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Red Country (The First Law)

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  12,775 ratings  ·  913 reviews
They burned her home.
They stole her brother and sister.
But vengeance is following.

Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she'll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she's not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old step father Lamb for company. But
ebook, 469 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Orbit (first published October 18th 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Westerns. You couldn't pay me enough money to read one...

...and yet mix it with fantasy and I couldn't be more enthralled. Take King's The Dark Tower series and recently this one, Red Country, and obviously I'm a fan of westerns.

I even try to deny it with my movie choices, but again, some of my all-time favorites are westerns (Tombstone and 310 to Yuma). Why is that? Why do I think I hate them and secretly love them? I even lived in Wyoming for a time. I'm seriously asking this! I must be crazy
Dan Schwent
When Shy South and her cowardly stepfather Lamb return home to find their farmhand dead and Shy's two siblings missing, they venture into the Far Country to find them. They join a fellowship and head to the mining town of Crease. During their travels, Shy is forced to confront her own checkered past and finds that her stepfather has a past of his own...

On the heels of finishing A Dance with Dragons, my jones for dark fantasy with morally ambiguous characters was not sated so I turned to Red Coun
Shy South a former highway robber with a golden heart gave up on her violent ways and took up farming. When she came back from a marketplace one of the days, she found her hired hand is killed and her young brother and sister is kidnapped. She went off hoping to catch the raiders, accompanied by her timid stepfather. The joined a band of mostly old geezers called Fellowship and the geezers did what geezers are best at: they babbled. Oops, I accidentally gave away around 75% of the book. Sorry.

This is my first foray into the world of Joe Abercrombie and for those of you who are about to make the mistake of starting with Red Country like I did, my advice would be to go back and start with the First Law books. Red Country is marketed as a standalone novel and one can certainly enjoy it without having read Abercrombie’s other work, but the reason I’m giving it only 4 stars is because I always felt like I was missing out on something--that there was critical, need-to-know information from ...more
"Severed heads,’ Cosca was explaining, ‘never go out of fashion. Used sparingly and with artistic sensibility, they can make a point a great deal more eloquently than those
still attached. Make a note of that. Why aren’t you writing?"

Joe A. at his best so far in Red Country which i have been greatly enjoying; while grim on occasion the book is really darkly funny and better than the limited Heroes in so many ways; still only about 100 pages in but tonight should read more and hopefully finish it
Abercrombie goes Wild West, and it’s a good fit.

When Shy South returns home from a trip to town, she’s looking forward to a little rest before going back to work. What she doesn’t bargain on is finding her house burnt down, her brother and sister kidnapped, and the farmhand she left in charge dead. Now Shy is on their trail, accompanied by the mysterious farm hand Lamb who has been like a father to them. A man who it fasts becomes clear is no stranger to violence. As if this is not enough to dea
David Sven
Ok, I’m going to get this out of the way right at the beginning. YES!!! The Bloody Nine is Back! Nuf said. But you have to realistic about these things so for the sake of those who have no clue who The Bloody Nine is, I’ll continue.

As many a reviewer has pointed out before, including Abercrombie himself, this is a fantasy version of a Western. Red Country returns us to the First Law Universe – or at least to the Far Wild West of it and treats us to a smorgasbord of Western genre tropes and clich
I love me some Abercrombie, his style is so snarky and detailed and dirty. I love how with a few sentences he can fill out a minor character so well that you actually feel sorry when they're killed in passing.

This is NOT really a fantasy book though guys, it's 100% Western. If you've read his other books you'll recognize several characters, but you don't REALLY need to read the others to get into this. If you don't like Westerns move along doggy, but this is worth reading for sure.

Shy South, a tough frontierswoman is returning from a trip to get supplies with her stepfather Lamb, a battered old Northman whose size and strength bely his gentleness. Their friendly banter is interrupted by the discovery that their home has been burned, a friend murdered and Shy's young brother and sister kidnapped. Amidst this horror 'Lamb' is strangely calm. Looking down at his scarred, battered hands, hands with only 9 fingers, he reflects that sometimes 'you have to be realistic'...

Jul 19, 2013 Eric rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who thinks 'gritty fantasy western' sounds like a good mash-up
How could I not read the return of Logen "The Bloody Nine" Ninefingers, my favorite character from The First Law trilogy?

I wrote that last April when details from Red Country first started appearing on the Internet, and then it was released in the States last November, so why I am just getting around to writing this review now, eight months later? Because I had a tough time getting into this book, and an even tougher time finishing it, for a few reasons:

- The book kept alternating between the ch
I absolutely loved this book! A fun engaging story with a big dose of dark and gritty, fantastic complex characters that you can't help but love or love to hate, twists and turns and never a dull moment, and all of it pulled together by some truly excellent writing.

