Fantasy Mystery

Before They Are Hanged – Joe Abercrombie

26 February 2019
Before They Are Hanged Book Cover Before They Are Hanged
First Law
Joe Abercrombie

Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country. Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory. There is only one problem – he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.

Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven – but not before they are hanged.


This follow-up book in the First Law trilogy has a greater adventure than the first book. The battles and fighting continue relentlessly. The sense of expanse widens even further – to the ends of the world. The characters are further developed and nothing is predictable in their personalities. The story continues at a rapid page-turning wide-eyed pace.

Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a band of adventurers on a perilous mission to distant lands. The most hated and deadly woman in the South, Ferro, the most feared man in the North, Logan Ninefingers, and the most selfish boy in the Union, Jezel, make a strange alliance. Their ability to inflict brutal damage to opponents is tempered with their loyalty and sense of justice. As a band of warriors, their cohesion and diversities continue to captivate. We get to see deeper into their nature and the subtle charisma with several is surprising.

Several other characters are so intriguing including Glokta, the Inquisitor. Having to defend his city knowing it is full of traitors that he must root out, where no-one can be trusted and where failure means execution. We will have our favourites but imagine feeling empathy and fond gravitation towards an Inquisitor!

This is an amazing fantasy adventure that is full of wonderfully drawn characters, a landscape that comes alive in the writing, and a plot that is ridiculously imaginative.

I would highly recommend this book, and the whole First Law trilogy

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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