Red Country Preview

If you’re a fantasy fan and you haven’t read any Joe Abercrombie books, go do it now.

Well, actually, read this first. Then go read The Blade Itself. Then try Before They Are Hanged. Then Last Argument of Kings, Best Served Cold, and finally The Heroes.

Oh, and there’s one more. The forthcoming Red Country.

What can we guess about this new fantasy-western? Well, a decent amount. Let’s talk.

For those of you who don’t want spoilers about previous events in Abercrombie’s books, you probably shouldn’t read this. If you’ve never read any of his books, you won’t understand any of this anyway.

So what do we know so far? Well, anyone’s who’s a fan of Abercrombie’s books knows that Red Country marks the return of his most beloved character: Logen Ninefingers, a.k.a. The Bloody Nine. As if the descriptions of a “bloody past” weren’t enough, the  Youtube preview for the book showed a pair of bloody handprints, conspicuously short of a finger. Oh, and did anyone read the sample chapter? The names of Lamb’s oxen are Calder and Scale.

So my question is, could Abercrombie have made it anymore obvious? I mean, there’s pretty much zero doubt among fans that Lamb is Logen Ninefingers. In fact, Abercrombie’s made it so very obvious that it makes me wonder. After all, this is a guy who makes his money by introducing a familiar concept, character, or situation, and then turning it on its head. I have no idea how he’d do it without pissing people off, but I think he might have Lamb turn out to be just some other guy, and not really Logen.

That said, I really really really hope that Lamb is indeed The Bloody Nine. He was always one of my favorites from The First Law series, and I’ve been waiting and waiting for his return. I think that if he does appear, we might learn something interesting about his whole split personality thing. I myself think that The Bloody Nine is some kind of possessive spirit, though I’m probably 100% wrong about that.

Moving on, I hope Shy South isn’t a clone of Monza Murcatto. I’m not sure what it is, but something about her having a “violent past” reminds me of The Snake of Talins. It just seems like there’s a lot of hot warrior woman characters running around in fantasy literature, and I feel like it’s a tired character template. For a guy who’s able to create such unique characters, I feel like Abercrombie can do better. And hopefully, he will.

According to an article in Publisher’s Weekly, Shy and Lamb also meet up with some Union soldiers and Northmen. I’m not sure what the Union’s doing in the Old Empire or Starikland or wherever the heck this book’s taking place. I thought they were heading over to Styria to deal with Murcatto. And what are Northmen doing there? It’s hard to say.

Maybe we’ll see an envoy of King Jezal (or even the King himself) on a mission to add The Old Empire or Starikland to the Union. As far as the Northmen, maybe we’ll see the Dogman, weary of war and just looking for peace and quiet somewhere far away. I could also see somebody from The Heroes making a return. For some reason, I want to say an exiled Galma Golden. Abercrombie has a knack for taking supporting players and giving them much more important roles. Could Golden be the next?

I also read that Nicomo Cosca is making a reappearance in this one as well. Awesome addition. I’ve always loved Cosca. If only Sand dan Glokta would return in this one, too, maybe as the envoy of the King. It would be like a First Law family reunion!

The wait will be over in a few short months. Until then, if you haven’t read any Abercrombie, do it now. And if you have…well, just read them all again.

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