I was a bit nervous about reading this one with our book club as some people commented that those who haven't read The First Law trilogy didn't seem to enjoy it as much as those who had based on reviews. I've only read the first book
This is the murkiest Abercrombie yet.
"How are you going to write this up?" Temple was asking.
Sworbreck frowned down at his notebook, pencil hovering, then carefully closed it. "I may gloss over this episode"
Sufeen snorted. "I hope you brought a great deal of gloss"
Let me tell you, Abercrombie did not bring a lot of gloss to this book. If you're looking to escape in a magical happy-endings-type of fantasy world, move on, this book is not for you. But if you can handle a gritty, dark writing st
Red country has been labeled as Abercrombie’s take on the western. This partially true, as Abercrombie has managed to squeeze as much of the tropes and furniture of said genre into this book. Showdowns in bars, scouts, wagon trains, native attacks, cattle stampedes, frontier towns, a stagecoach chase, ravaged homesteads, kidnappings, last stands, and others are all gloriously skewered and given homage. There are references to many of the classics, The Unforgiven, Outlaw Josey Wales, Treasure of ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Brilliant. To me this is probably the best book Joe Abercrombie's written so far, and I'm talking like I love it even more than the First Law trilogy, which is saying a lot. Until this book came along, I didn't think anything else he wrote would come close; after all, I thought Best Served Cold and The Heroes were meh and even more meh, respectively.

But Red Country simply just blew me away. Okay, so maybe it's because I have a thing for westerns. Though granted this isn't your traditional kind o
Mike (the Paladin)
Well crap. This book should have been an easy 4 and probably a 5. I was REALLY looking forward to this one. I saw the video ad on line thought it sounded great. The plot while obviously not completely original hasn't "really" been done before.. I mean it's a western set in a fantasy world...I mean an overt western. It's got a great lead in, a great set up some great characters (view spoiler)and some exceptional ...more
Myke Cole
Joe Abercrombie has gotten steadily better with each book, and RED COUNTRY is no exception. Abercrombie's ability to create flawed characters that aren't so dark as to be reprehensible is practically singular. They are just broken down enough to resonate, and just heroic enough to inspire. What many call a "dark" tone is actually a realistic one, the prose of a man who has a deep empathy for people living in the real world, and the compromises we all have to make to get by.

A fantastic book by o
Paul Nelson
With Red Country, Joe Abercrombie continues in the style that has made him one of my favorite authors. The things that set this books above others are the grim settings, the violent tone and the dark, dry humour. There's a distinct lack of mage's, young protégé's developing into hero's and knights in shining armour, there's also very little that you would describe as classic fantasy or any other form of fantasy and for that I applaud.
There's a welcome return to many characters from previous boo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Craig Slater
The third stand-alone and sixth book in Joe’s world.

Fans of Joe (I think we know each-other well enough now for me to take the liberty of a first name only) will love both the new and familiar characters in this book and the progression of the world as it changes and evolves.

Newcomers could start here or indeed with any of the stand alone novels (Best Served Cold and The Heroes) but to get the full benefit and enjoyment of this particular book, I’d certainly recommend buying and reading them a
P.W. James
Disclaimer: I recently won a competition where Gollancz sent me out an advanced reading copy of "Red Country". I was one of five people who received a copy. Needless to say, I was overcome with joy when it arrived on my doorstep.

Over the next few days, I undertook an extensive reading program, which included me sitting on a bean-bag eating chocolate, straining my eyes in the darkness (because I read in the dark, what of it?). In a nutshell, "Red Country" is good. In fact, it's brilliant. I am
Joe’s latest novel is being widely touted as his take on the Western genre: a Fantasy version of True Grit, if you like. It is certainly well-anticipated. He’s clearly on a roll here, and, with six books in six years, each book has gained more readers and greater notice as it is published.

Like The Heroes and Best Served Cold, this is a stand-alone, although there are characters here that readers of previous novels such as The First Law Trilogy, will recognise. Whereas before we have had fighting
I make no attempt at an unbiased review here, because I've been a big fan of Joe Abercrombie since finishing The First Law trilogy and none of his subsequent offerings have disappointed me.

As a person who has dabbled, if never seriously or successfully, in writing fiction from time to time in life, I am envious of Abercrombie's ability in the course of his last three books to shift from genre to genre, maintaining his unique voice while putting distinct trappings into his story and world. Best S
Milo (Bane of Kings)
I think Joe Abercrombie might be one of my Top 5 favourite authors, along with George RR Martin, Iain M. Banks,Brandon Sanderson and JRR Tolkien. This was awesome,probably either my first or second favourite read of 2012. Utterly unputdownable.

“An epic, awesome standalone fantasy novel that I really enjoyed. One of gritty fantasy’s best Authors, Abercrombie is right up there with George RR Martin.” ~The Founding Fields

Red Country was the first book that I brought on my Kindle Fire that I got fo
Maggie K
Usually when I finish an Abercrombie book, I am all geared up for the next one already. I just dont have have that feeling this time. And yes, I know there isn't a next one (yet anyway) but I am still not very concerned about when it comes out.

