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Praise for Joe Abercrombie:

‘Abercrombie has written the finest epic fantasy trilogy in recent memory. He’s one writer that no one should miss’

Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize winner

‘Joe Abercrombie is probably the brightest star among the new generation of British fantasy writers … Abercrombie never underestimates the horrors that people are prepared to inflict on one another, or their long-lasting, often unexpected, consequences. Abercrombie writes a vivid, well-paced tale that never loosens its grip. His action scenes are cinematic in the best sense, and the characters are all distinct and interesting’

The Times

‘Joe Abercrombie’s BEST SERVED COLD is a bloody and relentless epic of vengeance and obsession in the grand tradition, a kind of splatterpunk sword ’n sorcery COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, Dumas by way of Moorcock. Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, could teach even Gully Foyle and Kirth Gersen a few things about revenge.The battles are vivid and visceral, the action brutal, the pace headlong, and Abercrombie piles the betrayals, reversals, and plot twists one atop another to keep us guessing how it will all come out. This is his best book yet’

George R. R. Martin

‘Abercrombie writes dark, adult fantasy, by which I mean there’s a lot of stabbing in it, and after people stab each other they sometimes have sex with each other. His tone is morbid and funny and hardboiled, not wholly dissimilar to that of Iain Banks … Like Fritz Leiber you can see in your head where the blades are going, what is clanging off what, the sweat, the blood, the banter. And like George R. R. Martin Abercrombie has the will and the cruelty to actually kill and maim his characters’

Time Magazine

‘Delightfully twisted and evil’

The Guardian

‘Abercrombie is both fiendishly inventive and solidly convincing, especially when sprinkling his appallingly vivid combat scenes with humour so dark that it’s almost ultraviolet’

Publishers Weekly

‘Storms along at a breakneck pace. Each character has a history of betrayal and a wobbly moral compass, giving further realism and depth to Abercrombie’s world. The violence is plentiful, the methods of exacting revenge are eye-wateringly inventive and the characters well fleshed out. A fan of Bernard Cornwell’s historical escapades could easily fall for it. Believe the hype’

Waterstone’s Books Quarterly

‘Abercrombie’s narrative twists and turns, playing with but also against the reader’s expectations. His characters do likewise. Their realistic unpredictability means that it is almost impossible to determine what will eventually happen. One of the great pleasures of Joe Abercrombie’s fiction is that his characters are so lifelike’

Interzone

‘All in all, we can’t say enough good things about Mr Abercrombie’s latest addition to the genre. It’s intelligent, measured, thoughtful, well paced and considered, but retains a sense of fun. We can’t recommend it enough’

Sci-Fi Now

Also by Joe Abercrombie from Gollancz:

THE FIRST LAW TRILOGY

The Blade Itself

Before They Are Hanged

Last Argument of Kings

Best Served Cold

Contents

Praise for Joe Abercrombie

Also by Joe Abercrombie from Gollancz

Order of Battle

BEFORE THE BATTLE

The Times

The Peacemaker

The Best of Us

Black Dow

What War?

Old Hands

New Hands

Reachey

The Right Thing

DAY ONE

Silence

Ambition

Give and Take

The Very Model

Scale

Ours Not to Reason Why

Cry Havoc and …

Devoutly to be Wished

Casualties

The Better Part of Valour

Paths of Glory

The Day’s Work

The Defeated

Fair Treatment

Tactics

Rest and Recreation

DAY TWO

Dawn

Opening Remarks

The Infernal Contraptions

Reasoned Debate

Chains of Command

Closing Arguments

Straight Edge

Escape

The Bridge

Strange Bedfellows

Hearts and Minds

Good Deeds

One Day More

Bones

The King’s Last Hero

My Land

DAY THREE

The Standard Issue

Shadows

Under the Wing

Names

Still Yesterday

For What We Are About to Receive …

The Riddle of the Ground

Onwards and Upwards

More Tricks

The Tyranny of Distance

Blood

Pointed Metal

Peace in Our Time

The Moment of Truth

Spoils

Desperate Measures

Stuff Happens

AFTER THE BATTLE

End of the Road

By the Sword

The Currents of History

Terms

Family

New Hands

Old Hands

Everyone Serves

Just Deserts

Black Calder

Retired

Acknowledgements

Copyright

For Eve

One day you will read this

And say, ‘Dad, why all the swords?’

Order of Battle

THE UNION

High Command

Lord Marshal Kroy

– commander-in-chief of his Majesty’s armies in the North.

Colonel Felnigg

– his chief of staff, a remarkably chinless man.

Colonel Bremer dan Gorst

– royal observer of the Northern War and disgraced master swordsman, formerly the king’s First Guard.

Rurgen

and

Younger

– his faithful servants, one old, one … younger.

Bayaz, the First of the Magi

– a bald wizard supposedly hundreds of years old and an influential representative of the Closed Council, the king’s closest advisors.

Yoru Sulfur

– his butler, bodyguard and chief bookkeeper.

Denka

and

Saurizin

– two old Adepti of the University of Adua, academics conducting an experiment for Bayaz.

Jalenhorm’s Division

General Jalenhorm

– an old friend of the king, fantastically young for his position, described as brave yet prone to blunders.

Retter

– his thirteen-year-old bugler.

Colonel Vallimir

– ambitious commanding officer of the King’s Own First Regiment.

First Sergeant Forest

– chief non-commissioned officer with the staff of the First.

Corporal Tunny

– long-serving profiteer, and standard-bearer of the First.

Troopers Yolk, Klige, Worth,

and

Lederlingen

– clueless recruits attached to Tunny as messengers.

Colonel Wetterlant

– punctilious commanding officer of the Sixth Regiment.

Major Culfer

– his panicky second in command.

Sergeant Gaunt, Private Rose

– soldiers with the Sixth.

Major Popol

– commanding the first battalion of the Rostod Regiment.

Captain Lasmark

– a poor captain with the Rostod Regiment.

Colonel Vinkler

– courageous commanding officer of the Thirteenth Regiment.

Mitterick’s Division

General Mitterick

– a professional soldier with much chin and little loyalty, described as sharp but reckless.

Colonel Opker

– his chief of staff.

Lieutenant Dimbik

– an unconfident young officer on Mitterick’s staff.

Meed’s Division

Lord Governor Meed

– an amateur soldier with a neck like a turtle, in peacetime the governor of Angland, described as hating Northmen like a pig hates butchers.

Colonel Harod dan Brock

– an honest and hard-working member of Meed’s staff, the son of a notorious traitor.

Finree dan Brock

– Colonel Brock’s venomously ambitious wife, the daughter of Lord Marshal Kroy.

Colonel Brint

– senior on Meed’s staff, an old friend of the king.

Aliz dan Brint

– Colonel Brint’s naive young wife.

Captain Hardrick

– an officer on Meed’s staff, affecting tight

. . .
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