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Book Details

Half a King

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I - The Black Chair
The Greater Good
A Way to Win
Between Gods and Men
Man's Work
The Enemy
II - The South Wind
Cheapest Offerings
One Family
The Minister's Tools
The Fool Strikes
Ugly Little... Secrets
Enemies and Allies
One Friend
Death Waits
III - The Long Road
Bending with Circumstance
The Better Men
The Truth
Only a Devil
The Last Stand
Burning the Dead
Floating Twigs
IV - The Rightful Kings
Your Enemy's House
Great Stakes
In Darkness
A Friend's Fight
Mother War's Bargain
The Last Door
A Lonely Seat
The Blame
Some are Saves
The Lesser Evil
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 Shattered Sea*
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Shattered Sea*   See series as if on a bookshelf
A young adult series by the master of grimdark Joe Abercrombie.

1) Half a King
2) Half the World
3) Half a War
Copyright © 2014 by Joe Abercrombie
For Grace
There was a harsh gale blowing on the night Yarvi learned he was a king. Or half a king, at least.
May contain spoilers
"Tell the king I am on my way."
No comments on file
Synopsis* (may contain spoilers)
Half a King is a compelling novel by Joe Abercrombie that depicts the treacherous journey of a young prince named Yarvi, who was born with a crippled arm. The story takes place in the harsh lands of the Shattered Sea, where power and brutality reign supreme. Yarvi is the second son of King Uthrik of Gettland, and he has always been treated like an outcast by his father, his brother, and his people.

The novel starts with Yarvi's coming-of-age ceremony, where he is supposed to swear an oath to the Six Sacred Gods and become a man. However, Yarvi fails the test and is deemed unworthy, which causes his father and brother to renounce him and cast him out of the royal family. Insulted and heartbroken, Yarvi decides to seek refuge in a nearby monastery instead of committing suicide, as tradition dictates.

At the monastery, Yarvi discovers that life is not easier, but harder. He is forced to leave behind his royal privileges and live a humble life as a novice, working long hours in the gardens and the kitchens. However, as the weeks pass, Yarvi starts to realize that the monks have their own secrets and agendas, and that they might be as corrupt and ruthless as any other ruler in the Shattered Sea. He also learns the art of deception, as the monks teach him how to read people's faces and tell lies without being caught.

One day, Yarvi receives a message from his mother, announcing that his father and brother have been killed in battle, and that he is now the king of Gettland. Shocked and scared, Yarvi is forced to leave the monastery and embark on a dangerous journey to reclaim his throne and avenge his family. However, he soon realizes that he is not a born warrior, and that he needs allies to survive.

Yarvi meets several characters on his journey, who help or hinder him in different ways. Among them are Sumael, a skilled warrior from the far-off land of Vansterland, who becomes Yarvi's bodyguard; Nothing, a brave and loyal orphan who joins Yarvi's crew; and Jaud, a cunning and seductive queen who offers Yarvi her army in exchange for his hand in marriage.

Yarvi also encounters many obstacles on his journey, such as the harsh weather, the treacherous terrain, and the savage tribes that roam the Shattered Sea. He faces betrayal and ambushes from people he trusted, and he has to fight for his life and his beliefs in many battles. However, Yarvi never gives up, thanks to his wit, his resilience, and his strategic mind.

Yarvi's ultimate goal is to defeat his father's killer, Grom-gil-Gorm, a ruthless warrior who has conquered many lands and enslaved many people. Yarvi knows that he cannot defeat Grom in a direct battle, so he decides to use his cunning and his knowledge of diplomacy to bring him down. Yarvi pretends to surrender to Grom and offers him a chance to become the supreme ruler of the Shattered Sea, but then he uses a secret weapon to poison Grom's army and force him to retreat.

In the end, Yarvi becomes the king of Gettland and marries Jaud, but he realizes that power is not everything. He gives up his dream of becoming a great warrior and chooses to rule his people with compassion and intelligence. He also learns to accept his disabled arm as a source of strength, not weakness, and to value the friendships and the love he has acquired on his journey.

Half a King is an epic tale of courage, betrayal, and redemption, set in a harsh and unforgiving world. It shows how one person can overcome their limitations and rise up to challenges, with the help of others and the power of their own mind. It also raises important questions about the nature of power, the responsibility of leadership, and the human capacity for evil and goodness.

Extract not on file


Added: 08-May-2022
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2023


Recorded Books
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9 hrs 17 min (385 pages)
1)   28 Jun 2022 - 30 Jun 2022
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United States
Charles Keating  - Narration

Yarvi, second son of the feared King Uthrik and the ruthless Queen Laithlin of Gettland, was born with a useless hand, and cannot hold a shield, or make fast a knot, or pull an oar, or do any of the things expected from a man. Left an outcast, he's surrendered his birthright and been given a woman's place as apprentice to Mother Gundring, Gettland's Minister, training to be an adviser, diplomat, healer and translator.

But when his father and brother are murdered by Grom-gil-Gorm, King of neighboring Vansterland, Yarvi is forced to take the Black Chair and become king himself - or half a king, at least - swear an oath of vengeance against the killers of his father, and lead a raid against the Vanstermen. Betrayed, left for dead, and enslaved on a rotting trading galley, Yarvi will need all his Minister's wit and cunning to escape, and all his diplomacy and knowledge to keep a rag-tag band of other slaves together on a month long trek across the frozen wastes of the utmost north. Among them are Sumael, the ship's single-minded navigator, Rulf, an ex-raide, Jaud, an ex-baker, and Nothing, a mad old man with a mysterious past and an almost magical skill with a sword. And their owner, the brutal Captain Shadikshirram, will be dogging their heels at every step. Father Peace may be the patron god of Ministers, but to reclaim the Black Chair, Yarvi will have to strike a deal with Mother War, and once you've invited the mother of crows to be your guest, there can be no telling whose blood will be spilled.
Book Cover
Notes and Comments:



Joe Abercrombie  
Birth: 30 Dec 1974 Lancaster, England


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  • 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.

See my goodreads icon goodreads page. I almost never do reviews, but I use this site to catalogue books.
See my librarything icon librarything page. I use this site to catalogue books and it has more details on books than goodreads does.

Presented: 16-Apr-2024 02:37:35

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