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Red Country

(First Law World #6)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  34,322 ratings  ·  1,945 reviews
Shy South comes home to her farm to find a blackened shell, her brother and sister stolen, and knows she'll have to go back to bad old ways if she's ever to see them again. She sets off in pursuit with only her cowardly old step-father Lamb for company. But it turns out he's hiding a bloody past of his own. None bloodier.

Their journey will take them across the lawless plai
Hardcover, 451 pages
Published October 18th 2012 by Orion Publishing Group
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Anirudh Well.. even though this is a stand alone book, there is not much point in reading this first. The whole thrill of the book is about knowing who lamb r…moreWell.. even though this is a stand alone book, there is not much point in reading this first. The whole thrill of the book is about knowing who lamb really is. If you don't know who he is, what he is and what he has done in his life, many references which make this book a great read make no sense. (less)
Jared Jerzak I wouldn't. I think the three standalones make up a thematic trilogy in their own right. Plus I think Logen has an effect on each one, but it is just …moreI wouldn't. I think the three standalones make up a thematic trilogy in their own right. Plus I think Logen has an effect on each one, but it is just more obvious in Red Country.

Best Served Cold doesn't quite directly "further Logen's plot" but it would not be a stretch to say that the plots are a continuation of the chain of events started in the original trilogy that Logen had a direct hand in, some characters (not gonna spoil who) that had less focused on plots in the original trilogy get such good plots that I feel you'll end up with a deeper appreciation for the characters.

And as another reviewer pointed out, I would not call it accurate to say that Logen is entirely "absent" from The Heroes in a thematic sense.(less)

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Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grimdark & Western fans
Say one thing for Abercrombie, say he knows how to make me love his book even when the setting of the book is Western.

I have to mention one thing about the setting of this book before I start my review, I truly despise Western stories. Doesn’t matter if it’s done in video games, movies, or TV series I just can’t stand them. Here's a few example for famous movies, 3:10 to Yuma? Sucks, Assassination of Jesse James? I got a fever because of how bad it was, Hateful Eight? Fell asleep, and much more
Robin Hobb
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A somewhat Westernized setting for this fantasy set in Abercrombie's world. Very enjoyable to catch up with some character friends as well. And of whom or what they did, I shall say nothing! Read for yourself.

One of the many things that Joe Abercrombie excels at is the character cameo. A turn of the page and the reader enters the point of view of what might seem a minor character. But in a space of the few paragraphs, the character takes on dimension, flesh, ambitions, a past, and a life. One ca
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, arc-review
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
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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.

Dan Schwent
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, fantasy
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
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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.
Sean Barrs
Feb 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 3-star-reads
Red Country is a spin-off from the fantastic First Law Trilogy, no doubt an intended bridge towards Abercrombie’s eventual reprisal of his best characters. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t quite come together as it should.

The setting is a little odd and out of place with what we have seen before. This series always felt somewhat Norse-like to me with a warrior culture under threat from a more technologically advanced Southern state with some dark fantasy elements and wizards thrown in. And now we
Scott  Hitchcock
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grimdark, abercrombie
The best of the First Law Singles. Cosca stole the show and his hysterical swashbuckling humor had me cracking up time and again. The presence of "lamb" also helped a lot. I didn't mind that we knew who he was almost immediately. It was when others realized who he was that made it fun.

This was also the most consistent story of the three singles. Best Served Cold had a great first half and awful second while Heroes was the opposite. I liked this from start to finish.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
4.5 stars. Not as good as Heroes or original trilogy but still one hell of a read.

The trouble with running is wherever you run to, there you are.

Wisely said by the man who tends to be realistic about those things and indeed it's one of the main sentiments of both this book and original trilogy. No matter how far we run in the end we are what we are and history will repeat itself more often than not.

“Conscience and the cock-rot are hardly equivalent,’ snapped Lorsen.
‘Indeed,’ said Cosca, signific
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog, loaned
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
Deborah Obida
What a tedious read, it actually pains me to say that, this book is my sixth by Abercrombie and the last in this series and it sucks. Reading it was just so hard, everything was unnecessarily long and monotonous when it shouldn't be, the plot was actually a good one but the potrayal was terrible, if that isn't even an understatement.

