The Trouble with Peace – Joe Abercrombie
The fantasy world that Joe Abercrombie created going back to the First Law trilogy is astounding in its depth and detail, with its own history, society, politics and culture. This is what it means to create an otherworld. I have visited this fantasy world for many years and been fascinated by the range and diversity of characters I’ve met. Characters that come alive through their dialogue, delivering much more than the spoken word but with a sense of mood and thought, ambition, desires, and personality. The detail is exquisite, and we follow the characters as their circumstances change, how their position and power is fragile and hard-fought, and how they play a unique and crucial role in a wider story that is perceptibly boundless in its scope and imagination. Their world is gradually becoming industrialised and gives us thought about greed and for every wealthy person there are hundreds of poor.
The main characters from the first book A Little Hatred, part of the Age of Madness Trilogy, return in The Trouble with Peace, with a journey ahead of them that will see their growth into adulthood and the positions they were fated to become. Some are uneasy with their new standing and commitments, like Orso who is King but apprehensive in the duties and requirements of the office, or Leo dan Brock, leader of Angland, also uneasy with the weight of responsibility. Both previously carefree characters who enjoyed drinking, laughing and fighting. Savine dan Glokta, daughter of Sand dan Glokta (famous from the First Law Trilogy) is a brilliant character and has fallen from grace and reputation, and pregnant with a bastard child, yet her enduring determination drives her forward. Rikke is another brilliantly drawn mystical character with new power to see images of the future through a talent called, The Long Eye. Rikke gives the narrative another dimension of impending doom and menace, and that exciting touch of supernatural.
In a world where power is fragile and neighbouring lands maintain an uneasy peace with forces that seek to recapture land lost to the Union in previous battles. The fighting leader of the North, Stour Nightfall continues his preparation and plotting to reclaim land from the Union. The conspiracies and scheming are deftly built, not only from outside the Union lands but also close to home. There is one thing for sure there is always a Trouble with Peace in this world and the politics and its machinations will eventually succumb to the ferocity of battle and the inevitable destruction ahead. The descriptive power of Abercrombie’s battle scenes is outstanding and a clear aspect of what makes these books so enthralling and visual.
I would highly recommend this epic fantasy and series and I would be surprised if any fantasy fans didn’t get completely enthralled in the storyline and invested in characters that are fascinating and compelling. Abercrombie is one of the top fantasy authors around today and I am still bewildered why this hasn’t been dramatized for TV or film. Maybe it’s underway and I just haven’t heard but if not Why Not?
I would like to thank Orion Publishing, Gollancz and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in return for an honest review.