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Review: The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

the wisdom of crowds by joe abercrombie - Review: The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe AbercrombieThe Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie
Published by Gollancz on September 14, 2021
ISBN: 9780575095991
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, Historical, Action & Adventure, General
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased Book
Buy on Amazon
five stars - Review: The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

'Dazzlingly gruesome and gripping' Daily Mail
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.
With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies . . . while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.
The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver's ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together . . .
Capping off the AGE OF MADNESS trilogy, THE WISDOM OF CROWDS brings the series which is revolutionising fantasy to its stunning conclusion . . .

The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie feels like his life’s work taking its earned place on the top of the pedestal.  It feels like the end of an era with the First Law Series having its final curtain call.  As with any much-beloved series, it’s hard to close that final chapter and say goodbye to the scheming, betrayals, and bloodshed.  It’s hard to know sometimes which way Abercrombie will take his characters and what end they’ll be dealt but trust in the author and his vision because it’s worth the ride and I believe that every character got the ending they needed.

“Debauchery is profitable under any government”

The Wisdom of Crowds

The Wisdom of Crowds fully delivers on the events put into action in The Trouble with Peace.  Civil war has broken out and no one is safe.  Although the nobels have now downgraded their names to Citizens it doesn’t stop the destruction that is taking Adua by storm.  The commoners are struggling for work, food, and safety and with the actions of the burners, spearheaded by Judge, things seem to be far worse than before.  Yes, they are delivering on a great change but is it more a case for, the devil you know.  The Young Lion, Leo, and Savine Dan Brock are looking over the edge at a precipice, one wrong move and they’ll be facing execution. 

As always, the characterisation in The Wisdom of Crowds is the piece de resistance.  Through all the madness and chaos, Rikke is trying to fulfill her father’s wish of a united north whilst keeping her enemies at bay.  The long eye is behaving but that also poses another intriguing question of what comes next? King Orso realises that his birthright was never really for him at all, he doesn’t want the weight of the kingdom on his shoulders.  Orso just wants a life free of the constraints of the monarchy and to find true love.  Savine realises that she must become “Darling of the Slums” to survive.  She has changed and her development is the most striking, except for Leo…which is a whole other issue. 

Every major player in this story has to find a way to move forward, learn from the mistakes of the past and just SURVIVE.

Personally, Rikke was my favourite throughout this trilogy.  Abercrombie seems at his absolute best when he is writing in the north.  The atmosphere, the brutality but the camaraderie is more apparent in the north.  From a girl that was scared that Stour Nightfall might put her guts in a box and send them to her father, to a woman that will look into the face of her enemies and stab them in the throat.  She has become what Isern-i-Phail could see in her.  She has made her heart a stone, but she is also ruling with fairness and candor, just like the dogman.  Rikke, Isern-i-Phail, and Shivers, it’s a bit of a dysfunctional family but a family nonetheless.

“The sad truth is, men love to follow a man other men fear,” said Clover. “Makes them feel fearsome, too. We tell the odd fond story of the good men. The straight edges. Your Rudd Threetrees, your Dogmen. But it’s the butchers men love to sing of. The burners and the blood-spillers. Your Cracknut Whirruns and your Black Dows. Your Bloody-Nines. Men don’t dream of doing the right thing, but of ripping what they want from the world with their strength and their will.”

The Wisdom of Crowds

Gunner Broad was a man that haunted my thoughts.  He was a man that became completely devastated by his past.  A man that couldn’t undo the events in Styria, a man that knew nothing but war and destruction.  He struggled constantly between his conscience and his want to be a good family man for Liddy and May but believing all he was good for was murder and bloodshed.  Judge preys on this and he is now in a cycle of drunkenness and execution, can he find a way to stop before all that was left of him is destroyed? 

Abercrombie has excelled himself.  Yes, we are left with more than one question left unanswered but isn’t that just the funny thing called life?  We are never going to get that perfect ending, everything tied up in a neat little bow.  That isn’t Abercrombie and neither would I want it to be. 


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 abercrombie - Review: The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

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 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 Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

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