Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The First Law Trilogy Boxed Set: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings” as Want to Read:
The First Law Trilogy Boxed Set: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The First Law Trilogy Boxed Set: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings

(The First Law #1-3)

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  6,629 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
The three volume edition collecting The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and The Last Argument of Kings
Paperback, 1008 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Orion Publishing Group (first published September 1st 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The First Law Trilogy Boxed Set, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jason Moroff Really liked these books, but there are plenty of series that surpass this. I would agree the First Thomas Covenant series, ie first trilogy. The Rift…moreReally liked these books, but there are plenty of series that surpass this. I would agree the First Thomas Covenant series, ie first trilogy. The Rift War saga and the subsequent Mistress of the Empire. Not to mention if you are really ambitious the Wheel of Time. Finally, though not "fantasy" Dune is the best.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jasper Williams
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this series.
Say one thing for the first law trilogy, say it's got really good catchphrases.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The First Law Trilogy probably ranks in my top five debut trilogies of all time. Joe Abercrombie hits the ground running-- this series is nowhere near novice level. It's slick, dark, wonderfully cynical, and has some of the best bash-you-in-the-face fight scenes I have ever read.

The plot is nothing original, mind you, but the characterization definitely is. Unlike much of the Sword and Sorcery fantasy, Abercrombie's characters are deeply personal for the ultimate reason that they are almost alw
Blake Garretson
The last book destroys the whole series for me. The first two books were decent, and I felt like they were building towards something interesting. However, the ending of the last book is so laughably bad, the first two books are rendered pointless and not worth reading.

Instead of using an easy, clichéd story book ending, the author took an equally lazy route by making every character and plotline end horribly. I think he meant to impress us with his "grittiness" and depth by avoiding the happy
Wow, people are really polarized on this series; they seem to think it's either the greatest thing since sliced bread or it's utterly cliché and tiresome. I'll try to add my own small voice to the middle way and say that The First Law trilogy is neither of these things. Overall, First Law strikes me as a mildly original fantasy trilogy with some interesting world-building touches--- a geography vaguely reminiscent of Europe and Asia; a setting that isn't quite swords-and-horses medieval as Renai ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dark fantasy fans
Shelves: physical-books
I'll make this trilogy review really short as I did full reviews on all 3 books already.

The Blade Itself: 4.5/5 Stars
Before They Are Hanged: 5/5 Stars
Last Argument of Kings: 5/5 Stars

The First Law Trilogy: 14.5/15 Stars

Completely recommended for all fans of dark fantasy!
Why 3 stars (and not 4 or even 5) ? Just because the third book was so depressing and honestly, a bit boring. Yes, I was bored. Mostly with the repetitions : yes, I understand that when someone "goes to the mud, they'll be burried and then they'll rot. Yes, I know that Glokta is in pain (bloody leg, bloody arse, bloody neck, bloody tasteless food, bloody gums...) *sigh* But I was also bored with the characters development. Or should I say their non-development ? Or their going-down-again ? There ...more
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Blade Itself 2006 IBSN 9780575079793
Before They Are Hanged 2007 ISBN 9780575082014
The Last Argument of Kings 2008 ISBN 9780575077898
All published by Gollancz

This review originally appeared on The Specusphere, a now-defunct webzine, in 2008

In The First Law, UK fantasy writer Joe Abercrombie has produced one of the most impressive first trilogies ever to hit the market. It is remarkable not only because of its brilliantly complex plot and characters, but also because of its fearless investigat
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f
The characters - oh, the characters!

The First Law trilogy has its flaws. Most of the minor and a lot of the major points of the plot are predictable (though a sufficient number of shocking twists and revelations partly alleviates this), and repetitions of characters' catchphrases can get tiresome, to name the two that bothered me most.

But the characters themselves more than make up for it! Unorthodox, vividly written, with their own contradictions and personal fights, rarely have I seen such a p
Jesús Cañadas
Iba a ser mi lectura del verano, pero al final ha caído en 10 días y eso solo puede ser bueno. Se lee del tirón, entretiene y tiene momentos brillantes.

A otro nivel, se nota que Abercrombie estaba empezando. Repeticiones, inconsistencias, un estilo planito rozando lo ramplón, deus ex machina, similitudes sospechosas con otras sagas fantásticas, cambios de parecer de varios personajes porque le viene bien al autor...

Pero vamos, que uno no viene aquí buscando Proust. Te lo pasas bien y eso ya es
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This trilogy was beyond-description fabulous. Characters you love to hate, a dynamic plot and amazing battle scenes have propelled this trilogy into my absolute favorite.

