you can re-download the title and it will be the new version with Steven Pacey. Excellant news given his brilliant performance.
Having listened to all the other books from Joe Abercrombie this was the first and only one I have not really liked. Its OK is about all I could say, It seemed almost like an experimental writing spanning just a few days in the timeline of the book, just not quite enough story for me there I am afraid and really felt a bit slow.
"Great book, sad to see it end."
I?ve just finished The Heroes and would strongly recommend it - terrific, gritty battle scenes and some great gallows humour from the soldiers help to make it an audiobook you can really get immersed it. By the time I finished it, I felt like I was waving goodbye to old friends.
"Disapointing after the First Law Trilogy"
I loved the First Law Trilogy by the same Author, and Stephen Pacey is my favourite narrator, so I eagerly downloaded this title and started to listen with relish.
Overall I was somewhat disappointed with the story, it has none of the character development that the First Law had, and as one reviewer here points out - the characters names and titles are not important. And this is its failing.
You feel no real empathy with the characters, and although the book is set over a very short period it seems to drag to its conclusion. One of the rare times that an abridged version may be preferable.
Can we have another story focused on Glokter please!!!
This is great stuff. Ok, a lot of swearing is involved but some is extremely funny. This book is an exploration of what is a hero, if indeed any such thing actually exists, and - even where it does - does the person subject to that label think of themselves as such.
To maintain a narrative of a battle lasting just 3 days and maintain interest is a feat in itself. Back are some old charaters that minored in the First Law Trilogy, Gorst being the most obvious and of course Caul Shivers from Best Served Cold. The story looks at war generally, why wars are fought, considers if they ever serve any real purpose and, provided you 'look' as you read, you find many other issues to occupy your mind. The battle scenes are excellent as always and this is a superb adition to Joe's already impressive publications.
"Dark & Humourous"
Joe Abercrombie never disappoints!! You know what to expect. A well crafted story that will make you wince and then laugh all in the sentence.The black humour is truly wonderful.
Michael Page makes a superb narrator and really brings the book alive.
A few loose ends will hopefully lead on to a sequel. Hope the waiting will not be too long!
"Nothing like his previous work"
Quite predictable, none of the knife edge moments where the story can go either way like in the last two novels. The relationship developed with most of the characters feels superficial. Especially as most of them seem to do little that is significant. I simply listened to the end to say that I had finished it. Not because I was curious to discover the plot as in the former four stories. Not recommended.
"The best of Joe Abercrombie's books"
some of the reviews put me off initially about how this was set over too short a period of time and it was an experiment by the author, however I found it the most enjoyable of all of Joe Abercrombie's books (which I stumbled across whilst feeling lost, looking for something to replace the whole game of thrones series which I'd just listened to back to back NB Game of Thrones series is fantastic but Steven Pacey is a far superior narrator). I like the lack of magic and I like the 'heroes' on each side of the battle. The work is thought provoking. I'm missing Steven Pacey's voice already and will now no doubt download something else he's narrated with my credit that's just arrived.
"Enjoyable characters but slightly tough read"
I did enjoy this book. As usual Abercrombie does a great job refining characters and the way he brings in minor characters from other stories and makes them more central, while having central characters from other books on the fringe or minor characters does help to bridge the gaps between stories if you like to stick with characters from a series.
I have read all the First Law books and Best Served Cold and this is perhaps my least favourite, probably because of the single setting. That does not make this a bad book just my least favourite Abercrombie book, which still sets it up there on the top shelf of books.
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