A couple of my favorite characters are back, but their endings are just bittersweet. Maybe that's my true issue. You always want favorite characters to go out in some kind of blaze of glory, not get knife arguing about gold while wearing rags, or to just w
Joe Abercrombie es actualmente el mejor escritor de fantasía, con permiso del bueno de George R.R. Martin. Sus libros destilan todo aquello que uno quiere encontrar en una novela: una buena historia, personajes carismáticos, realismo en las escenas de acción, unos diálogos chispeantes y, sobre todo, imaginación. Pero Abercrombie es además un gran escritor y hace un uso de la ironía, el sarcasmo y la metáfora como he visto pocos en este y otros géneros. Sin exagerar, en cada página se puede encon ...more
Red Country

There isn’t really much to say except: if you liked the First Law trilogy, you NEED to read Red Country. I really could stop at saying just this: THE BLOODY NINE!

Just like this. Completely devoid of context. That should be intriguing enough for anyone familiar with the name to pick this up. I guess that everyone has already, though. I was late to pick up Red Country. For reasons. Then again, it wouldn’t be fair to neglect mentioning some of the fantastic stuff Abercrombie has woven in
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I like western stories, and I like all 5 previous novels of First Law universe series. So it is naturally I read this book for the sake of having fun. And I rate this book as how much fun I received by reading this book.

This is the first book of First Law that I gave 4 star (other books I gave 5 star). But it is not a complete loss, this book is still fun. I just don't perceive this book not as gripping as previous ones. Especially the middle part, a bit plain compared to other First Law Novels
Христо Блажев
Абъркромби изтипосва уестърн в своя фентъзи свят:

Стил, диалог, образи и стремителност на действието – без съмнение “Червена страна” си е солидна книга ала Абъркромби, този неподражаем майстор на черния хумор, натуралистичните кървища и шантавите герои. Без да се церемони, още от самото начало започва да сипе трупове от всички посоки, но за разлика от “Герои”, тук разпростира действието на широка територия и в протежение на немалко време. Разбира се, всеки
I don’t really like reading Westerns. I don’t really like reading action stories. I don’t really seek out violent stories. And the last time Joe Abercrombie had a female protagonist (Best Served Cold) I was ambivalent about her, and that book in general. Red Country features all of those things, so I was a bit wary about it, to say the least. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up for a while yet, but I’d had such a fun time reading Half a King and The Heroes that when I saw it sitting forlornly ...more
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SciFi and Fantasy...: "Red Country" Discuss Away *Spoilers* 21 66 Jul 31, 2014 02:52PM  
Confused... 10 92 Apr 30, 2014 12:09AM  
Joe Abercrombie Fans: Red Country questions (contains spoilers!) 16 115 Jan 31, 2013 12:18PM  
Joe Abercrombie Fans: Question about Curnsbick - spoilers 12 74 Jan 27, 2013 03:17PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * Red Country Part V-Trouble 4 48 Jan 16, 2013 03:55PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * Red Country Part III-Crease 12 38 Jan 07, 2013 08:15PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * Red Country Part IV-Dragons 4 71 Dec 29, 2012 05:12AM  
  • The King's Blood (The Dagger and the Coin, #2)
  • Sharps
  • Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire #4)
  • The White Luck Warrior (Aspect-Emperor, #2)
  • Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy #1)
  • Caine's Law (The Acts of Caine, #4)
  • Kings of Morning (The Macht, #3)
  • The Cold Commands (A Land Fit for Heroes, #2)
  • The Red Knight (The Traitor Son Cycle, #1)
  • The Rose and the Thorn (The Riyria Chronicles, #2)
  • Low Town (Low Town, #1)
Joe Abercrombie was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Manchester University, where he studied psychology. He moved into television production before taking up a career as a freelance film editor. During a break between jobs he began writing The Blade Itself in 2002, completing it in 2004. It was published by Gollancz in 2006 and was followed by two other books in The First Law Trilogy ...more
More about Joe Abercrombie...

Other Books in the Series

The First Law (3 books)
  • The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)
  • Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2)
  • Last Argument of Kings (The First Law #3)
The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2) Last Argument of Kings (The First Law #3) Best Served Cold The Heroes

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“Strange, how the best moments of our lives we scarcely notice except in looking back.” 41 likes
“Evil turned out not to be a grand thing. Not sneering Emperors with their world-conquering designs. Not cackling demons plotting in the darkness beyond the world. It was small men with their small acts and their small reasons. It was selfishness and carelessness and waste. It was bad luck, incompetence, and stupidity. It was violence divorced from conscience or consequence. It was high ideals, even, and low methods.” 35 likes
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