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Summary

Concluding the AGE OF MADNESS trilogy, THE WISDOM OF CROWDS brings the series which is revolutionising fantasy to its stunning conclusion. . . 

Chaos. Fury. Destruction.

The Great Change is upon us....

Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies...while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver's ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together....

©2021 Joe Abercrombie (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"Joe Abercrombie is doing some terrific work." (George R. R. Martin)

"No one writes with the seismic scope or primal intensity of Joe Abercrombie." (Pierce Brown)

"Delightfully twisted and evil." (The Guardian)

What listeners say about The Wisdom of Crowds

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Saved by the last few chapters

Most of the book is sheer drudgery but the last few chapters were enjoyable. Is it that JA wrote the ending first and just heaped a load of dross to fill in the gaps. I missed the creative humour, the great characters and entertainment that was prevalent in the books up to and inc the heroes

10 people found this helpful

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Harrowing, funny, engrossing, brilliant!

Oh gosh what a listen! This puts the seal on it, this is my favourite trilogy and this my favourite book of all! Some moments are really harrowing, some had me laughing out loud but the last 2 hours or so had me at the edge of my seat throughout! What a fantastic ending (and a new beginning?)
Wow, Lord Grimdark, thank you! And thank you Mr Pacey for yet again being the best narrator I have ever listened to!
And now I am restarting on book 1!

10 people found this helpful

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Just... disappointing

Before I read this book, I don't think I could've found a single negative thing to say about Joe Abercrombie's writing, having read every book in the series/verse that precede this one. He weaves stories together and brings even minor side characters to life with such vibrance (and, often, violence), that after finishing the second book of this trilogy I was desperate to get onto the third and final.
I will stay away from direct spoilers but as I was able to surmise how this book would end prior to listening to it by reading the non-spoilery reviews of other listeners, doubtless my own review give something away nonetheless. So if you want to be entirely surprised by the book, maybe don't read this.

Essentially, the book's a mess. The characters are all over the place and for many of the lead characters there's no consistency in their actions or motivations. One of the PoV characters is so one dimensional that his chapters (presumeably meant to be shocking due to his violence?) are just straight up boring. Large sections of the book (and the trilogy) were basically rendered entirely pointless by events in the last 1/3 of it.
All in all it reads like a prologue to whatever he's going to write next; which does a huge disservice to the characters of this particular trilogy. Characters do not have to be good people in order to be interesting and captivating. But they do have to be well-written and possess some quality in them that somehow makes them likeable perhaps in spite of whatever despicable things they do. We rooted for Ninefingers in previous books in spite of the fact that it'd be rather difficult to argue that he's a paragon of virtue. His apparent 'parallel' in this book is just a pale shade of a character in comparison. Likewise, Glokta was darkly hilarious to read/listen to; and his 'parallel' (there seem to be a lot of them in this book?) is just plain obnoxious.

I don't need happy endings; many a brilliant read has left me in tears of sadness or frustration, or desperate impatience to find out how the situation at the end of one book could possibly be salvaged by the next. But to just feel deflated? Not really what I'm looking for.

Even so, one disappointment out of ten books? Pretty good going. He's been churning them out reliably for years now and to have maintained such a high standard for so long is impressive. Still one of my favourite authors by a long shot; but whilst I know I'll re-listen to the First Law and the standalones quite happily, I wouldn't listen to The Age of Madness, simply because of this last book.
Naturally I'll still be looking forward to the next book he writes; just possibly with a little more caution than I've approached any of his previous works.

Needless to say, Pacey's narration was still spot on, and I can't imagine anyone else ever voicing the characters of this world.

6 people found this helpful

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Not the same quality.

Not as good as the other books in the series, felt motives of a lot of characters to be questionable. Many of the twists were to easy to work out so there were few surprises. Still enjoyed, shame though.

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disappointing

narrator was great, but the story isn't as good as the others in the series.

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Its a difficult one

The combination of Abercrombie and Pacey is without question one of the best partnerships out there in the world of audiobooks. I feel they have helped to define this new genre. While the story does rock along I got the feeling there was just a bit too much repetition and padding and that the help of a good editor might have just made a difference. The role of Pacey in all this is really crucial as its he who brings it all to life and there lies the rub. I got the feeling at times that not even he was convinced, you could almost hear, oh no here we we go again, and it came through. Now thats not to say its not a decent book, t its just too long with no real benefit to be had as there is a good two to three hour of stuff that could easily have been lost and would have made the story stronger for it. There is only so many times a story/plot point can be repeated before it becomes tedious. This feeling bled into the few new characters and as a result they were all a bit tired, limp and less convincing.
Im a bit disappointed in that I expected more of the same standard as set by the previous books, but were the main characters just to worn and tired to really deliver?
Its a pity as the previous two books were outstanding. Having said all that I still look forward to the next creation of Abercrombie though he may be wise to look for an alternative narrator, not because Pacey is not up to it, far from it. Its just that he has such strong associations with this whole series of books that any new world Abercrombie produces should come with a new voice.

