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Last Argument of Kings Book Review

Updated on May 18, 2013

Last of the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

Cover for Last Argument of Kings

I finished Last Argument of Kings in two days. Confined to bed recovering from a broken foot, I was devastated when I closed the last page. I was experiencing the usual regret when you finish a great book, sorrow when it ends. But finishing this book was three times as difficult since it was the last of a trilogy.

Epic-fantasy has matured with the evolved hero transformed into the anti-hero and this book reinforces all that we love about that anti-hero. The Last Argument from the title as told by the First Master Wizard, Bayaz, sums up the philosophy of this epic:

"Power makes all things right. That is my first law, and my last. That is the only law that I acknowledge."

The Characters - What a Twisted Cast

Cover of Last Argument of Kings

The characters are corrupt, violent and tortured and I guarantee you'll never forget them.

1) San dan Glokta was captured by the enemy of the Union in the last war and tortured. He is returned years later crippled, devoid of emotion only to become a torturer himself for the Union Inquisition.

2) Logan Ninefingers is a bloodthirsty barbarian of the North who brings death and destruction to friend and foe alike.

3) Jezal dan Luthar, conceited, spoiled, his only motives are for his own self interest.

4) Ferro has only vengeance on her mind after she is made a slave and her people destroyed. Containing the blood of the ancients she has power.

5) Bayaz, First of the Magi is not what he seems. No Gandalf he. His motives are twisted too.

6) Collem West, seems the favored commoner in the Union army but the anger he controls doesn't always stay under the surface.

7) Ardee West, Collem's sister, is a beautiful but bitter drunk who attracts the worst kind of attention.

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

The cast of characters from the previous novels, like the absolutely unforgettable Inquisitor Glokta and Logen Ninefingers, clash in battle as well as behind the thrones of power. Abercrombie's strength has been in his ability to create amazing characterizations and he attains an even higher level in "Last Argument of Kings.", The characters become even more nuanced and complex, fighting hard against the reader's expectations of them. They are never who you want them to be but are always who they must be.

Hammering home the philosophy that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely leads to an unexpected character twist that is brilliant. Some may argue that the end is too dark and chance plays more into who survives than courage or strength, but fairy tale endings are not for the world of the anti-hero. Attempts to combat this truth will lead you down your own condemned path, whether reluctantly or with enthusiasm.

The last vision of the world is even more profound with the realization that the cycle will again be repeated for as long as the same power is in control and the world is without the will to change it. Some may argue that the story should end on a note of hope and change but I contend that the story ends in perfect harmony with the rest of the trilogy, returning back to where it started, ready for the story to be repeated again and again. A lot like real life.

Abercrombie's abilities peak in Last Argument of Kings and brings the trilogy to a rousing and, for me, very satisfying conclusion. The novel is filled with incredible battles, grim humor, and many unforeseen twists and turns.

The First Law Trilogy

The Blade Itself (The First Law: Book One)
The Blade Itself (The First Law: Book One)

I fell in love with this book (and its two sequels) ! I'm a fan of GOOD fantasy and I've read lots of it, but since I discovered this series I am spoiled for all the rest.

Before They Are Hanged (The First Law: Book Two)
Before They Are Hanged (The First Law: Book Two)

The epic continues with more war, intrigue and fighting.

Last Argument of Kings (First Law: Book Three)
Last Argument of Kings (First Law: Book Three)

I hated when I finished it. Maybe I will just have to reread the series again.

First Law Trilogy Boxed Set The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings
First Law Trilogy Boxed Set The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings

Get them all at once so you don't have to wait. I finished them all so quickly that I had to run to the bookstore because i couldn't wait to get them online.

Best Served Cold
Best Served Cold

Haven't read this one yet but am looking forward to it. Abercrombie is such a good read.


The First Law Graphic Novel

Get It Free

WOW! This is a fantastic addition to the First Law Trilogy. On April 10th,2013 Joe Abercrombie has introduced a graphic novel of his first book, The Blade Itself. You can download the first 12 pages at his website Joe Abercrombie:The First Law Graphic Novel.

Quoted from the website below you can see that this is a project that is important to the author. Enjoy.

"It is with the greatest pleasure of which my withered prune of a heart is capable that I announce the release of a project that has been a long time in the pipeline, which is, as many of you may already have guessed, a full colour, comprehensive Graphic Novel adaptation of that pillar of 21st century fantasy fiction: The First Law Trilogy.

It's been put together by Rich Young of Blind Ferret, adapted by Chuck Dixon, with art by Andie Tong, colours by Pete Pantazis, lettering and design from Bill Tortolini, all done under the horrifying gaze of my single flaming unblinking eye. I am hugely pleased with the results, which, no lie, have exceeded every expectation.

But the thing that's of particular interest to me about this project, and probably will be of some interest to you as well, is the method of distribution. Mainly - that we're giving it away to anyone with an internet connection.

Yes, you heard me right. We're serialising it, free, at"

Cover of The First Law (Graphic Novel) by Joe Abercrombie

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    • Sharon Weaver profile image

      Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @DrBillSmithWriter: Thanks and I will work on it.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Facscinating. SquidAngel blessed, even though a few more modules should really be added. ;-)