Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.
Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain and shallow, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men. And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all - ideally by running away from it. But as he's discovering, old habits die hard ...... especially when Bayaz gets involved. An old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult . . .
©2010 Joe Abercrombie; ©2010 Orion Publishing Group
"Excellent book, superbly narrated"
I very much enjoyed this book.
I dont read such Mediaeval fantasy series as a rule. I would guess that the fantasy backdrop, the structure of the plot and the nature of the characters are not that original.
But this book has three splendid things going for it. First it is very well written - sharp, pacy prose, very well drawn characters, and clever and interesting dialogue, all spiced with plenty of sardonic humour; second, although there is some pretty good action the narrative is very much plot and character driven, - lots of threads to a satisfyingly complicated plot, and you want to know what happens to the people in the story, both goodies and baddies; and third and most important is the narrator Stephen Pacey. I listened to the (free) Audible podcast where he explained that he liked reading audiobooks as he got to play all the characters! Well, he certainly earns his money on this book; expertly paced and varied narration and the huge range of characters is brilliantly drawn and brought to convincing life. He turns what is already a very good book into a great one. If there was an Oscar for narrators he should definitely be on the short list.
This is part 1 of a trilogy and I am looking forward to parts 2 and 3 - also narrated by Stephen Pacey.
A five star listen without a doubt.
"A well writen, gritty piece of Fantasy fiction."
Great piece of fiction that is strongly focused around the characters and their stories.
The Fantasy element of this story is not the focus, but does creep into the story as you progress.
I like the way the characters flaws are displayed and the internal conflicts that the main characters experience.
There is also not just one main character, but many, with interwove stories and plots. (Thus the trilogy)
This Fantasy Fiction story is also written from a fresh perspective that feels more real than fantasy, and all the violence, colourful language and intertwining plots make for an Gritty entertaining adventure....and there are 2 more books to follow! Can't wait to start the next book.
PS. The Narrator Steven Pacey is Brilliant. He really does a fantastic job with accents, and dramatization.
The reason I listen to fiction books, (apart from the hands free experience) is because of such narrators that add so much more to an great story.
"Be warned... herein lies addiction..."
and the purchasing of all three books in quick succession.
I was browsing round for something new to listen to and I was intrigued by the glowing reviews.
One download and 30 minutes later I was hooked. Two weeks later I'm downloading book three.
An excellent story, well written and superbly narrated. I cannot fault Steven Pacey in his work. A fantastic job of bringing the characters to life.
I bought this one in a sale on the site since I'd run out of audiobooks and it was a while until my next credit came through. I was not in the least disappointed and will definitely be getting the other books in the trilogy. Abercrombie's interesting and well-characterised world is vividly brought to life by Steven Pacey's fantastic narration. With one exception (Captain Luthar, who I disliked strongly throughout the entire book) the protagonists are all interesting, well-formed and sympathetic, and it's a skilled author indeed who can make a torturer into a complex and likeable character. If you like fantasy, check this out. You're unlikely to regret it.
This is an exciting story with many twists. The characters are beautifully written and totally engrossing.
The reading is perfect.
Superbly written and superbly narrated. A far more intelligent and witty fantasy story than the standard fare; those seeking dwarves, elves or magic rings might be wise to look elsewhere (though there is a smattering of sorcery). I can't recommend it highly enough. Great stuff.
"I am still alive!"
Imagine Dumas and Stendhal were thrown into a dungeon and told to knock out something post-Tolkien with beefed-up sordid realism and judicious dashes of cheek and swearing. Their jailers, Robert E Howard and Raymond Chandler, may add a few bon mots should they feel inclined; and, while they're at it, they should also reanimate Arthur C Clarke for a wonderfully strange segment in the middle. Fortunately we have Joe Abercrombie, so you don't have to.
To describe the plot may make it seem like many other fantasy fictions out there, but it isn't. It's not the stuff of doom and gloom either. Bayaz the affable wide boy magus, but woe betide you if you disrupt his bath time, has a cunning plan, the ramifications of which presumably play out over the trilogy. To this end he draws in diverse characters to the capital city of the Union (itself about to enter a war on two fronts). Our adventurers are already on the hop before they are drawn in, and, in some cases, beset by hazards both human and somewhat beyond. And it's the somewhat beyond that interests Bayaz. There are numerous intertwining threads beyond this though that reach out across Abercrombie's world. The characters are skillfully drawn---so much so, that the novel could be regarded as fantasy's The Wire.
Mr Abercrombie, perhaps tapping into his skills as a film editor, brings a seemingly effortless pace to proceedings. There is a sense of reality too: the protagonists seldom leave confrontations unscathed, and even use of magic has a price.
Which brings us to Steven Pacey. His narration is extraordinarily good. The book has a huge cast, and Mr Pacey imbues each and every one of it, including female characters, with a recognisable and believable voice (so much so, I began to wonder if he had smuggled Sean Locke and Pete Postlethwaite, and many more, into the recording sessions). Yes, Mr Pacey deserves an audio-Oscar (and a proper one too).
After looking at these books in countless shops in audio and print and reading about them on many to read lists and not picking them up despite all of this. I finally bit the bullet and bought the audiobooks to listen to at work, this was not a mistake! These have made it onto my top 10 favorite books list along with the song of ice and fire series and the Wheel of Time they really are that good.
The book is a story of grit and intriguetold from the point of view of the strangest characters ever. Just wait until you meet Inquisitor Glokta!
The audiobook is well read by Stephen Pacey with a lot of emotion and very recognisable characters just by tone and voice alone.
Overall a very worthwhile buy!
The book is great, that goes without saying, but it's the narrator I wish to praise here. He is by far the best narrator I have ever listened too, every character is given a distinct and unique voice, so much so that it is sometimes hard to believe it is all the same man speaking. He understands the tone and humour of the books perfectly and delivers each line exactly as the author intended. Inquisitor Glokta is delivered near perfectly, talking with a lisp but thinking in his old voice, brilliant.
"A story well told"
Very engaging story with good characters. It was hard to put down. I had become bored with the standard tripe doled out in the Fantasy genre and this was like a breath of fresh air. I have downloaded all his other books due to the impression this book had on me. Waiting with anticipation on this next offering and few authors make me feel like that anymore.
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