4 people found this helpful

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Massive disappointment

Was expecting so much and given so little, gutted and hugely disappointed by this book

4 people found this helpful

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The best author and the best reader

Doesn’t disappoint, marvellous. Though still a punch in the gut. Can’t wait to hear what happens next.

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Just when you thought he couldn’t get any better ,,,,,

I smiled,laughed, cried,,,,,just couldn’t stop listening,,,the horror,betrayal,destruction,,,life or death situations,,,love,hopes,,,,twists and turns,,,it’s a masterpiece,,,can’t wait for the next one,,,,,

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disappointed

I read the 'First Law World' Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie and loved it, every moment. I read books 1 and 2 of 'the Age of Madness' trilogy and again loved every minute. But this third book, it felt to me like for the first 18hrs we were treading water. Lots of details about how the 'madness' of everyone, but not much happening and no real interest. That said I enjoyed the last few hours of this book, but all in all, disappointed. I saw it through to the end out of commitment having read all the other books, but didn't enjoy this one. That said it's not a 'bad book', just for me didn't live up to the levels of the others.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-10-21

Thats it…

Joe is my favorit author, can’t deny it no more… just read this and enjoy every friggin sentence as if it was the last thing you are going to read this life

2 people found this helpful

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  • Patrick Iseli
  • 01-10-21

Good book, but could have been better.

It's worth a read or a listen, but the author is getting too predictable. These books are just history repeating itself over and over and over again.
I was hoping for my favorite character to finally be a shining beacon of hope, but of course that wouldn't be gritty and realistic enough. So we're getting more disappointment and nothingness. It's hard for me to stay with characters and a world, where nothing matters and all goes down the drain. It really loses all appeal for me, if there is nothing and no one to root for.

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  • Dennis
  • 19-09-21

First Tolkien, then George, now Joe

I’ve been sceptic about the new First Law trilogy, but darn what an author Joe has become. He creates the best chaos and intrigue without it ever feeling forced and he always finds new techniques to dramatize when things goes to hell, again and again. He also succeeded with strong women again, something too few actually manages with style.

My long eye show me a book in the future from a another genre with Joes name on it.

Until the next time Joe.

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  • Whippetz
  • 01-01-22

Too much madness

Age of madness indeed. This is a very grim book. I struggled with much of the content, of which the first third of the book seemed to relentlessly focus around excessive, gratuitous and unrelenting violence. I had to speed up playback through some of this, simply to get past it and to advance to more palatable and optimistic content, looking for any signs of hope that circumstances would improve for my favourite characters, but there was extremely little of that.
I have listened and re-listened to all of the First Law trilogy, and The Heroes. I really enjoy Joe Abercrombie’s witty writing style and gritty depictions of battle scenes etc. However, in my view this Age of Madness trilogy progressively pushed past the limits of what is palatable in terms of violence. This last book in the trilogy irredeemably so. I tackled this book because I wanted and needed to find some sort of resolution to the story that unfolded from the previous two books. The rich character development that Abercrombie crafts in his stories makes me really invested in seeing some promise of a peaceful future for these characters and their world. But I was disappointed. And actually there were some characters that we started to get to know that never developed further, so I am left wondering why they were ever highlighted in the first place. To be honest this book left me feeling discouraged, and more than a little cautious of picking up another Abercrombie book. The majority of this book is focused on the horrendously heinous deeds of various groups of people, deeds which are carried it out in the most gratuitously inventive and bloodthirsty ways possible. Some readers may become normalized to this, but I never did. The one redeeming feature of this book is Steven Pacey’s narration – spot-on as usual.

1 person found this helpful

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  • TheMagOp
  • 17-10-21

Another masterpiece

Another masterpiece from Joe Abercrombie
He delivers another good book from first law would, which I have become so fond of. All the characters are as usual well written, yes it is almost as if they are alive with Steven Pacey's interpretation of them.
Highly recommended from someone who has become so fond of this world and the characters, Joe Abercrombie has created.
I hope that sometime in the future, I can "travel" to this world again to experience new adventures.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Daniel Smith
  • 30-09-21

an absolute gem

really delivered. once again Steven Pacey knocks it out of the park. and when I thought it was over. well, it wasn't over. tremendous. I thankyou Joe and Steven. one of the best audio experiences I've had.

1 person found this helpful

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  • donmichael
  • 27-09-21

Abercrombie and Pacey at their best

Hard to put down, even harder to say goodbye (especially final - to some characters).

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jaime Ortiz
  • 27-09-21

Masterfully written, god-level narration

Abercrombie delivers and wraps up the series nicely. Witty dialogue and elegant good-byes. Pacey is a master of narrating and brings Abercrombie's characters to life (and death) flawlessly.

Thanks Joe and Steven for the hours of company and hope to listen to further material from both. Whatever it will be, I'm sold already.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jackmichael S.
  • 27-09-21

Political Fantasy

it's a great finish to the Trilogy, way more political than its predecessors and that can be a good or bad thing it's up to the listener either way Joe manage to develop the First Law World in a way that leaves you thinking it's almost as brutal as the one we live in.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-09-21

The best there is

Thanks for "a little private hanging" You executed my heart with one chapter. I'll never stop listening to this book

1 person found this helpful