Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Last Argument of Kings-Joe Abercrombie

Last Argument of Kings
Joe Abercrombie
PYR, Sep 2008, $15.00
ISBN: 9781591026907

With war on two fronts, the Union is in jeopardy; from the south come the violent Gurkish horde while from the north the even more brutal Northmen continue their invasion. However, the real virus to survival resides inside the capital, Adua where sedition and betrayal are rampant and the king is apparently dying.

Loaded down with guilt and doubt berserker Logen Ninefingers knows he must go home to fight his dearest friend but now enemy King Bethod of the Northmen. Drained to the bone from the constant fighting and sending good people to their deaths Union officer Colonel West wants out but prepares for one last battle in the North where he gains allies from questionable sources. Jezal dan Luthar no longer yearns for glory and adventure as he has tasted how bitter that is, but may be too late to settle down with his beloved. Superior Glokta uses his greatest weapon that of torture and its threat to obtain acquiesence from the Union leaders. Finally amazon warrior Ferro seeks revenge and is not concerned about collateral damage to her so-called allies. In this mix, the mage Bayaz has returned to the Union, but as friend or foe iis hard to tell. Together they may be able to repel the enemies, but this team has always at best been dysfunctional when they are not fighting one another.

The aptly titled LAST ARGUMENTS OF KINGS may be the best final book to a fantasy trilogy I have read in years. The exhilarating story line hits on all notes as the major threads from THE BLADE ITSELF and WHEN THEY WERE HANGED are resolved in a reasonable manner with the key ensemble cast remaining true to their respective essences. Joe Abercrombie is at his brilliant best with this excellent powerful climax that entertains throughout yet has readers pondering the implications of how far do you go when the debate turns to using the taboo First law of magic.

Harriet Klausner

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