Add a subheading 1 1 - Review: The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

Review: The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
Published by Gollancz on May 10, 2012
ISBN: 9780575105706
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, General, Military, Action & Adventure
Pages: 560
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased Book
Buy on Amazon
five stars - Review: The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

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.

“Armour …’ mused Whirrun, licking a finger and scrubbing some speck of dirt from the pommel of his sword, ‘is part of a state of mind … in which you admit the possibility … of being hit.”
― Joe Abercrombie, The Heroes

What kind of magic does Joe Abercrombie spin?  From first reading The Blade Itself I have become entranced at both his unparalleled skill of taking a small minor character and transforming them into huge players of the game, he also is a supreme creator of intricate plots.  This has been my favorite installment of the series by far, the NORTH fascinates me.  I loved the POV’s from Logen, dogman, and Black Dow in the original trilogy, and being catapulted back into the extreme north has been invigorating.  Wrap up warm, get that coffee brewing because the cold will seep into your bones quicker than liquid nitrogen.

Lord Marshal Kroy is leading the attack on the north and Black Dow.  After performing treachery on Ninefingers he is now king of the Northmen and The King of the Union isn’t accepting of his position.  Death, destruction, and blood will be wrought.  The Heroes is a story of a three-day battle that takes place around the infamous, Heroes, the stone formation upon a hilltop.  We have the POV’s of three very different characters, Craw – a soldier extremely long in the tooth, dreaming of retirement, Bremner Dan Gorst, a disgraced Union Soldier who only wants to spill blood, by any means and Prince Calder – still very much dreaming of a throne ruled by his father Bethod. 

We meet Craw and his dozen in the opening scene of The Heroes defending The Heroes.  I appreciated the human touch that Abercrombie brought to him – he was torn between his inner voice warning him to do the right thing and the necessary need for bloodshed.  Craw, Whirrun, and Wonderful were my favorites from that brigand.  They displayed a strong sense of camaraderie, a sense of family. 

Calder has been imprisoned by Black Dow whom he wants to play a leadership role in the coming war.  Black Dow expects Calder to die a quick death, but it doesn’t happen and the reader witnesses Calder becoming stronger, collecting allies planning to challenge Black Dow to a fight to the death.  Some massive surprises come of this; some I really didn’t see coming.

Bayaz is still a giant dick.

The Heroes is another story that displays Abercrombie’s ability to write memorable characters…I was however disappointed that my main man, Glokta didn’t make an appearance…Abercrombie is nothing but a gloktease!


joe abercrombie - Review: The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie was born in Lancaster, England, on the last day of 1974. He was educated at the stiflingly all-boy Lancaster Royal Grammar School, where he spent much of his time playing video games, rolling dice, and drawing maps of places that don’t exist. He went on to Manchester University to study Psychology. The dice and the maps stopped, but the video games continued. Having long dreamed of single-handedly redefining the fantasy genre, he started to write an epic trilogy based around the misadventures of thinking man’s barbarian Logen Ninefingers. The result was pompous toss, and swiftly abandoned.

Joe then moved to London, lived in a slum with two men on the borders of madness, and found work making tea for minimum wage at a TV Post-Production company. Two years later he left to become a freelance film editor, and has worked since on a range of documentaries, awards shows, music videos, and concerts for artists ranging from Barry White to Coldplay.

This job gave him lots of time off, and realising that he needed something more useful to do than playing video games, in 2001 he sat down once again to write an epic fantasy trilogy based around the misadventures of thinking man’s barbarian Logen Ninefingers. This time, having learned not to take himself too seriously in the six years since the first effort, the results were a great deal more interesting.

With heroic help and support from his family the first volume, The Blade Itself, was completed in 2004. Following a heart-breaking trail of rejection at the hands of several of Britain’s foremost literary agencies, The First Law trilogy was snatched up by Gillian Redfearn of Gollancz in 2005 in a seven-figure deal (if you count the pence columns). A year later The Blade Itself was unleashed on an unsuspecting public. It now has publishers in thirty countries.  The sequels, Before They are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings were published in 2007 and 2008, when Joe was a finalist for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer.  Best Served Cold, a standalone book set in the same world, was published in June 2009, and a second standalone, The Heroes, came in January 2011 and made no. 3 on the Sunday Times Hardcover Bestseller List.  A third standalone, Red Country, was both a Sunday Times and New York Times Hardcover Bestseller in October 2012.

The first part of his viking-inspired Shattered Sea series for young and old adults, Half a King, came out in July 2014, when it won the Locus award for best young adult novel.  The other two books, Half the World, and Half a War, followed in January and July 2015.

His collection of short fiction, Sharp Ends was published in 2016.  A new trilogy set in the world of the First Law, The Age of Madness, began in September 2019 with A Little Hatred. The Trouble with Peace followed in September 2020, and the final part, The Wisdom of Crowds is due in September 2021.

Joe now lives in Bath with his wife, Lou, his daughters Grace and Eve, and his son Teddy.  He spends most of his time writing edgy yet humorous fantasy novels…


five stars - Review: The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

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