Joe Abercrombie - The Heroes: May contain Spoilers

Ady Hall

Jun 17, 2009
Alrighty - the next book in Joe's litany has been named. A book called The Heroes. Although it is listed for release in the distant 2011 - I wondered if you'd like to pitch in with any speculation and wish fulfillment for Characters 'n' stuff?

The back flap, per Joe's blog:

“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.

Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he’s far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it’s his own.

Prince Calder isn’t interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he’ll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn’t have to fight for it himself.

Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him?

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.”
About 2/3rds of the way through this now, and goddam it's a good book! He does a similar trick to Best Served Cold, in turning previously minor characters into big parts, and does it just as well. But this is a completely different book, set over the course of a few days, and basically covering the build-up, fighting and (presumably, though I haven't got there yet) aftermath of a single battle between the Northmen and the Union.

The pain PoVs are from the three men mentioned in the blurb, but there are a few others too - a kid recruited into Caul Reachey's men, a Corporal in the Union cavalry, and the daughter of the Union commander. All of which are interesting and relevant characters, and add significantly to the book, to the stage where the "three men" tag is a bit silly, I think... all six are worth their page-time.
Picked my copy up yesterday, didn't even open up the front cover, big mistake half the second page is glued to the cover so can't look at the map:(

I really should take it back but I'm too lazy:eek:
Mine arrived today, eager to get stuck in but i can't put down Erikson's tales of B and KB
I picked up my copy on the 5th, brilliant, no waiting around for months over here for our Joe's books! :)
I just finished this today, after a week's break,and I have to say, it's very impressive, cover to cover. Probably his best book yet, and certainly his most focussed. It was nice to see a fantasy novel concentrating on a very narrow time(and space)-period for once, rather than trying to cram as much in as possible.

Read this book at the first possible opportunity. That is all ;)
I just finished this today, after a week's break,and I have to say, it's very impressive, cover to cover. Probably his best book yet, and certainly his most focussed. It was nice to see a fantasy novel concentrating on a very narrow time(and space)-period for once, rather than trying to cram as much in as possible.

Couldn't agree more. I was completely engrossed...
I'm a big fan. For me I enjoy reading Abercrombie as much as GRRM (which is an awful lot). I really like the mix of nihilism/realism and humour.
Dont really think its fair to compare a standalone to a trilogy but I think its better than Best Served Cold.

High points for me were:

Gorst - cruelly hillarious chapters (all the main POV characters were good)

The battle on the first day where the POV shifts between a string of soldiers each dying at the hands of the latter - genious

As you can tell, I liked it. :)
I just started it after waiting for it to be shipped from the UK all the way to Hong Kong and then had to run across the border from Shenzhen to grab it on a work day of all things. It's the most I've ever done to get my hands on a book!!

I'm only on chapter 3 and I think it's his finest work yet. Chapter 1 was brilliant!
At the risk of exposing myself (ahem) to being thrashed with the Big Pointy Stick of Disagreement, I, er, disagree.

Don't get me wrong, I liked The Heroes a lot, and raced through it. But I do not think it was better than the First Law Trilogy.

Thaddeus the Sixth: The Heroes review
I agree with Thaddeus, despite the fact that I have really loved all of his previous books.

It was a very good, action packed story but not quite in the same league as The First Law Trilogy. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, and I didn't even flinch in any of the battle scenes!

How can such a nice young man write such gruesome scenes? :)
Rosemary, I'm not so sure Mr. Abercrombie is a nice young man.

He's got quite an evil beard. [Perhaps he might play the next incarnation of the Master?]
I just finished The Heroes last night. IMHO I think it's the best book he's written thus far. Glokta is still my favorite character in Joe's universe but Gorst is now a close second after reading The Heroes. I especially liked some of the twists at the end and of course the battle scenes.
I loved the Heroes, but partly on reflection. At the time I was a bit bewildered by the ending chapters. I don't think it's really spoiling anything to say I found it anti-climactic, the way everything kind of drifts apart at the end without any of the predicted one-on-one confrontations etc (and the one there is is not exactly what I'd expected), but I suppose that's the sort of realism that the whole book tries to employ, so I've decided I'm all for it...
I am glad there's a proper wrapping up of the main characters' storylines, but the conclusion to the conflict wasn't to my taste.
I have just finished "The Heroes" and was dreadfully sorry to do so. It is one of those books that you want to go on for ever because you're enjoying it so much.

As for its quality compared with Abercrombie's previous works (all of which I have enjoyed), well, I don't go in for that sort of comparison very much. To me, it is not really relevant that he did a better job with his last book or this one was his best yet, it is enough for me that I enjoyed this one - and I did.

I thought it was well written, the characters were adequately formed and it didn't get too involved in the minutiae of tactical detail while providing enough to make the battle real.

If Mr. Abercrombie cares to write more books along these lines, I will read them and, I expect, enjoy them as well.
Just finished The Heroes as well and really enjoyed it - one of those books that really sticks with you for a while after.

What I'm especially enjoying is the consistency of character references that you absolutely could not get without having read the First Law trilogy or Best Served Cold. These really make the writing and world come so much alive.

Either way, another strong book from Abercrombie and looking forward to more. :)

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