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Sharp Ends: Stories from the World of the First Law

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A reference to an in-world monument consisting of many large, upright stones on the top of a hill, called "The Heroes", where it is said that a legendary hero of old is buried. The monument is a central part of the setting for the book. Lord Chamberlain Hoff, a loud and impatient man who conducts the duties of the otherwise incapable king. The Gurkish Empire is a sprawling empire to the south of the Union, similar to the large Middle-Eastern empires of antiquity. Carlot dan Eider, Magister of the Spicers aka "The Queen of Merchants", a beautiful, intelligent and skilled diplomat.

https://joeabercrombie.com/best-served-cold-reread/#:~:text=In%20the%20end%20the%20book,Kings%2C%20somewhere%20around%20228%2C000%20words. The Union army may be full of bastards, but there's only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta. Some Desperado: There is no honour among thieves when the outlaw Smoke finds herself being hunted down by her own comrades.The Smoke House. Well, that hadn’t been so great. Her friends in Westport. Well, she’d never had any she’d have trusted with a copper. Severard. No doubt he’d be far better off with his mother in Adua, however upset he’d been about it. Carcolf. Carcolf had betrayed her, damn it! God, those hips, though. How could you stay angry at someone with hips like that? These two characters are the highlight of this collection of short stories so far. Abercrombie certainly makes it a point that they stand out of the crowd so far.

Dogman, a loyal member of Logen's band, a skilled scout with sharpened teeth and an incredible sense of smell. Believe me,’ said Shev, tightening her grip on her knife, ‘I feel your pain. You were going to fight him for nothing, now you’re going to fight forhim for nothing?’ The first to take full shape from the mist was a nervous-looking boy, couldn’t have been more than fifteen, who half-drew his bow with somewhat wobbly hands, arrow pointed roughly in Whirrun’s direction. Next came a selection of Northmen, impressively bearded if you liked that kind of thing, which Shev didn’t, and even more impressively armed, if you liked thatkind of thing, which Shev didn’t either. Cawneil, a book-loving Magus who tries to remain glamorous despite her age, she had previous relationships with both Khalul and Bayaz.Three’s a Crowd: It’s a foolish man who steals from the best thief in Styria, and when Horald the Finger steals her lover, it’s time for Shevedieh to stop running and start fighting. For those who work in the shadows, though, few things are ever quite as they seem… But folk who spend a lot of time thinking in fights don’t tend to live through them, so Shev left the thinking for later and threw at the easiest target to hit.

A decent short story in a day of Curnden Craw, one of the main characters from The Heroes. Together with his crew, Curnden Craw has been sent on a mission to recover a ‘thing.' It is good to see the faces of Craw and his crew once again here, but there is nothing too memorable about the story itself. I am powerful in ways you can only dream, yet I am still a prisoner of what I have done. I can never escape the cell I have made for myself. Things are what they are.” But, we are also introduced to quite a few new figures, including the main string of stories which take place in Sharp Ends, forming about half of the stories in this collection. Whilst these were enjoyable and fleshed out more of the world, I just wanted more from characters I already knew, so that I was just hoping the story would wrap-up and I could again accompany or follow my favourites. If you're a fan of Abercrombie, and a devotee of the First Law Series, then you'll enjoy this. There's the expected Abercrombie grit, with Steven Pacey narration - you'll know exactly what to expect. 4 stars rather than 5, as I'm not really a fan of the short story approach, and coming to this book cold (outside of the series), is probably not to be recommended. The Age of Madness takes place 15 years after the end of Red Country. The Union has begun to see rapid changes with the onset of an industrial revolution.Three distinct stories about three different people. All being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They take place in a bank, a brothel, and a battle. So, you can guess my favorite of the three was the battle. The dialogue leading up to the battle and the ending was what sold me. Sometimes you discover not getting what you want can be the very thing that saves your life in the end. You are so overdramatic,’ said Javre, shaking her head. ‘She is so overdramatic. It is exhausting.’ Shev snorted. ‘Would a good friend chase another clear across the Circle of the World?’ Under her breath, she added, ‘Not to mention her good friend’s partner.’ The stories vary for me in quality. Some I had no interest in like Nicomo Cosca's story. That man drives me nuts. Unfortunately Joe Abercrombie clearly loves him as he's appeared in more of his First Law books than anyone. My personal favorite stories were Glokta's, Bethod's, and Shev and Javre's short story series.

Tul Duru "Thunderhead" , a giant of a northman and member of Logen's band, he is extremely tall and strong. The book follows three distinct sets of characters as war breaks out on two fronts. In the south, Sand dan Glokta and his inquisitors attempt to repel a Gurkish invasion of the city of Dagoska, the Union's sole possession on the continent, won some decades earlier at great cost. In the North, the book follows Colonel West and the Northmen as they attempt to deal with Bethod, who intends to force the Union out of Angland, their principal northern possession. Finally, the book follows Logen Ninefingers and his companions as they journey into the far west of their world with the sorcerer Bayaz, First of the Magi, seeking out a powerful and dangerous ancient artifact known as the Seed. The book makes it explicit that all these events are interconnected and part of the greater machinations of a sorcerer called Khalul, Second of the Magi and one of Bayaz's enemies. Khalul has raised a great army of slaves and Eaters (cannibalistic transformed humanoids with enhanced durability and magical abilities), and has indirectly given Bethod an alliance with the Flatheads, orc-like creatures created as weapons in an ancient war, as well as a man known as the Feared, who is supernaturally all but immune to damage. The story ends on a low note for all groups involved: Dagoska is lost to the Gurkish, an intrigue sees both heirs to the throne killed and an innocent man is blamed for political reasons, the quest for the Seed is an abject failure, and Bethod remains at large in the North.Freedom- 2/5- Abercrombie clearly had fun writing this, but I sure didn’t have fun reading it. It’s the weakest one in here, but that’s just because I hate Nicoma Cosca. By the dead.’ Flood pressed thumb and forefinger into his eyes and rubbed them fiercely. ‘Nothing’s ever easy. Why is nothing ever easy?’

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