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Saturday, April 4, 2020

A Story Epitomizing
the Union of Joffrey Baratheon and Harley Quinn 


Last Argument of Kings
In this, the third installment of “The First Law” series, Joe Abercrombie brings his trilogy to an end. And I have to say, I thought it was cleverly done.
Logan has business – bloody business – to attend to in the north. Bethod has had his rampaging way for far too long, and it looks as if it’s up to the Bloody-Nine to sort things out!
Sand dan Glokta faces an equally tricky – and just as gory – situation in the capital, where political intrigue, treasonous jockeying, and assassination attempts by friend, foe, and demon alike come thick and fast, forcing him to take extreme measures in order to survive.
The Gurkish Empire, not content with annexing Dagoska, the Union’s southernmost province, continue their assault and bring the war to the heart of the Union.
And Jezal dan Luthar, having made it safely back from the edge of the known world, wants nothing more than a quiet life. To settle down with the woman he loves to raise a family. But the king is dying. Added to all the turmoil festering in one place after another, it’s no wonder the common folk are terrified and start revolting. And guess who the powers-that-be task to deal with it?
A veritable cauldron of strife and torment, if ever there was one. To help heat things toward boiling point, we have all the usual accelerants: Narcissistic wizards; incompetent rulers; revolting peasants – and lords too, come to that – restless, warriors itching for a fight; and devious, flesh-eating ghouls, all crowing for the world’s end.
And the thing is, though Joe Abercrombie builds the series to a climactic conclusion, he doesn’t just end it after an epic battle. Oh no. He adds a cunning touch of realism to the mix that helps us appreciate that, at the end of every epic – when the fabled deeds are done and our heroes and heroines come to rest from their labors – picking up the pieces is never easy. Life goes on. But for the survivors, that life might be so drastically changed, that they’ll never be the same.
Kudos to Joe Abercrombie. He leaves us with a bittersweet taste of a world where the lovechild of Joffrey Baratheon and Harley Quinn is allowed to take the reins of a shattered kingdom, only to steer it in a Pulp Fiction direction.
Ultima Ratio Regum.

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