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The Heroes (First Law World #5)

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,281 Ratings  ·  1,264 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, First Edition, 498 pages
Published January 27th 2011 by Gollancz
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Kateregga Micheal Most of the characters in The Heroes were first introduced in The First law Trilogy as supporting characters. You will have more fun reading The…moreMost of the characters in The Heroes were first introduced in The First law Trilogy as supporting characters. You will have more fun reading The Heroes if you know where they came from, because then you can enjoy the growth they have undergone along with all the references about previous events and characters. (less)
Kyla Squires Well, it's pretty full of sex, violence and swearing. It's pretty dark but dark with a sense of humour, that you probably only appreciate once you've…moreWell, it's pretty full of sex, violence and swearing. It's pretty dark but dark with a sense of humour, that you probably only appreciate once you've developed a healthy dose of cynicism. I fully enjoyed them in my 30s, and they are definitely intended for adults. I could have read them at 17 and probably enjoyed them, but I think I would have missed a lot of subtleties.

Joe Abercrombie has written another series specifically for young adults. I haven't read them. I find it hard to imagine how he would write something set in the same world for YA.

(ps: It's fun to see another Kyla!)(less)

Community Reviews

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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
Bookworm Sean
Mar 13, 2016 Bookworm Sean rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 1-star-reads
I’ve got a really great idea for a novel. Do you want to hear it?

Okay, so here goes:

Well I was thinking I could create a story in which everything relates back to the title. That way I could say the title over and over again.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

I mean I could write about heroes fighting at a place called the Heroes and then they could have a crisis about being heroes whilst worrying who has taken the Heroes and if enemy heroes are going to kill them. And then I could say heroes a few times m
Dec 22, 2014 Evgeny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The plot can be described in a couple of sentences, literally. This is about a 3-day battle between the Union forces (civilized bureaucratic society) and Northern people (barbarians), and also about the events right before it and its aftermath. This is probably the most spoiler-free plot description I ever wrote, by the way.

Joe Abercombie is the undisputed king when it comes to modern grimdark fantasy. Yes, I have read Malazan epic. Yes, I still stand by what I said in the beginning of the para
Aug 06, 2012 Rob rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Robin Hobb
Feb 23, 2013 Robin Hobb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Emily (BellaGrace)
Aug 19, 2016 Emily (BellaGrace) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It's been a really long time since I read the First Law books and several years since I read Best Served Cold, so I started off a little lost on this book. I didn't remember what had happened between Black Dow and the Bloody Nine, I didn't really remember Calder or Gorst so I ended up doing some Wikki reading trying to catch back up. Once I got it all straight I really enjoyed it. I actually found a few people that were worth "cheering for" (at least by Abercrombie's standards) and the big scene ...more
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
James 'Eagle'
Mar 03, 2015 James 'Eagle' rated it it was amazing
This book is breathtaking. The ultimate sum of it's parts, 'The Heroes' is a perfect display of Abercrombie at his absolute best: grim, brutal, vivid, real, and intensely moving. I fell in love with this novel early on and that feeling still hasn't gone away even after I turned its last page. It's a story that made me want to finish work as soon as possible so I could go back to it. An experience that had me thinking about it hours after it ended. It is a phenomenal ride, one that has pushed thi ...more
Nov 27, 2012 Hanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
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
Jun 26, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The premise of the book is very straight-forward: the Union and the Northmen are fighting a war over a narrow strip of borderland, and “The Heroes” is the setting of a long and bloody three-day battle. The title is a play on words, and without spoiling anything, the hilltop setting named “The Heroes” and the violent battle there bring out the heroic in men on both sides.

“The Heroes” follows Abercrombie’s previous titles chronologically, so if you haven't read the other books yet, start with “The
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
War in all its misery. Did you expect anything else? This book is as Abercrombie as it gets. As The Bloody Nine would say, you have to be realistic about these things.

