Red Country (First Law book 6)

by Joe Abercrombie

“No man capable of greater evil than the one who thinks himself in the right.”

A tough-as-nails woman, her pseudo-father and other unlikely companions gathered along the way track down a mercenary army across the brutal plains to retrieve her stolen brother and sister.

This is a western containing the throwback violence that we used to see in the old Eastwood films, even more blood and guts, and steel instead of lead. Perhaps most surprising is Abercrombie’s ability to infuse a dark, but laugh-out-loud humor throughout a story chock-full of death. Present throughout the book are catch phrases echoing truth and showing up often enough to be notable. Seriously, this kind of highlighting is reserved for philosophy books and college. Quotable truths appearing so often in a cynical world of pain and death, blood and dirt, help to counterbalance the constant devastation with a kind of strained but effective levity.

Red Country functions well as stand-alone and is extremely enjoyable by itself even without prior experience with the characters that are present in previous works. It’s a sizeable, decently complicated read, and is a highly recommended work filled with violence, compelling if unsympathetic characters and a biting understanding of the human condition. If this is your first Abercrombie, visiting the original First Law trilogy to see what you’ve been missing is in order.

Camling held one hand high. ‘May the best man win!’ he shrieked.
Over the sudden roar he heard Lamb say, ‘It’s the worst man wins these.’

4 stars

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