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Book Details

Before They Are Hanged

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The Great Leveller
Best Laid Plans
The Wounds of the Past
The Condition of the Defences
The Thing About Trust
Campfire Politics
Small Crimes
Bloody Company
Long Shadows
And Next... My Gold
One Hundred Words
The Blind Lead the Blind
Prince Ladisla's Stratagem
Until Sunset
Long Odds
The Road to Victory
Necessary Evils
Among the Stones
The Fruits of Boldness
One for Dinner
One of Them
Heading North
Scant Mercy
So This is Pain
One Step at a Time
The Rest is Wasted Breath
A Matter of Time
To the Last Man
Jewel of Cities
Beneath the Ruins
No Good for Each Other
The Hero's Welcome
Cold Comfort
The High Places
Coming Over
Cheap at the Price
To the Edge of the World
Before the Storm
Holding the Line
A Fitting Punishment
The Abode of Stones
Back to the Mud
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*
#2 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
#2 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 2007
For the Four Readers
You know who you are
Damn mist.
May contain spoilers
And he stood up, and he wiped his hand on his shirt, and he walked away, back to the living, and left the two of them behind him in the earth.
Comments may contain spoilers
Read on the Kindle just after finishing The Blade Itself.
Synopsis* (may contain spoilers)
Before They Are Hanged is the second book in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy. It continues the story of the main characters from the previous book, The Blade Itself, as they journey to the North in search of the lost seed of a magical tree that is believed to hold the key to saving the world from impending doom.

The book opens with a prologue that introduces one of the new pov characters, a feared Northman warrior named Logen Ninefingers, who has been fleeing from the forces of the First Magus, Bayaz. Logen is accompanied by his new companions, including the mage Bayaz, the former torturer Glokta, and the warrior Jezal dan Luthar. They are joined by a group of mercenaries led by Colonel West, who is tasked with escorting them to the far North.

The Northmen are facing an invasion from the forces of the Union, whose king is determined to unite all the lands under his rule. However, Logen and his companions soon realize that the situation is far worse than they thought. The Northmen are not only facing human enemies but also fierce and monstrous creatures known as Shanka, who are led by a mysterious and powerful figure known as the Magus. Logen, Bayaz, and their companions find themselves caught in the middle of the conflict, and they must resort to desperate measures to survive.

Meanwhile, in the capital city of Adua, Glokta is tasked with investigating a conspiracy that threatens the stability of the Union. He is aided by his new assistant, the young and ambitious Savine dan Glokta, who is eager to prove her worth to her father. However, as they delve deeper into the conspiracy, they discover that there are powerful forces at work that are determined to keep the truth hidden.

Jezal dan Luthar, the arrogant and selfish nobleman, is also on a journey of his own. He is sent to the far North to participate in the famous Contest of Champions, a gladiatorial competition that pits the best warriors from all over the North against each other. Jezal is determined to win the contest and become a hero, but he soon realizes that the competition is more brutal and deadly than he ever imagined. He must also confront his own weaknesses and fears if he is to survive.

As the various storylines converge, the characters are forced to confront their own flaws and shortcomings. Logen is haunted by his past and the violence that he has unleashed upon the world. Glokta is tormented by his own physical disabilities and his past sins. Jezal is forced to confront his own cowardice and selfishness.

The climax of the book involves a fierce battle between the forces of the Union and the Northmen, with Logen and his companions at the center of the conflict. The battle is brutal and bloody, with both sides suffering heavy losses. However, in the end, it is revealed that the real threat to the world comes not from human forces but from a powerful and ancient menace that has been lying dormant for centuries. The fate of the world now rests in the hands of a few unlikely heroes.

Before They Are Hanged is a thrilling and engaging continuation of the First Law trilogy. It builds upon the characterizations and world-building of the first book and adds new elements that keep the story fresh and exciting. The book is notable for its sharp and witty dialogue, complex and flawed characters, and its gritty and violent depiction of a medieval world. It is a must-read for fans of dark fantasy and epic adventure.

Extract (may contain spoilers)
Logen shifted uncomfortably in his saddle, and squinted up at the few birds circling around over the great flat plain. Damn but his arse hurt. His thighs were sore, his nose was all full of the smell of horse. Couldn’t find a comfortable position to put his fruits in. Always squashed, however often he jammed his hand down inside his belt to move ’em. A damn uncomfortable journey this was turning out to be, in all sorts of ways.

He used to talk on the road, back in the North. When he was a boy he’d talked to his father. When he was a young man he’d talked to his friends. When he’d followed Bethod he’d talked to him, all the day long, for they’d been close back then, like brothers almost. Talk took your mind off the blisters on your feet, or the hunger in your belly, or the endless bloody cold, or who’d got killed yesterday.

Logen used to laugh at the Dogman’s stories while they slogged through the snow. He used to puzzle over tactics with Threetrees while they rode through the mud. He used to argue with Black Dow while they waded through bogs, and no subject was ever too small. He’d even traded a joke or two with Harding Grim in his time, and there weren’t too many who could say that.

He sighed to himself. A long, painful sigh that caught at the back of his throat. Good times, no doubt, but far behind him now, in the sunny valleys of the past. Those boys were all gone back to the mud. All silent, forever. Worse yet, they’d left Logen out in the middle of nowhere with this lot.

The great Jezal dan Luthar wasn’t interested in anyone’s stories except his own. He sat stiff upright and aloof the whole time, chin held high, displaying his arrogance, and his superiority, and his contempt for everything like a young man might show off his first sword, long before he learned that it was nothing to be proud of.

Bayaz had no interest in tactics. When he spoke at all he barked in single words, in yeses and in nos, frowning out across the endless grass like a man who’s made a bad mistake and can’t see his way clear of it. His apprentice too seemed changed since they left Adua. Quiet, hard, watchful. Brother Longfoot was away across the plain, scouting out the route. Probably best that way. No one else had any talk at all. The Navigator, Logen had to admit, had far too much.

Ferro rode some distance away from the rest of this friendly gathering, her shoulders hunched, her brows drawn down in a constant scowl, the long scar on her cheek puckered up an angry grey, doing her best to make the others look like a sack of laughs. She leaned forwards, into the wind, pushing at it, as if she hoped to hurt it with her face. More fun to trade jokes with the plague than with her, Logen reckoned.

And that was the merry band. His shoulders slumped. ‘How long until we get to the Edge of the World?’ he asked Bayaz, without much hope.


Added: 06-Apr-2015
Last Updated: 21-Mar-2023


Soldiers seemed to care a great deal for flags.  She had never understood that.  You could not kill a man with one.  You could not protect yourself with one.  And yet men would die for flags.
That's what an idiot does when he gets angry.  He destroys whatever's nearest, even if it's his own house!


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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 . . .
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Notes and Comments:



Joe Abercrombie  
Birth: 30 Dec 1974 Lancaster, England


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Presented: 19-May-2024 10:28:48

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