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Book Details

The Blade Itself

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The End
The Survivors
No Choice at All
Playing with Knives
Teeth and Fingers
The Wide and Barren North
Fencing Practice
The Morning Ritual
First of the Magi
The Good Man
On the List
An Officer and a Gift
The King of the Northmen
A Road Between Two Dentists
The Course of True Love
How Dogs are Trained
Tea and Vengeance
What Freedom Looks Like
The King's Justice
Means of Escape
Three Signs
The Theatrical Outfitter's
Barbarians at the Gate
Better than Death
Sore Thumb
Dark Work
Words and Dust
The Remarkable Talents of Brother Longfoot
Her Kind Fight Everything
She Loves Me... Not
The Seed
Never Bet Against a Magus
The Ideal Audience
The House of the Maker
Nobody's Dog
Each Man Worships Himself
Old Friends
Back to the Mud
The Bloody-Nine
The Tools We Have
Book Cover
Has a genre Has a synopsis Has comments Has an extract Has a year read Has a rating In my library In a series 
 The First Law*
#1 of 3
The First Law*   See series as if on a bookshelf
A series of fantasy novels by Joe Abercrombie.

1) The Blade Itself
2) Before They Are Hanged
3) Last Argument of Kings

 First Law World
#1 of 10
First Law World   See series as if on a bookshelf
A series of novels written by Joe Abercrombie that take place in the same world that the original First Law trilogy did.

1) The Blade Itself
2) Before They Are Hanged
3) Last Argument of Kings
4) Best Served Cold
5) The Heroes
6) Red Country
7) Sharp Ends
8) A Little Hatred
9) The Trouble with Peace
10) The Wisdom of Crowds
Copyright © Joe Abercrombie 2006
For the Four Readers
You know who you are
Logen plunged through the trees, bare feet slipping and sliding on the wet earth, the slush, the wet pine needles, breath rasping in his chest, blood thumping in his head.
Comments may contain spoilers
I looked up "best fantasy series" online and this was one of the first to come up that I had not already read so I got the Kindle version of it to check it out.
Synopsis* (may contain spoilers)
The Blade Itself, the first book in Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy, is a dark, gritty, and engaging epic fantasy that subverts the genre's conventions and delivers a fresh, character-driven narrative.

The story takes place in a world where magic, politics, and violence are intertwined, and where the balance of power is constantly shifting between the Union, a confederation of feudal states, and the Gurkish Empire, an aggressively expansionist force. The book follows the exploits of several main characters, whose paths eventually converge and collide.

The first character we meet is Logen Ninefingers, a former warrior and leader of the feared Northmen, who is on the run from his past and his enemies. Logen is a complex and conflicted protagonist, prone to bouts of self-doubt, regret, and violence. He is caught in a cycle of bloodshed and survival, haunted by the ghosts of his past, and struggling to find a way to escape his fate.

Meanwhile, in the capital city of Adua, a young and idealistic nobleman named Jezal dan Luthar is busy pursuing his dreams of becoming the greatest swordsman in the Union, while enjoying the privileges of his position and the admiration of his peers. Jezal is arrogant, lazy, and selfish, but he also has a sense of honor and a desire to prove himself worthy of the respect he craves.

The third main character is Inquisitor Glokta, a former soldier who was captured and tortured by the Gurkish, and who now works as a ruthless and cunning torturer for the Union's secret police. Glokta is physically and mentally scarred, bitter, and cynical, but he is also intelligent, perceptive, and witty. He navigates the treacherous corridors of power with a mix of cunning and brutality, and tries to uncover a conspiracy that threatens to destabilize the Union.

As their stories unfold, Logen, Jezal, and Glokta encounter a cast of memorable and diverse supporting characters, including Bayaz, a mysterious and enigmatic wizard with a hidden agenda; Ferro Maljinn, a vengeful and traumatized slave who seeks to destroy the Gurkish Empire; and West, a pragmatic and loyal soldier who serves as the Captain of the Union's elite First Guard.

The Blade Itself is a slow-burning story that gradually sets the stage for larger conflicts and reveals the hidden depths and motivations of its characters. Abercrombie's prose is vivid and visceral, with a keen eye for detail and a darkly humorous tone. The book combines action, politics, and introspection, and explores themes such as power, identity, loyalty, and justice, without resorting to simplistic or cliched tropes.

