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Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

Before They Are Hanged (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Joe Abercrombie

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2,285582,791 (4.2)68
Title:Before They Are Hanged
Authors:Joe Abercrombie
Info:Gollancz (2007), Edition: 1ST, Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library

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Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie (2007)



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Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this a bit more than the first one. It continues the story of the Empire under siege and the 'heroes' who may save it. While a bit long and drawn out with the typical fantasy 'trip to the end of the world', the heroes are well done and the book well paced. As this story progresses we get to know the individuals better and they get to know each other better in a fairly natural way. Three plot lines in the book occupy roughly equal parts and get equal attention - the northern barbarian invasion, the southern invasion and counter-efforts by Sand dan Glokta, the very effective Interrogator, and the world saving (or dooming) quest of the heroes. Typical fantasy stuff, but well done. Just as a comparison to other currently popular series, this is much better than the Malazan Empire books (those slog on and on and on with little point) and almost, but not quite on par with the Kingkiller series by Patrick Rothfuss. Rothfuss is better, but its not a huge gap. ( )
  Karlstar | Nov 9, 2014 |
Great Book. ( )
  Gonzalo8046 | Sep 29, 2014 |
The Basics

When last we left our heroes, Bayaz was organizing an expedition to the Old Empire to find a magical MacGuffin, and Ferro, Logen, and Jezal are his chosen band to help him in his quest. Meanwhile, Glokta has been shipped off to Dagoska with a Gurkish army standing right outside the city gates.

My Thoughts

Favorite in the series. Absolute favorite. That doesn’t even require thought for me to say; it’s that thoughtlessly good. It’s exciting and adventurous. It’s funny. It’s chocked full of surprising character interaction. Glokta gets to be a magnificent bastard all over Dagoska. The First Law Trilogy had me with the characters in the first novel, and suddenly the story ramps up here and gets more, better, bigger, faster.

I made this statement already with my review of the first book, but it bears repeating in a big way. Abercrombie is big on subverting fantasy tropes. Characters don’t do what they’d do in their designated fantasy roles. They break molds. That doesn’t just extend to characters either. If this were Tolkien, these characters would face adversity and then ultimately succeed, but Abercrombie isn’t interested in regurgitating what we’ve already read, and on the sliding scale of optimism versus cynicism, he is a major cynic. He takes such an enormous chance at the end of this book, it was like watching someone walk off the edge of a cliff with a grin on their face. And it worked. Beautifully. I think I remember feeling utterly shocked and then busting out with hysterical laughter. It’s that kind of book.

This is the Empire Strikes Back of The First Law Trilogy. The book that might annoy some, but others with more mature tastes will enjoy for the leaps of faith and the journey itself. Abercrombie proves that it’s not about reaching a conclusion, that rushing to get there is pointless. I’ll get a little more into that with my review of the third book, because it illustrates that concept even better in my opinion.

I’ve said in other reviews, particularly of fantasy series that have hooked me, that I don’t hook easily. I am a slippery fish when it comes to committing to a series, and he had me from the first book. So much so that I read this one only a couple weeks later, because I couldn’t stand being away from this world. I am not that kind of reader. I’ve been known to wait years between books in a series. I’m trying to impart how addictive this series is, how you will not be able to turn back when you begin. It’s well worth your time.

Final Rating

5/5 ( )
  Nickidemus | Sep 18, 2014 |
The middle of an amazing trilogy. Heads are being butted and war threatens every corner of their fantastical world. Each character is further defined. We learn more of Bayaz and his qualities. Is he truly the great noble man that he claims to be? The quick wit is balanced with rich histories and amazing characters. Read at your own peril for you will love it. Warning- not a book for those who hate gory torture stuff. This book has that. ( )
  Rosenstern | Sep 13, 2014 |
This is Book Two of a fantasy trilogy about a power struggle that is marked by violence, bloody torture, betrayal, evil, conspiracy, greed - well, you name the type of dark gritty depravity, and this series is replete with it.

