Saturday, August 18, 2007

THE BLADE ITSELF - Opening Chapters

THE BLADE ITSELF by Joe Abercrombie had its debut in the UK on May 4, 2006, Therefore, as a debut in the US, it has more momentum than an author starting from scratch. It debuts in the US on September 6. Interestingly, it is the second book with this title that came out this year. The other novel is also a debut, and it came out on January 9th. It pops up first on an Amazon search, so don't get confused.

Pyr has made the first 63 pages of THE BLADE ITSELF available as a beautiful PDF file. Therefore, I thought that I would be remiss if I didn't put up a post about the first few chapters.

The first few pages plunge us into action when an axe-wielding man named Logen fights for his life against the Shanka ("flatheads"). He ends up in a very unfortunate situation where certain death appears to loom. At this point, he makes the following reflection:

It was quite a scrape he was in. He’d been in some bad ones alright, and lived to sing the songs, but it was hard to see how this could get much worse. That got him thinking about his life. It seemed a bitter, pointless sort of a life now. No one was any better off because of it. Full of violence and pain, with not much but disappointment and hardship in between.

His reminisces have no opportunity to go on any further. He makes a desperate gamble for life and to his astonishment, it works. He returns to his camp to gather his things, muses about the fate of his friends, and he heads off with his pot, which is the only companion that he has left.

The next part I approached with a bit of trepidation when I realized that it would be a torture scene. However, although there was plenty of corruption that made me wince, along with a short description of the victim after said torture, Abercrombie did not subject the reader to any actual torture. The action was told through the eyes of the head inquisitor, and Abercrombie did a good job making me feel a pitying sort of sympathy toward him. One hopes for his eventual redemption.

The fantasy element, when it came, caught me by surprise. I liked this sentence:

Then, once he’d eaten, he would ask the spirits for guidance. Their guidance was pretty useless, but the company would be welcome.

And so they are. At this point, we're just over halfway through the excerpt. It's a promising start. There's nothing to dislike here. No wonder this novel is creating quite a buzz.


SQT said...

I just ordered this book and I expect to get it any time now. I'm very interested in reading it.

John Dent said...

It is, frankly, superlative!

Tia Nevitt said...

I might break my own rule and feature this one. It depends on what the September debut crowd looks like.

Chris, The Book Swede said...

The September debut crowd looks fairly busy I'd imagine. There are so many good debuts (or so I've been told) coming out :)

But I think you should feature it anyway!

The Book Swede

Anonymous said...

Yes, September is going to be quite busy for me.