The story takes place a couple of years after the first law trilogy (read it first!) and centers mostly around a three day battle between the Union & the North. There are quite a few of the characters we have come to love present, but sadly, also a few key ones that have gone back to the mud in between books. I mention them onl
Nov 03, 2014 Kaora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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 sure 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 wit
Jul 31, 2014 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mr. Matt
May 25, 2016 Mr. Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the distant North, there is a hill located in a plain overlooking a small town. On the crest of the hill is a ring of stones whose origin is lost in history. Some say the stones are the last resting place of some old warlords. Others have different stories. The only certainties about the hill are that whoever controls the hill, controls the town and its vital crossroads. And that both the Union and the North want the hill. And that the price for the hill must be paid in blood.

What happens nex
Executive Summary: My new favorite Joe Abercrombie book!

Audio book: I know people swear by Steven Pacy, but I once again got Michael Page as the narrator. I can't compare the two, but I think Micheal Page is pretty good.

He does some pretty good voices, though sometimes it's hard to tell the characters apart because while he mostly makes the Northmen and the Union sound different from one another they tended to sound similar to each other. He does a pretty good voice for Bremer dan Gorst though.
Aug 21, 2016 Xabi1990 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oye, si soy un chaval y con ideales correctos le doy un 10/10 que no se lo salta la Ruth Beitia esa.

Porque es una novela de Fantasía (no se bien por qué, porque los magos que salen no hacen magia para nada, pero bueno…) de esas de capa y espada/hacha/maza/lanza/flechas donde en el fondo el Joe se pasa todo el libro intentando inculcarnos lo mala que es la guerra y que no sirve para nada. Y una y otra y otra vez.

Y, claro, esos buenos ideales está bien que nos los inculquen … coño, pero que yo ya
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
Aug 15, 2016 José rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reseña en español de Los Héroes en el blog: Click Aquí

(english review soon)
Jan 27, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 03, 2015 Manju rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My sixth book by Mr Abercrombie and as always he never cease to amaze me with his writing, especially when he is writing about “War”.

So ‘The Heroes’ is story of Black Dow, the Northern King, and Union army finding themselves battling over an old monument called, The Heroes.

As it is war, so there are tons of characters and with them lay the beauty of the book. its the story of famous names, fallen and new names. its the story of people who are strong headed, cruel, ambitious, self-centered, vicio
Marc Aplin
Jan 19, 2011 Marc Aplin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mogsy (MMOGC)
There must be something about the The First Law trilogy. Because while I loved those three books, I can't say I felt the same enthusiasm for Joe A's other book Best Served Cold or this one, The Heroes. It was very hard for me to give this book a low rating, but I had to be honest; I just didn't enjoy it.

Despite being packed with action-filled battle scenes, it was a struggle to get through this book without nodding off within the first thirty minutes each time I picked it up. That's probably why
Nov 25, 2012 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy, fantasy
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
Feb 05, 2015 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 24, 2016 KostasAt rated it really liked it

Second stand-alone book in the First Law universe and in this one Abercrombie focuses on a big war, the tactics and machinations of the characters, and shows us that in two days time only anything, and everything, can change.
It’s a Military Fantasy type story and, although I haven’t really explored this genre, Abercrombie has done a very good job managing to mix new, and old, characters into a strong story and holding the interest till the end, and also with some really good humor and, of
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
Jun 06, 2011 Justin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #110 The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie 1 2 Jun 08, 2015 09:01PM  
order of the books 5 71 Dec 23, 2014 09:02AM  
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Fantasy Book Club...: * The Heroes Part V-After the Battle 11 100 Nov 30, 2013 01:50AM  
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  • The Judging Eye (Aspect-Emperor, #1)
  • Stonewielder (Malazan Empire, #3)
  • The King's Blood (The Dagger and the Coin, #2)
  • The Folding Knife
  • Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery
  • Blade of Tyshalle (The Acts of Caine, #2)
  • Corvus (The Macht, #2)
  • Bauchelain and Korbal Broach (The Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, #1-3)
  • The Cold Commands
  • Salute the Dark (Shadows of the Apt, #4)
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

First Law World (7 books)
  • 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 (First Law World, #4)
  • Red Country (First Law World, #6)
  • Sharp Ends (First Law World, #7)

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“The truth is like salt. Men want to taste a little, but too much makes everyone sick.” 179 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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