There's no character I've found to love then hate then love again like Sand dan Glotka.
D. Peach
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A definite for the fantasy enthusiast. This is an amazingly well-crafted trilogy by a master story-teller.

Characterization was by far my favorite part of the book. Every character is thoroughly unique, utterly compelling and terribly flawed. Murderers, torturers, drunks, cowards, and betrayers people the pages. I loved them all, rooted for them, and was equally disappointed and horrified. The main characters are, by and large, trapped in lives they wish they could change. As a reader I kept hop
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joe Abercrombie is one of those authors that spent far too much time on my to-read list. I was never really sure where to start, unsure of which of his trilogies I wanted to read, but in the end the choice was made for me. My friend gave me a collection of his books, included were the first three books from the First Law world. So it was, I knew where I was to start with Abercrombie’s work.

I wasn’t overly fond of the first book. In my opinion, it took too long to truly start. The character devel
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Well, its been almost two months since I started. I did take a break between each book, but still, that is some investment.

I did not do this in the right order, lets get that out of the way first. I stumbled upon 'The Heroes' by accident, immediately realized I was probably a bit in the dark about some things-and yet plowed ahead anyway because what the hell, I was sucked in.

Then a year later I wanted to go back-but wasnt ready to commit to the full trilogy, so I did 'Best Served Cold', which re
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pick your favorite epic fantasy, cynical just-so tale, or grimdark war story. Call it X. Imagine Joe Abercrombie picking up your copy of X, casually tossing it on the ground, unzipping, and pissing on it. "You call that grim, dark, cynical fantasy? I'll show you grimdark!" You are horrified that your favorite book/series is being treated so poorly, but you cannot stop turning the page.

This is the box set for Abercrombie's first 3 books:

* The Blade Itself - There's a fencing contest coming up! Ja
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The First Law Trilogy: The ultimate literary blue ball experience.
In my Reader's despair, I question the purpose of art and storytelling and compare Abercrombie, Tarantino, and Kubrick in order to understand why this trilogy I loved filled me with existential rage


I started out LOVING this series. Apart from the excellent writing and immersive world, I cared about the characters - I wanted the heroes to overcome their poignant struggles and I hungered for revenge against the villa
Michael Martin
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic trilogy. The Blade Itself got off to a rough start, I struggled to get myself fully into to the story and had to leave it on my bookshelf for a week before diving into the second half. I started reading this trilogy after picking up a copy of The Heroes and loved it, thankfully my love of his storytelling and writing style encouraged me to return to The Blade Itself. The struggle continued, though once I'd reached the end I knew I had made the right decision in returning to the story ...more
Andy Crawford
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What would an epic, magical quest be like with real, complicated, and highly flawed people as the protagonists? On the surface, this book and the series don't seem to offer much that's new. There's a great journey, a wise wizard, a young noble with shaky confidence, a brave, fireplug of a young maiden, and a fearsome northern barbarian. But each of these characters do not quite fit the mold... what really goes on in the mind of a huge, half-naked warrior with a sword? What really motivates the o ...more
"Heads on spikes, eh? Never goes out of fashion." you can see this is classic Swords and Sorcery. Engaging characters that you're sorry to see die and liberally peppered with humorous observations. The berserker and his fellow barbarians have great names and although there are many bloody battles necessary to medieval warfare, the author doesn't stoop to pornographic sex and grotesque violence to tell a good tale.

Better on second read! Revisit before going on to #4-6..."his father had been
Shawn Wickersheim
A new favorite author. I stumbled upon this series at the local library. Loved the way the books were described on the cover. Loved the way the author made me care about characters that normally wouldn't be all that sympathetic. Bought the trilogy, bought Best Served Cold and will eventually buy The Heroes. As a writer myself, I enjoy looking at the way other writers construct scenes, portray characters and offer dialogue. These books came alive in my mind and I can't wait to read more by this a ...more
Bookdragon Sean
I really enjoyed this series. The characters, for the most part, can be defined as morally grey; being both capable of good and evil. This is especially true for Logan Ninefingers and Sand Dan Glokta, characters you hate to love and love to hate. This makes their actions and choices unpredictable and leaves the plot twisting into unexpected directions.
A must read for any lover of fantasy. Joe Abercrombie sets the benchmark for this genre.
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this series. It's gritty, bloody, violent and full of characters that I hated one moment, loved the next then hated again. Almost every character is self-serving and doesn't care about anything except their own agenda and will crush anybody who they disagree with and/or don't like -- kinda reminds me of today's Republican party!

