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The Heroes (First Law World #2)

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  20,164 ratings  ·  1,067 reviews
They say Black Dow has 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 neighbor, is not about to stand by smiling while Black Dow 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 o ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published March 9th 2011 by Tantor Media (first published January 27th 2011)
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Stephe This is the first book I read and it is (and was designed to be) a standalone story. I'm sure that somethings I didn't fully understand would have…moreThis is the first book I read and it is (and was designed to be) a standalone story. I'm sure that somethings I didn't fully understand would have been filled in by reading the other books, but they aren't crucial to this story. In fact, when I read it I didn't realize it was a spinoff of a series and I admired the fact that the author had clearly invented a back story for some of the scenes that he was purposely not showing. I enjoyed learning about an entirely different story purely through references and illusions. V(less)
Dustin Hurley Yes, The First Law Trilogy, made up of The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, and Last Argument of Kings somes before this book. Another Stand…moreYes, The First Law Trilogy, made up of The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, and Last Argument of Kings somes before this book. Another Stand Alone book, Best Served Cold also takes place before this book.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Stephen
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"HE WAS AS UGLY AS INCEST"...now 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
Evgeny
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
...more
Rob
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
Conor
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
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.
Hanne
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
Steve
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
...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
James 'Eagle'
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
Ryan
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
Rob
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.
...more
Kaora
Wow.

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
...more
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
Mark
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
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
Nate
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
Lee
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
...more
Shane
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
Manju
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
...more
Jason
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
Anirudh
Say one thing about Joe, say he knows how to write a book.

The Heroes, 2nd stand alone book in the world of First Law is an entertaining read from start to finish. Once again Abercrombie proves that he is one of the best writers out there who can really bring out the fight in a fight scene. Whether it be plot or characters the book does not go wrong anywhere.

Plot. This book follows Crombie's style of little plot and lot of character development. A dispute between the King of the North Black Dow a
...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
Justin
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
Oscar
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
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
...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
Igor
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
Igor Ljubuncic
First, some serious words, then a limerick.

The story of this book is identical to The Battle of Leipzig:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_o...

Which is cool.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for, the limerick from the legendary Limerick Man:

There was a psycho named Black Dow
The whole of the north he tried to cow
Our heroes were Calder and Gorst
But they each took a turn for the worst
Black Dow To Bayaz gave his life in escrow

Ta-dam!

Party on, book readers.

Igor
Петър Стойков
Много обичам да чета писанията на българските националисти и национал-историци за героизма на нашите прадеди, които с гърди напред се хвърляли в атака на нож срещу поробителя, геройски дали живота си за татковината и други подобни романтични изхвърляния, по-подходящи за фентъзи жанра.

Отдавна обаче храня опасението, че героизмът в действителност не е толкова героичен, колкото го изкарват в последствие - точно по същия начин, както битките и войните не са изобщо толкова славни, велики и героични
...more
Aleksandar Nikolov
Да си Герой или да не си Герой, това е въпорса? Моя съвет е , преди да си отговорите, прочетете тази книга. Явно Джо доста е размишлявал по темата, и е успял да покаже Героите в една по различна светлина. Гадна такава, безмислена и егоистична светлина, само пречещи на живота на нормалните хорица които искат спокойно да си копат на нивата. А да не говорим за високия процент смъртност очакващи ги сред героичните им постъпки.

Мъртъв герой или жив страхливец? Другия въпрос които е хубаво да се позам
...more
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order of the books 5 68 Dec 23, 2014 09:02AM  
La Stamberga dei ...: The Heroes di Joe Abercrombie 1 4 Jun 11, 2014 03:40AM  
Fantasy Fanatics: The Heroes (NO SPOILERS) 17 40 Dec 30, 2013 11:37AM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * The Heroes Part V-After the Battle 11 97 Nov 30, 2013 01:50AM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * The Heroes Part I--Before the Battle 38 72 Nov 27, 2013 04:43PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * The Heroes Part II-Day One 21 59 Nov 27, 2013 04:30PM  
  • The Judging Eye (Aspect-Emperor, #1)
  • The Price of Spring (Long Price Quartet, #4)
  • Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery
  • Blade of Tyshalle (The Acts of Caine, #2)
  • The Cold Commands (A Land Fit for Heroes, #2)
  • Kings of Morning (The Macht, #3)
  • Return of the Crimson Guard (Malazan Empire, #2)
  • The Folding Knife
  • Bauchelain and Korbal Broach (The Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, #1-3)
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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 (4 books)
  • Best Served Cold
  • Red Country
  • The Great Leveller
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.” 140 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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