The Heroes
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The Heroes (The First Law)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  14,155 ratings  ·  841 reviews
They say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones...more
Hardcover, 498 pages
Published January 27th 2011 by Gollancz
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"HE WAS AS UGLY AS INCEST" that is funny!! Okay, so do not...DO NOT listen to those who call this a less than a stellar performance by the god-king of grit, Joe Abercrombie. This is not only a 541 page manual on the art of breezy, muck-dripping proseology, but it also sports an intricately layered and well designed plot, three dimensional characters that are just saturated with nuance and some powerful evocative statements on the “underpants loading horror” of war and the pain-burden born...more
My absolute favorite of all of Abercrombie’s novels, The Heroes was a viciously fun ride into the maelstrom of war.

The second of three standalones set in the First Law world, The Heroes is the breathtaking evocation of three days of brutal, violent, intense fighting in the North. Black Dow, infamous sociopath of the original trilogy, is back, and this time he’s the King of the Northmen. The King of the Union decides it’s time to put an end to fighting between the Union and the Northmen, and so w...more
War, War never changes.

The Heroes unflinchingly chronicles a 3 day battle between two warring nations. It's a story filled with visceral fighting, complex characters and constant danger and suspense. For me this is the best of Abercrombie's standalone novels and is on a par with his 'First Law trilogy'. Being a massive Abercrombie fan as I am the fact that this is my favourite of his works says a lot. The Heroes combines Abercrombie's dark fantasy with a war story and while the entire novel rev...more
The Piles

“Fuck this shit” grumbled Slicker Gutwruck as he wearily limped up the hill, bile tickling his tonsils. “I couldn't give an arse about war anymore,” he spat. How ironic that I'm so good at it he mused, as his rag-tag squad of soldiers showed off their cool moves on a group of unfortunate peons they got the drop on. There was Broody McBrooderson, master of the garotte; Slicker's second-in-command, Little Miss Sunshine, tougher than any man, and more than capable of commanding Serenity, e...more
I've been reading a lot of Abercrombie lately - one a month for the past 5 months to be exact. One more to go and (sad face) it'll be over for a while. I hope Abercrombie is writing fast!

This book contains more of what Abercrombie is absolutely brilliant at:
Gritty, dark but oh so real. This book tells the story of war: the Union and the Northmen have been in a cat-and-mouse-war for a while, but the council needs their army elsewhere and commands a short end to this war. We'll get three days of w...more
David Sven
Three days. Three days to secure a throne, Three days to make a name. Three days to become a hero. Three days of blood.

The Heroes covers 3 days of war between The Union and The North. After years of smaller battles and sieges and move and countermove, the closed council has grown impatient and the Union generals are ordered to hurry things up and march head on into the enemy and bring the war to a conclusion.

This book was action packed! I mean condensing 500 to 600 pages into 3 days of plot is n...more
When asked what sort of music I liked to listen to, I answered "grunge" for years after it was fashionable to do so. I think most of us can name a musician or band that we loved in high school, one that we listened to well past pop culture's imposed expiration date. Perhaps most of us can even recall the time when we realized that our tastes were no longer fashionable. Eventually, we have to see what's hip "today," and I suspect that the same holds true for fantasy.

When I was a young man, listen...more

This one has been on my To-Be-Read pile for a long time. In an effort to clean out some of my older books I finally got around to reading it.

And now I'm not sue what took me so long! Heroes is a gritty book about a war between the Northmen and the Union, which takes place around a hill called the Heroes.

It's a dark book, with rough characters and some pretty gorey deaths. Ambercrombie does a great job with his battle scenes, showing the confusion of war and the costs of being a hero.

But with...more
I usually let books ferment in my brain for an extended period in my time after reading them but I don't wanna with this one, I had WAY too much fun with it and I don't want the afterglow to fade before I commit my thoughts. The plot is relatively simple; there's another war on between the northern...Northeners and the southern Union and not a lot has gotten done due to bureaucratic bullshit and the general ineptitude. There's pressure from both sides for a decisive battle to be fought and so bo...more
First off: for the sake of clarity, I guess I had better point this out from the start: my name has been used for a minor character in this book. Obviously, I’m flattered and honoured –and I must say that it is very odd, reading your name in print, knowing that in some strange way you’ve influenced the telling of a tale.

I say that because there may be others who will notice this and surmise that, as a consequence, with the reviewer suitably bribed, this review will automatically be fulsome. And...more
Robin Hobb
Forty-eight hours. So much can happen in such a short span of time in the middle of a war. This tale shifts between varying viewpoints, from soldiers to commanders to camp followers. There are no good guys and no bad guys. The reader will wind up caring about all of them, and knowing that not all of them can win, let alone survive. Highly recommended.
Alex Ristea
A war story that is against war.