As the book progresses, Logen, Jezal, and Glokta find themselves drawn into a web of conspiracies and betrayals, as they confront their own weaknesses and insecurities. Logen learns to trust and rely on his companions, particularly Ferro and West, and begins to question his own violent impulses. Jezal is forced to confront the harsh realities of war and the moral compromises he has made in his pursuit of glory. Glokta uncovers a plot to overthrow the ruling council of the Union, but must also reckon with his own past mistakes and his personal demons.

The Blade Itself ends on a cliffhanger, as the protagonists' paths converge and lead to a dramatic confrontation with a common enemy. The book sets the stage for the remaining two volumes of the trilogy, which continue to explore the world's political and magical intrigues, as well as the characters' personal journeys.

Overall, The Blade Itself is a compelling and impactful debut novel, which showcases Abercrombie's talent for world-building, character development, and gripping storytelling. It is a must-read for fans of epic fantasy, and a refreshing take on the genre for those who may have grown tired of its conventions.

Extract (may contain spoilers)
As soon as he reached the Square of Marshals, Jezal realised there was something wrong. It was never half this busy for a meeting of the Open Council. He glanced over the knots of finely dressed people as he hurried by, slightly late and out of breath from his long training session: voices were hushed, faces tense and expectant.

He shouldered his way through the crowd to the Lord’s Round, glancing suspiciously up at the guards flanking the inlaid doors. They at least seemed the same as ever, their heavy visors giving nothing away. He crossed the ante-chamber, vivid tapestries flapping slightly in the draught, slipped through the inner doors and passed into the vast, cool space beyond. His footsteps made tapping echoes in the gilded dome as he hurried down the aisle towards the high table. Jalenhorm was standing beneath one of the tall windows, face splashed with coloured light from the stained glass, frowning at a bench with a metal rail along its base which had been placed to one side of the floor.

‘What’s going on?’

‘Haven’t you heard?’ Jalenhorm’s voice was whispery with excitement. ‘Hoff’s let it be known there’ll be some great matter to discuss.’

‘What is it? Angland? The Northmen?’

The big man shook his head. ‘Don’t know, but we’ll soon see.’

Jezal frowned. ‘I don’t like surprises.’ His eye came to rest on the mysterious bench. ‘What’s that for?’

At that moment the great doors were swung open and a stream of councillors began to flood down the aisle. The usual mixture, Jezal supposed, if a little more purposeful. The younger sons, the paid representatives . . . he caught his breath. There was a tall man at the front, richly dressed even in this august company, with a weighty golden chain across his shoulders and a weighty frown across his face.

‘Lord Brock himself,’ whispered Jezal.


Added: 27-Feb-2018
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2023


But some things have to be done.  It's better to do them, than to live with the fear of them.


Kindle e-Book
In my libraryI read this editionOrder from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
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1)   4 Feb 2015 - 29 Mar 2015
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United Kingdom

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.

Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up in a hole in the snow with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all - ideally by running away from it. But as he's discovering, old habits die really, really hard indeed . . .

. . . especially when Bayaz gets involved. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult . . .
Book Cover
Notes and Comments:



Joe Abercrombie  
Birth: 30 Dec 1974 Lancaster, England


2008Baltimore Science Fiction SocietyCompton Crook Award Nominee
  • I try to maintain page numbers for audiobooks even though obviously there aren't any. I do this to keep track of pages read and I try to use the Kindle version page numbers for this.
  • Synopses marked with an asterisk (*) were generated by an AI. There aren't a lot since this is an iffy way to do it - AI seems to make stuff up.
  • When specific publication dates are unknown (ie prefixed with a "Cir"), I try to get the publication date that is closest to the specific printing that I can.
  • When listing chapters, I only list chapters relevant to the story. I will usually leave off Author Notes, Indices, Acknowledgements, etc unless they are relevant to the story or the book is non-fiction.
  • Page numbers on this site are for the end of the main story. I normally do not include appendices, extra material, and other miscellaneous stuff at the end of the book in the page count.

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Presented: 19-May-2024 10:36:40

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