Last Argument of Kings, Joe Abercrombie, Pyr, ISBN 978-1-59102-690-7, $15.98, 636 pgs.

Abercrombie Power!

Image by wertheim via Flickr

This is the third and final installment in the First Law trilogy. The Ghurkish war in the south, coupled with the invasion of the Northmen from the north have created allies of opportunity between Logan Nine Fingers, the Union’s Colonel West, the First of Mages Bayaz, and young swordsman Jezal. As the third chapter opens, West is in the north, fighting a siege and gaining more real world experience than he wants, Logan is heading north to join the fighting and the two will meet prior to developing a plan to finally take apart the army of the northmen and their self-declared king. At the same time Jezal has returned, happily, to the capital, where he hopes to begin a life that is uncomplicated and shared with Ardee West. Bayaz is stymied at not finding the seed which he had planned to use to rid the world of his evil brother mage. Meanwhile the King of the Union dies, throwing all into turmoil. Jezal soon finds himself declared a bastard of the king and set on the throne. At about the same time the general leading the northern army dies leaving the plan in chaos and stagnant. Jezal makes West head of the army, and, at the same time, discovers that the Ghurkish have invaded the capital. Glotka, crippled torturer, struggles with his lot in life but manages to work his way to the top of things by taking out his superior. Bayaz, working through Jezal, promotes him. With an untried king on the throne, chaos in the north and the Ghurkish knocking on the door, everything seems set for despair and doom.

Well, clearly there is a great deal going on in this final chapter and Abercrombie plays it all off brilliantly. His characters are self-absorbed, self-conscious and moving through plots of their own, and others, makings. Sometimes it seems as if there is not a single major character who is not working an agenda. And underlying it all is a dark, ironic sense of comedy which makes the whole thing a simple joy to read.  Plots unfold, plans go awry, things never seem to work out, even when they do, and just when it all seems to be falling apart something else comes up to make it worse.  This is certainly a very dim world view that these characters move in.  And yet they manage to muddle through, succeed, survive, and grow.

I really loved the characters and Abercrombie’s complex plotting. From beginning to end this book was a joy to read. I was sorry to see if finally reach and conclusion but I will definitely look forward to seeing more from Abercrombie in the near future. Brilliantly done and highly recommended.

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About damnaliens
Writer, reviewer, home provider to the Damnaliens

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