‘Courage lies in bearing the costs. We all have our regrets, but not all of us can afford to be crippled by them. Sometimes it takes small crimes to prevent bigge
Ahmad Sharabiani
Red Country (First Law World, #6), Joe Abercrombie

“Each land in the world produces its own men individually bad – and, in time, other bad men who kill them for the general good.” – Emerson Hough

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 onl
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was good. In fact it was very,very good. I loved Abercrombie's The First Law Trilogy so much and it was a delight to see the return of a few of his strongest characters from those books. Plus there were a few new characters who managed to steal the show. Joe Abercrombie is without doubt a very talented author. His characters are always so flawed and yet still so appealing, his stories are full of grossness and violence yet are still so very readable and his handling of the English lang ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gotta say, Joe Abercrombie is one of my new favorite authors. I love his world building but his strengths are his characters and dialogue/storytelling. I can't get enough of Joe Abercrombie world. Keep them novels coming, Joe!
Paul E. Morph
If I'd known what the concept for this book was going in; a kind of genre mash-up of JRR Tolkien and Sergio Leone; I'd've been more than a little dubious.

As it turns out, however, Abercrombie pulls off this odd little tale with panache. Having now loved every minute of this book, I actually find myself wanting him to write a whole series of Fantasy/Westerns because one book just wasn't enough!

Encore, please, Mr. Author! Encore!
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
Apr 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

I've been saving up this novel for years, hoping I will find myself back in the mood for what has become the 'grimdark' fantasy subgenre. I thought, if I ever go back to this style of ultra-violent, cynical, depressing fantasy, I might as well go to the best writer out there, even if I was slightly disappointed with "The Heroes" and "Best Served Cold". Whatever misgivings I have about the glorification of violence / killers and about gratuitous swearing ( I think of Mr. Abercrombie as the fantas
"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
Nils | nilsreviewsit
“‘I didn’t want no trouble,’ said Lamb. ‘It blew in anyway. Trouble got a habit that way.’ He pushed his wet hair out of his face, and his eyes were wide open and bright, bright, mouth open too, breathing fast... and he was smiling.”

What an adventure this book was! Seriously I know I praise Abercrombie with every review I do, but I’m just awed by how much his books draw me in, make me feel ALL the feelings, and most of all entertain me!

I have always favoured Abercrombie’s character’s over the pl
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, abercrombie

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'...

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 and some exceptional scenes, dialogue and story telling.

So, why only 3 stars?

Oh good grief this thing is slow. I mean al
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

This is the first book of First Law that I gave 4 star (other books I gave 5 star). I like First Law books mainly because the protagonists in First Law are stereotypes that usually taking antagonist role in fiction stories (e.g.: Calden is a coward prince in The Heroes), but then the author can make them into sympathetic characters. In Red Country
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
The best of the First Law World singles so far!

And that's mainly because of Lamb! :D Now isn't that an appropriate name for our MC?! :)

I admit I was a little dissapointed to not have Lamb's POV but in the end it turned out better this way. Because of the reaction at the time of the big reveal, a different POV was absolutely worth it!!

The only reason I'm cutting off one star is due to some characters who were brilliant in the first half of the story but developed a sort of clownish attitude towar
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I HEREBY DECLARE JOE ABERCROMBIE AN HONORARY AMERICAN. He understands the themes, tropes, and cliches etc. of the western genre more than any limey has a right to, and deploys them effectively while telling a great story that stands up to any of the other First Law books I’ve read (all of them excepting Best Served Cold and that short story collection thingy that came out recently.) What we have here is a lovely mix of The Searchers and Unforgiven and maybe a bit of Deadwood, but only made bette ...more
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
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Nov 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite First Law book, but a decent installment.

Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wagon-train into the great western frontier, Joe Abercrombie-style!

The reviews about this book are wildly varied; readers seemed to either love it or hate it. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. Would it be as bad as Best Served Cold? Would it be on par with the original First Law trilogy?

Here’s what Abercrombie does with his characters and settings: he takes the familiar and turns it on its head, ripping an ear off in the process. In the original trilogy, he skewered traditional fantasy. H
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Red Country [Sep 5, 2019] 11 35 Oct 01, 2019 06:33AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Red Country [Aug 2017] 50 52 Aug 27, 2017 07:30AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #111 Red Country by Joe Abercrombie 1 1 Jun 14, 2015 07:47AM  
La Stamberga dei ...: Red Country di Joe Abercrombie 1 10 Feb 22, 2015 10:32AM  

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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

Other books in the series

First Law World (10 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
  • The Heroes (First Law World, #5)
  • Sharp Ends (First Law World, #7)
  • A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness, #1)
  • The Trouble with Peace (The Age of Madness, #2)
  • The Wisdom of Crowds (The Age of Madness, #3)

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