Okay, Joe Abercrombie has got me. I’ll keep buying his books so long as he keeps producing excellent tales like this. Before They Are Hanged is easy reading full of enjoyable characters that change in ways you like to see them change, throughout a stonking story. The subtext added by the torturer Glokta’s thoughts as he carries out his ‘duties’ raises a chuckle at such (understandable) cynicism. I enjoy Luthar’s climb out of naivety and Logen’s pragmatic wisdom, and I love every one of the other northern ‘named men’ who have already crept up into the region of legend in my mind: Black Dow, Dogman, Harding Grim, Threetrees and Tul Duru Thunderhead. Honestly, reading this book has made me realize that I didn’t go off fantasy over the last couple of decades, I just wasn’t getting hold of any of the good stuff.
This is the good stuff.
Incidentally, his blog is worth a look too.