I highly recommend!
Eric Barnitt
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tough series to review as a whole - mostly since I read these books for the first time about ten years ago when they were first published. But I've read all of the books multiple times each since my first completion of the series, which is fairly rare for me to do.

For me, these books were a gateway into a different type of fantasy novel that I didn't know I desperately wanted until I read them. When I first read The Blade Itself, I was so steeped in high fantasy, swords and sorcery no
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler Alert. I will make references to parts of the story.

I am not going to write a full review of the book. But over all I loved "The First Law" Trilogy. But as I read through the books and after I finished them.. I didn't really know who to root for. I ended up loving Logan 9 fingers and he was a monster, a really low key humble guy that turns into a bloody mass murderer when he is in danger, he kills at random when he goes into a bloody rage.. he has split personalities so to speak. But I f
Matthew Barrett
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Knowles
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy shit.

This trilogy was incredible. I was rooting hard for an expert torturer, a murderous barbarian, a revenge obsessed bitch, a self-obsessed idiot noble and a power-crazed anti-Gandalf. What a fucking ride.

If you didn't like this series you should stop reading and stick to Hollywood movies. Actually maybe just stick to Hollywood _superhero_ movies. It's not like there's any shortage of them.

P.S. Glokta is my favorite. My first son will be named Sand. If Logen is yours we can probably st
Jul 23, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I think even fantasy fiction should have the element of realism and unpredictability which is clearly missing . The magic should look believable.

Same old story with a different color & hue .
Can there be any different than - a ring or a sword or a stone, a group of people after them and a wizard with illogical powers.what ever be the odds the leading characters will survive. Predictable all thro' .

The battles are like kids play ,one buffoon goes left another to the right and it is over, n
LJ Waguespack
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A rollicking, no holds barred, extravaganza epic, that requires three books to complete, well written and satisfying. A rollicking, no holds barred, unpredictable saga of a story that I could not get enough of. This epic extravaganza, includes intricate, detailed, world building, incredible, graphic action scenes, the series builds into a barnburner of a final book that I could not put down. The characters are complex, intriguing, beguiling, at times simple and always unconventional and that is
Anne Mcadoo
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastical
At first, I didn't care much for the story, but I stuck with it because of Logen Ninefingers, a likable fellow. :) Then I got intrigued with the story, and gradually came to love other characters (and loathe some) that I didn't care about at first. An exciting story, I like the magic and the characters' growth, and Logen's words of wisdom. A bit too bloody sometimes for me, and not enough exposition, and an unsatisfactory ending. Oh, well, I guess it's about the journey, not the destination. Or ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie ("The Blade Itself", "Before They Are Hanged", and "Last Arguments of Kings"). This is not an ordinary fantasy story. No knight saving the damsel in distress. No slaying of the dragon. No good always triumphs. No happily ever after. People, events, and the world are not cut and dry black and white, just infinite shades of gray. It is grim, gritty, and dark, but not bleak. Though there are evil characters in this story, their evilness is not a c ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Cool Kids' Fa...: The First Law Trilogy 12 49 Oct 25, 2018 08:15AM  
For Love of a Book: The First Law 5 20 Aug 07, 2018 07:11AM  
Joe Abercrombie Fans: The First Law reread + Graphic novel 4 44 Sep 29, 2013 02:42AM  
  • The Prince of Ravens (The Exile Series, #1)
  • The Farseer Trilogy (Farseer Trilogy #1-3)
  • The Night Angel Trilogy (Night Angel, #1-3)
  • Caine's Law (The Acts of Caine, #4)
  • The Brewer's Tale
  • The Complete Malazan Book of the Fallen
  • Skammerens datter 3+4 (Skammerserien, #3-4)
  • The Coldfire Trilogy: Black Sun Rising/ When True Night Falls/ Crown of Shadows
  • The Girl of Hrusch Avenue (Powder Mage, #0.5)
  • Mistborn Trilogy Boxed Set (Mistborn, #1-3)
  • The Sector (Non-Compliance #1)
  • The Rootless
  • The Castle Omnibus
  • Истовик-камень (Волкодав, #3)
  • The Books of the South (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #3.5-5)
  • I, Vampire
  • The Wheel of Time: Boxed Set #1 (Wheel of Time, #1-3)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 7
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

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)
“Doing better next time. That’s what life is.” 8 likes
“A few glasses of wine can be the difference between finding a man a hilarious companion or an insufferable moron.” 7 likes
More quotes…