Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

Rating 9.0/10
They laugh, cry and break wind, they're as real as fictional characters get.

How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without trace? It's enough to make a torturer want to run - if he could even walk without a stick - and Inquisitor Glokta needs answers before the Gurkish army comes knocking at the gates.

This is the second book in the First Law Trilogy and after an electric start in 'The Blade Itself' it does not disappoint.

Before They Are Hanged continues to follow the three main characters of Logan Nine Fingers, Jezel dan Luthar and Inquisitor Glokta and as well as developing these characters we see some of the sub characters of the first book begin to develop their own storylines.

War continues to rage in the North, with Bethod's Army fighting for Angland and the Union Army trying to defend their hold, however, Bethod seems to have help of an otherworldly kind. Glokta has been sent to the South to defend the Union strong hold of Dagoska, but just how much does the Union really want to keep this city? What has happened to the previous Superior that Glokta has been sent to replace and will he accept an offer that looks like he can't but should refuse? In the meantime Logan and Jezel have begun a quest, somewhat reluctantly on Jezel's part, at the behest of the Bayaz, First of the Magi, with some rather interesting companions to locate a missing relic of the Dark Art that could change the outcome of everyone's future.

"'You crippled worm! I should cut your fucking throat right now' her knee jabbed painfully into his stomach, cold metal tickled gently at the skin on his neck, her blue eyes glared into his, flickering back and forth, glistening as hard as the stones in the box under his back. My death could be moments away. Easily. He remembered watching her choke the life out of Eider. With as little care as I might squash an ant, and I, poor cripple, just as helpless as one. Perhaps he should have been gibbering with fear, but all he could think was: When was the last time I had a woman on top of me?"
To The Last Man: Before They Are Hanged

This second book continues to weave it's plot lines at such a thumping pace, with political intrigue, masses of humour, plenty of bloody battles with healthy dollops of gore and some real thrilling edge of your seat twists, that you'll find it hard not to try and read it in one sitting.

I absolutely love this book, it does what a sequel should and submerges you deeper into the plots and characters. You feel by now that you really know these people, you care about them and what happens to them and I love that they're three dimensional, they have moods and selfish moments, they laugh, cry and break wind, they're as real as fictional characters get. The humour is wonderful, self depreciating and funny as hell. My husband got a bit niggly as I kept laughing out loud whilst reading, which I appreciate can be a bit annoying but I fully expect him do the same when he reads it.

"The Shanka might be ever so full of mad fury, but even they had to fear him. Everything did. Even the dead, who felt no pain. Even the cold stone, which did not dream. Even the molten iron feared the Bloody-Nine. Even the darkness."
Beneath The Ruins: Before They Are Hanged

Having read The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged I can hardly wait for 20th March 2008 and the final installment in the First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings. I think it goes without saying having read this review that two books in and I'm now a huge fan of Mr. Abercrombie who has a very refreshing and most entertaining style of story telling. I would recommend these books to anyone as I think there is something for everyone and you just don't get wonderful characters like this very often. So, only three more months to wait; obviously I've already read the extract of Last Argument of Kings on, which has only served to make the release date seem an eternity away, but as it's unlikely that I'll some how manage to wangle an advanced copy.. (worth a try) I shall have to patiently await it's release and get my pre-order into Amazon without delay!

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All reviews for: The First Law

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Before They Are Hanged reader reviews

from Wales


Never read fantasy before The Blade Itself was recommended by my son. It was fantastic and I look forward to Before They Are Hanged!

from Oxford


I have to say that I enjoyed reading this, and finished it off in good time. Glokta was great, as were the Dogman et al and Logen. I have to say that I got slightly bored of Jezal and Ferro by the end - I didn't really see them as 3-D characters. I also felt like the love storylines felt added on and not really developed. ***SEMI-SPOILER*** The ending I felt was slightly disappointing and was what let it down - it didn't really have the climax that we spent the whole book building towards. We weren't really left with anything - a slight hint at what is to come would have been nice.

from Ohio


Another ten star classic.

from Filey


One of the best books I've read in the last 20 years. This author is fantastic. Miss it and you have missed a great read. Enough said. Enjoy.

from Glasgow


This series is a breath of fresh air, The Blade Itself was good and Before They Are Hanged is even better. This is a remarkably inventive book, full of believable characters with a very dry sense of humour running through it.

from Northampton


Read The Blade Itself, excellent, went out and bought Before They Are Hanged, read it, exceptional. When you read a book that you really enjoy and one that means a lot to you, it is with hope in your heart that you start on the second book. You want the author to give you almost exactly the same again but with a bit extra thrown in. Joe Abercrombie is the best thing to happen to fantasy for a long time, it had started to take itself too seriously and he has given us 2 books full of action, humour and great characters. Long may it continue!

9.3/10 from 7 reviews

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