Springtime in Styria. And that means war. There have been nineteen years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white.
While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king. War may be hell but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso's employ, it's a damn good way of making money too. Her victories have made her popular - a shade too popular for her employer's taste.
Betrayed, thrown down a mountain and left for dead, Murcatto's reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die.
©2010 Joe Abercrombie (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group Limited
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.
I loved the First Law series, and I think of this as a straight continuation into The Heroes. Steven Pacey's visceral reading brings this brilliant, fresh fantasy book to life with vivid sardonic character, and the book itself has a satisfying pace with lots of notches on the narrative axe. Because it is a complete story within one book I liked this the best of all the Joe Abercrombie series, but it is certainly richer reading them all in order, starting with The Blade Itself. It's satisfying to see minor characters from one book developed in later volumes, and it seems to me that this is a hallmark of Joe Abercrombie's writing - a mastery of point of view. I consider these books a real milestone in fantasy literature, and dare I say it, a bit better than Game of Thrones?
"Hoorah for Steven Pacey"
Imagine my delight upon just starting to listen to this book with a different narrator, suddenly I find that it is now Steven Pacey!
And so is the final book: Happy New Year!
"Stonking book - Narration Flaws"
A fantastic book, great follow on from the first law series - but the change of narrator across the two really impacted my sense of continuity - a shame otherwise it would have five stars from me.
It did feel like someone had replaced your fave actor in a soap with a different purpose and expected you not to notice.
Outside of that, the same good pace and balance, with characters and plot lines that pulled you around emotionally with them.
"Low down dirty double crossing ..."
Steven Pacey! Steven Pacey! Steven Pacey!
I really enjoyed this, even more than the First Law Trilogy. The book has a great depth of characters, and the narrator brings these to life wonderfully. It's a great combination of a well written book and first class narration.
I recently reviewed The Painted Man (different author) and I wasn't kind to it, because I had no empathy for the characters and ultimately didn’t care what happened to them. In this book most of the characters are low down dirty double crossing villains, but you can't help enjoy them. The reason you warm to them is they aren't just plain bad, they have some depth to them and complexity. Joe Abercrombie has a wonderful way of building a story and getting you to care for the type character that most other authors would have cast as the villain. His world isn't black and white, there are people who just seem to get drawn into bad things … as well as those who just relish it.
The references to the First Law Trilogy were excellent and some of the characters from that appear and get expanded upon. A word of warning though - prepared for dark deeds, dark humour and a couple of occasions where you feel like you might lose your lunch.
...and thanks to Paul of West Sussex for pointing out the change of narrator. Steven Pacey's readings of the "First Law" series were probably the most enjoyable audiobooks I have come across, and although I was enjoying this title, it inevitably suffered in comparison. Now, having eagerly downloaded the new Pacey version, I may well start again from the beginning! I wouldn't normally give 5 stars to something I haven't actually heard, but having listend to half the old version and all of "First Law", Pacey would have to be having a very off day for it not to deserve them.
"Well worth the listen if you don't mind the blood!"
An epic story. Bloodthirsty and lots of graphic detail (not lunchtime reading!!) A good plot and well worth the effort. I liked it.
"Fun story, shame about the narrator"
This is a fun fantasy story, with the usual gore and heroics, plus Abercrombie's fine pacing and witty characters; but in contrast with the First Law trilogy I think it is a little too stolid in its use of familiar themes and character types - in fact, several episodes, motives, settings, and even character traits seem to have been transposed almost directly from that story into this.
In common with other reviewers, I found that what really let this book down was its narrator. In the grand scheme of things he is probably okay, bar some mispronunciations and errors of emphasis, but he definitely suffers in comparison with the narrator of the First Law trilogy, who was excellent. I'm not sure why the publishers chose a different actor for this book, because several of the same characters reappear, and when you find they are suddenly given an entirely new voice - and therefore personality - it disrupts your enjoyment, and the continuity of the plotlines.
"Good listen. But not as good as 1st Law Tri"
Certainly well written and enjoyable. Unpredictable storyline with twists and turns, quirky characters. But No characters crafted and introduced as well as San Dan Glockter (spelling?) so 4/5.
"Another great tale from Joe, narrated beautifully!"
I chose to listen to this after enjoying the The First Law trilogy and was not disappointed.
I found this to be a really interesting story with deep characters that developed well through the story. I liked the main characters and loved it when people from the last books made a small appearance!
Like the previous audiobooks, Best Served Cold is also voiced by Steven Pacey, his narration is wonderful and I couldn't imagine Abercrombie's characters being voiced by anyone else.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.