That's the best way I can sum up this book. Knowing Abercrombie, it's easy to go into The Heroes thinking, "Whoa! A three-day battle! How awesome, this sure will be a fun ride. Blood, guts, and shrieking, yes please."

And it is.

But it's not about the violence or the killing. It's about the twisted camaraderie that surrounds soldiers (think a la Steven Erikson), and how people who are fighting in wars think it's an incredibly stupid idea.

It's almost a slap in the fa...more
Story: 4/5
1: Being Vague, rambling plot with no little believable storyline
5: Ripping yarn, clever, thought provoking

The fourth book in this related series happens (i believe) 3 years on. The story focuses on a three day battle between the Union, lead by a now very competent and likeable General Kroy and our old friend Black Dow, with lots of personality this time round.
This is a harsh story, 3 days of battles and lots of character interaction between times. To pull off this type of story you n...more
5 bloody stars!!! As the Bloody Nine used to say, "You have to be realistic". Joe Abercrombie has really perfected his craft and this novel is an exceptional read. Sure, it is a fantasy novel about a big battle between southerners and wild Northmen, but it really is so much more. This book is all about Heroes. It explores what it means to be a hero, a great man, and the fine line between what is good and what is evil. There are so many Pov's in this book that each make their mark as to what a re...more
Marc Aplin
When Joe Abercrombie releases a new book the Fantasy World goes a little crazy. It would be fair to say that Abercrombie is one of the very best modern fantasy writers in Britain right now and probably the one making the most impact overseas.

Joe’s work is; ‘different’. We know that when we pick up a Joe Abercrombie novel we are going to experience something new, something fresh, and something exciting – yet at the same time still holding that fantasy-like familiarity.

The Heroes follows that patt...more
This is a hard review for me to write because I am such a fan of Abercrombie's work. Such a fan in fact, that I re-read the entire First Law trilogy and Best Served Cold to catch back up. That and I've spent far to much money collecting ARCs, Limited Editions and the like. So it's with a heavy heart that I give The Heroes, Abercrombie's fifth installment in this realm, only three stars.

The Heroes stands alone on it's own but it's part of the same realm as his other works. Many of the same chara...more
Duffy Pratt
Slathered in gore, awash in shit, and mired in cynicism. I think this book probably is the true test of whether someone would like Abercrombie or not. I like him alot. I thought this book was almost perfectly done, except for one story line that I found a bit too sentimental and pat. That would be Red Beak, the ambitious kid who turns out to be a coward and then finds both a sort of redemption and a way out of the shitstorm of war. I had a hard time getting my head around Abercrombie being so ni...more
I often struggle when someone asks me what my favorite fantasy book is. I’ve read so many great books that it’s very difficult to pick one above all the others. I don’t have that problem anymore. My answer now is easily Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes. I cannot think of a book I have enjoyed so much on so many levels than The Heroes. That’s a bold statement, you say? Yes it is. This book deserves it, and I will do my best to try and explain why.

The overall plot of The Heroes is relatively simple....more
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Qué brutalidad de novela a cargo de Abercrombie. No había leído nada de este autor y no he podido tener mejor elección. Una novela de fantasía épica imprescindible para todo amante del género. Grandísimos personajes para el recuerdo y desde luego pienso hacerme muy pronto con otro libro de este autor del que se me antoja leer todo lo que escriba.

Recomendable 100%
Joe Abercrombie es uno de los abanderados de esta nueva fantasía que surgió con George R.R. Martin, heroica, oscura y realista, como nunca se había visto hasta entonces. El talento de Abercrombie crece con cada novela que escribe. Lo demostró con sus tres primeras novelas, que forman la trilogía de La Primera Ley, y continuó con ‘La mejor venganza’, que tal vez no alcanzó mis expectativas, pero que aun así supera en calidad a muchas de las fantasías que se escriben actualmente. Y después escribi...more

No se me ocurre un mejor calificativo que este para la novela que acabo de leer. Y es que Joe Abercrombie, lejos de acomodarse tras su éxito con la trilogía de "La primera Ley", mantiene y supera en muchos momentos el nivel mostrado en sus anteriores novelas.

Como ya nos tiene acostumbrado Abercrombie, el libro rebosa realismo por los cuatro costados. Nos enseña la miseria de la guerra, y cómo esta despoja a los hombres de sus máscaras y nos muestra cómo son realmente.

Vuelven a apa...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I believe it was Percy in The Scarlet Pimpernel was always saying things were, "deucedly hard". Well rating Joe Abercrombie's books is deucedly hard. I looked back and found that I came up with a 3 on all the others (the original trilogy) that I have read. It's the same here.

