Paperback, 544 pages

English language

Published March 7, 2007 by Gollancz.

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4 stars (4 reviews)

Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.

Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long …

3 editions

Review of 'The Blade Itself' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Wow, this ended up really surprising me. I walked into this book having heard some of the more common criticisms, namely the almost complete lack of plot. I'm more of a character reader myself, so I wasn't terribly worried. But even though interesting character work is important to me as a reader, I also really REALLY don't like it when the first book of a series exists solely as an introduction without its own story to lean on, so I started this off This book expecting to be really critical of that. However I knew that Abercrombie's character work was very well regarded, so I was curious to see how that tension panned out. And I have to admit, the characters won me over hard.

We follow several different POV characters as they move about their own individual adventures without any real consistent through line or story. There are hints …

Review of 'The Blade Itself' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Not boring, but not much happens. It's not a story that stands on its own. It doesn't have an ending. Though the last couple of chapters finally saw some kind of progression. You really have to go on to book 2, otherwise you don't really have a story.

The characters are great, though. Not a lot of world building. I sure hope it improves in the next books.

Enjoyable but feels too much like setup

3 stars

The First Law series has been recommended to me for a long time, and I finally decided to dive in. Abercrombie's reputation as a great character writer is well deserved, but the first book in the series is a bit light on plot. I will continue with the rest of the series, as I've heard that the plot gets better after the first entry.


  • Fantasy
  • Fiction