Red Country

Red Country

Book - 2012
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Resolving to avenge the murders of her siblings, Shy South embarks on a dangerous journey with a pair of oxen and her cowardly stepfather to a frontier town gripped by gold fever and feuds before forging a precarious alliance with an infamous soldier of fortune and his feckless lawyer.
Publisher: New York : Orbit, 2012
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780316187213
0316187216
Branch Call Number: SCI ABERC-J
Characteristics: 453 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm

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isaachar
Dec 14, 2016

A fantasy western that takes place in the "First Law" universe. This book, along with the war drama western "The Heroes", really shows off the author's ability to adapt different genres into his fantasy universe.

(no character spoilers, but light background spoiler warning)

The story takes place 20 years after "The Last Argument of Kings", and takes place in the distant land of Near Country, west of Union controlled Starikland and north of the warring "Old Empire". The setting is akin to the old west, with the added element of the neighboring British Empire-analogous "Union" vying for control of the region against the Roman/Byzantine-analogous "Old Empire". Between these two powers seeking to expand their territory, you have independent settlers looking to start new lives in mining country with a burgeoning independence movement, and different groups of native peoples looking to resist or avoid all newcomers to their lands.

The focuses of the story are the headstrong Shy South, who's siblings have been kidnapped; her giant but docile stepfather who promised her mother to watch out for them; and Temple, who serves as lawyer and secretary to Nicomo Cosca, leader of the mercenary "Company of the Gracious Hand".

The story begins with more slow moments than other entries in the series, but it picks up the pace as you get further into it. If you are a fan of the First Law series or enjoy genre blended Western/Fantasy novels, you should definitely check this title out. Especially if you've read the first trilogy but want to know what happens long after. There are plenty of important cameo's and references to the event's from that series.

mvkramer Apr 10, 2016

When a story is about pursuit - for example, about a woman chasing a band of bandits who've kidnapped her younger brother and sister - you expect the story to have, I don't know - a little momentum? I know Joe Abercrombie likes to wander off into the POV's of a bunch of random characters, and often it works very well, but in this case it turned the story into a swampy delta of plotlines that just dragged on and on, distracting from the main story. I was pleasantly surprised by the genuine, positive character development that happened at the end. Abercrombie isn't known for happy endings, but this one is better than most!

JCLGreggW Apr 29, 2013

As a Joe Abercrombie fan, I found this one to be a bit of a step backwards - you'd think that doing a western-flavored fantasy novel would fit right into his wheelhouse, but even though Lamb and Shy South, the main characters, are wonderfully drawn, the plot is a bit too by-the-numbers and never leads to any sort of satisfying conclusion. If you're looking for better examples of his spectacular style of gritty fantasy, you would be better served trying out his two other (far superior) standalones, THE HEROES (fantasy as grimy WWI trench warfare, his best novel to date) or BEST SERVED COLD (fantasy as a revenge thriller.)

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mvkramer Apr 10, 2016

Sexual Content: An enthusiastic, consensual scene between two main characters.

mvkramer Apr 10, 2016

Violence: Fistfights, swordfights, torture, murder, maiming and massacre. Not for the faint of heart!

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