Last Argument Of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
Review by Amanda White
In this much anticipated and last instalment of the First Law trilogy from Joe Abercrombie we find the answers to all our questions and some we didn’t even realise existed!
The campaign in the North against Bethod and his men continues with the odds ever against Colem West, the Army of the Union and of course Dogman and his band of mercenaries. Logan has travelled North to rejoin his men, although he suspects that not everyone will be pleased he’s still alive and not gone back to the mud; and of course wherever Logan goes, so does the Bloody Nine – handy in the battle they are about to face, so long as he remembers which side he’s on. Jezal dan Luthar continues his charmed life although, as they say, one man’s luck is another man’s curse. Our old friend Glokta is of course along for the ride too; always a professional, he wastes no time in continuing where he left off…torture, treason, political espionage, it’s all in a days work; ever careful to keep his friends close and his enemies even closer, he doesn’t realise just how accomplished he’s been in that particular task! With everyone seemingly preoccupied with their own worries and Adua bereft of any real defences it seems like a good time for the Gurkish Army to begin an invasion. Who will save them? Could it be Bayez, the First of the Magi? But at what cost?
Your Majesty…’ he heard Hoff saying, and he peered up from under his brows. The King asleep, his eyes firmly closed, his mouth hanging open. Hardly a great surprise in its own way, the man was long past his best, but Jezal could not help being galled. It was the second time, after all, that he had slumbered through one of Jezal’s moments of glory. Hoff nudged the monarch as subtly as possible with an elbow, but he did not wake, was forced to lean close to whisper in his ear. ‘Your Majesty---‘ He got no further. The King leaned sideways, his head slumping, and fell all of a sudden from his gilded chair, sprawling on his back before the stricken members of the Closed Council like a landed whale. His scarlet robe flopped open to reveal a great wet stain across his trousers and the crown tumbled from his head, bounced and clattered across the flags.
There was a collective gasp, punctuated by a shriek from a lady near the back. Jezal could only stare, open mouthed, as the Lord Chamberlain flung himself down on his knees, bending over the stricken King. A silent moment passed, a moment in which every person in the Square of Marshals held their breath, then Hoff got up slowly to his feet. His face had lost all of its redness.
‘The King is dead!’ he wailed, the tortured echoes ringing from the towers and buildings around the square. Jezal could only grimace. It was just his luck. Now no one would be cheering for him.
This conclusion to the First Law series is absolutely absorbing from the first page and whilst not a short story at 536 pages it’s still astonishing just how much story Abercrombie manages to pack in to each and every page. This is a fast paced book that brings revelation after revelation within it’s complex and twisting plot and leaves you out of breath by the end and wanting more. The last paragraph is the perfect way to end this amazing odyssey. Mr. Abercrombie’s sense of wry humour is present throughout this accomplished tale and his wonderful storytelling ability makes every character feel real; their reactions to their situations so wonderfully human be they good or bad.
Tom from Ohio
Everything was great except the ending could of been a little stronger. I'm hoping Abercrombie will be revisiting this world soon.
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