But the heroes are wonderful and you can't help falling in love with them, in spite of their damaged characters. Their capacity for brutality is awe-inspiring, but so is their capacity for compassion, hope, loyalty and love. You come to adore some of them, admire others, and retain a fascination for the intricacies of the rest. In addition, the author’s mastery of the exigencies of war and the realities of politics is most impressive.

The "star" of the series is Logen Ninefingers, a famously courageous killer and cunning tactician with a penchant for inspirational aphorisms, a philosophical bent, a knack for making enemies, and, when not almost demonically possessed in battle, a very good and lovable man.

As the middle book, it probably goes without saying that this is not a standalone, but you won't want to miss what precedes and follows it. ( )
  nbmars | Aug 11, 2014 |
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"We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged." - Heinrich Heine
For the Four Readers

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First words
Damn mist. It gets in your eyes, so you can’t see no more than a few strides ahead. It gets in your ears, so you can’t hear nothing, and when you do you can’t tell where it’s coming from. It gets up your nose, so you can’t smell naught but wet and damp. Damn mist. It’s a curse on a scout.
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Aber wenn man, sagen wir mal, auf einer weiten, großen Ebene mitten im großen Nichts in einen Kampf gerät, der sich nicht vermeiden lässt, dann versuche ich, drei Regeln zu folgen. Erstens: Tut Euer Bestes, wie ein Feigling, ein Schwächling und ein Narr zu wirken. Schweigen ist die beste Rüstung eines Kriegers, heißt es. Ein hartes Äußeres und schlagkräftige Worte haben noch nie eine Schlacht gewonnen, aber einige verloren. [...] Zweitens: Betrachtet niemanden als einen leichten Gegner, ganz gleich, wie ungeschlacht er wirken mag. Behandelt jeden Mann, als sei er zweimal so klug, so stark und so schnell wie Ihr, und dann werdet möglicherweiseangenehm überrascht. Respekt kostet nichts, und nichts bringt einen Mann schneller um als Selbstbewusstsein." [...] Drittens: Beobachtet Euren Gegner so genau, wie Ihr könnt, und hört auf die Meinung anderer, aber wenn Ihr einmal einen Plan gefasst habt, dann haltet an ihm fest und lasst Euch durch nichts davon abbringen. Wenn die Zeit kommt, um zuzuschlagen, dann solltet Ihr das tun, ohne zurückzublicken. Verzögerung ist aller Katastrophen Anfang, pflegte mein Vater immer zu sagen, und glaubt mir, ich habe ein paar Katastrophen miterlebt.
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Book description
Colonel West battles Northmen that invade Angland, inquisitor Glotka has a complicated and dangerous assignment defending the Union in Dagoska, and the magus Bayaz, leading a party that includes Jezal dan Luthar and Logen, seeks a relic that will allow him to enter the demon realm.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0575082011, Paperback)

Bitter and merciless war is coming to the frozen north. It's bloody and dangerous and the Union army, split by politics and hamstrung by incompetence, is utterly unprepared for the slaughter that's coming. Lacking experience, training, and in some cases even weapons the army is scarcely equipped to repel Bethod's scouts, let alone the cream of his forces. In the heat-ravaged south the Gurkish are massing to assault the city of Dagoska, defended by Inquisitor Glokta. The city is braced for the inevitable defeat and massacre to come, preparations are made to make the Gurkish pay for every inch of land ...but a plot is festering to hand the city to its beseigers without a fight, and the previous Inquisitor of Dagoska vanished without trace. Threatened from within and without the city, Glokta needs answers, and he needs them soon. And to the east a small band of malefactors travel to the edge of the world to reclaim a device from history - a Seed, hidden for generations - with tremendous destructive potential. A device which could put a end to war, to the army of Eaters in the South, to the invasion of Shanka from the North - but only if it can be found, and only if its power can be controlled ...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:06 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Superior Glokta has a problem. How can he defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when his allies can by no means be trusted? Ancient secrets will be uncovered and bitter enemies will be forgiven--but not before they are hanged--in this sequel to "The Blade Itself."… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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