The thing is that there are times this book (and all the others) would get a very high 4 if not go all the way to a rating of 5. Other times it was so yawningly slow that I almost lost interest in the book entirely. The firs...more
Bane of Kings
“Wow. The Heroes is unputdownable, action-packed and very enjoyable. Joe Abercrombie’s novel is probably the best Fantasy Book of 2011, in the year that gave us A Dance with Dragons, Prince of Thorns and more.” ~The Founding Fields

Alright, I know that I’m about a year late to the party, but I figured I’d get around to reading this before I delved into Red Country, Abercrombie’s 2012 novel. I’m also going to start this review by saying that I haven’t read all of Abercrombie’s The First Law Trilog...more
Summary: Great characters and even better scenes - epic, humorous, thoughtful and dark ones. It started slow but came out great. It felt more like a mediaeval war fiction than a fantasy novel. And it was completely different to the previous novels: No roaming over continents but staying in one single place. Fantastic art of story-telling. It is placed in the same world and setting of the First Law trilogy but acts there more like a standalone novel. I would not recommend to read it as a standalo...more
Coe Roberts
Joe Abercrombie has ruined me for other fantasy authors. When I read battle scenes in other books, I get impatient with all the near-misses, and the way that the protagonists get all the lucky breaks. In a real battle, for all the crazy near misses, there must be many more cases where the guy didn't turn around in time, or ducked left instead of right, or tripped on a gopher mound.

Abercrombie tells the whole story. He tells us about the cases where the near-miss didn't happen, about the guy who...more
Beside Sanderson's The Way of Kings this one is definitely my favourite fantasy book. It contains everything that I like about fantasy and its written in such a great style.
Fifth book is about war between Union and North with never ending schemes, bloody battles and characters we met in previous books, most notably Black Dow, Caul Shivers, First of the Magi of course and his power over, well, everything. Focus is more on North and their way of living, fighting and people after all.
I can hardly d...more
Blake Charlton
j. abercrombie kicks the concept of heroism up and down a verdant, soggy valley. the concept of heroism seems to, mostly, enjoy the abuse. abercrombie seems to, mostly, enjoy the abusing. some wonderful one liners.
Christopher H.
This was the first novel by Joe Abercrombie that I have read. It surely is not going to be the last novel of his I read either. In fact, I found his "The First Law" trilogy at a bookstore that was going out of business and bought all three, in trade paperback, for $25! Anyway, I have to say that I now wish that I had read "The First Law" trilogy first, before I read The Heroes, it might have caused me to bump it from four stars to five. We'll see.

I have read a lot of military history and militar...more
If you’re a fan of total badassery, of giant battles, of soldiery wisdom, or of solid exciting prose you should do yourself a favor and read The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie. Indeed, if someone were to ask me what badass means I might just hand them a copy of this book. Likely if you’ve read and enjoyed The First Law trilogy, or Best Served Cold you’ve already picked up and read The Heroes. Indeed events in The Heroes trace their origins back to The First Law trilogy (I’ve yet to read Best Served C...more
Another great Joe Abercrombie book. In this book he focuses on one battle, switching between various people on either side. We meet some familiar faces from his previous books along with new ones. He has filled the book again with unlovable, yet fascinating, characters. Everyone has his flaws but you want to spend time with them despite or because of this. You find yourself unsure who you want to win this epic battle. In the end, well... it doesn't end well. Joe Abercrombie seems unable to do ha...more
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order of the books 3 14 Jul 23, 2014 11:35AM  
La Stamberga dei ...: The Heroes di Joe Abercrombie 1 2 Jun 11, 2014 03:40AM  
Fantasy Fanatics: The Heroes (NO SPOILERS) 17 36 Dec 30, 2013 11:37AM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * The Heroes Part V-After the Battle 11 91 Nov 30, 2013 01:50AM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * The Heroes Part I--Before the Battle 38 65 Nov 27, 2013 04:43PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * The Heroes Part II-Day One 21 57 Nov 27, 2013 04:30PM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: October Fantasy selection: The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie 4 33 Oct 05, 2013 02:02PM  
  • The King's Blood (The Dagger and the Coin, #2)
  • The Judging Eye (Aspect-Emperor, #1)
  • Blade of Tyshalle (The Acts of Caine, #2)
  • The Cold Commands (A Land Fit for Heroes, #2)
  • Bauchelain and Korbal Broach: Three Short Novels of the Malazan Empire, Volume One
  • Stonewielder (Malazan Empire, #3)
  • Kings of Morning (The Macht, #3)
  • The Hammer
  • Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery
  • The Many Deaths of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #9-10)
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...
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 Red Country

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“The truth is like salt. Men want to taste a little, but too much makes everyone sick.” 91 likes
“I'm a fucking coward."
"Maybe." Craw jerked his thumb over his shoulder at Whirrun's corpse. "There's a hero. Tell me who's better off.”
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