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Red Country Hardcover – November 13, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 451 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Terrific fight scenes, compelling characters (some familiar, some new), and sardonic, vivid prose show Abercrombie at the top of his game."
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on Red Country

"Pointed, driven, and sharp."―Locus on Red Country

"Magnificent, richly entertaining"―Time on The Heroes

"Imagine The Lord of the Rings as directed by Kurosawa."―Lev Grossman, Wall Street Journal on The Heroes

About the Author

Joe Abercrombie is the New York Times bestselling author of Red Country and the First Law trilogy: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, and Last Argument of Kings. He is a full time writer, and occasional freelance film editor, who lives in Bath, England with his wife and three children.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316187216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316187213
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joe Abercrombie is a freelance film editor, who works on documentaries and live music events. He lives and works in Bath. THE BLADE ITSELF, his debut novel, is the first novel of The First Law trilogy, followed by BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED and LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS. His new stand-alone bestseller is BEST SERVED COLD.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
REVIEW SUMMARY: Gritty mash-up of Western themes and Fantasy setting as only Abercrombie could do it.

MY RATING: 4.5 Stars

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Shy South's home has been burned to the ground, her brother and sister stolen. To get them back Shy will have to brave the lawless frontier and all the savages that inhabit it.

PROS: Great prose, Western themes mesh perfectly, return of beloved characters.

CONS: Slightly drawn out, less interesting protagonists.

BOTTOM LINE: There are few things I look forward to more than the release of a new Abercrombie novel and Red Country does not disappoint.

"The losers are always the villains, Sworbreck. Only winners can be heroes."

The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie is the very reason I got back into the fantasy genre after a five year hiatus of sticking strictly to science fiction. The First Law taught me that fantasy can be gritty and bloody and none too happily-ever-after. As a result I've spent that past several years sinking my teeth into any and all titles of the Sword & Sorcery sub-genre and I still have not found an author quite so engaging as Abercrombie. Red Country is a minor departure from the series, it still occupies the same overall setting but is layered with Western themes. I've never been huge into Westerns but I was eager to see how this would translate.

Reading Red Country the first thing that struck me was just how appropriate the influence of the Western genre was on this particular piece. I'm sure that there are other fantasy novels that draw similar inspiration but I doubt that any wear it with such pride.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I feel fortunate to have stumbled on Joe Abercrombie a few years ago. Beyond Tolkien, I've read precious little fantasy--the first of George R.R. Martin, Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, and not much else.

On the other hand I've read a lot of Larry McMurtry's novels on the American West, and make no mistake: "Red Country" is a western. Many tropes of the genre are there: a cattle drive, a gold strike, a wild frontier town, fear of attack by "Ghosts" (Abercrombie's stand-in for American Indians, complete with necklaces of human ears), the theme of who are the "real savages", etc. There's a lot of Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" here along with "Deadwood". Of course, Abercrombie's work has always been slight on "high fantasy" elements but they're completely absent here; practically the only concession is the characters still carry swords. (That said, Abercrombie had already previously introduced gunpowder into his universe, and when you consider that in a recent interview he said his next trilogy would jump ahead about 25 years and include elements of industrialization, I'm certain pistols aren't far off for his characters.)

So it's not fantasy. Is it a good western? I'm pretty sure it is...but I have to admit my bias--I'm a fan of Abercrombie's prior work and this one stands on the shoulders of it to a great degree. There's long stretches where things move slowly, especially as the more charismatic of the two popular returning characters seems to disappear for a couple hundred pages. Of all Abercrombie's books I've found this to be the most pure as a page-turner, yet he stumbles for tense climatic moments.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This was another great story by the best author out there right now. Some people have complained but I loved how Joe did something different. This IS a western fantasy hybrid. Everything about it screams western. The writing style, the way people talk, the gold rush towns, the "Ghosts" (Joe's version of the American Indian), some duels, cattle drives, fights on top of a runaway stage coach full of gold! Everything! And yet it was all Circle of the World fantasy at the same time. Several characters you know and love are here (again, I said spoilers), Logen, Cosca, Carlot dan Eider, Shivers, Friendly, the list goes on. Same awesome Joe writing, just in a Western package. Some have complained that Logen should have been a main pov so we can get in his head but I think Joe was able to convey Logen's thoughts and feelings enough through the various pov's for me to get my Logen "fix." Loved the ending. Can't wait for more. Thank you Joe!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, I need to say I'd pretty much given up on contemporary fantasy until I chanced on Mr. Abercrombie's First Law trilogy, and later The Heroes.

While Red Country is a solid story and wraps up lots of loose ends - particularly Logan Nine-Fingers - the novel simply didn't do it for me. The writing didn't have the mad gleam those other books had, as if it were rushed or written out of obligation rather than inspiration. The characters came off as flat, the battles, bloody but predictable, the themes vaguely depressing.

Again, my hat's off to the author for re-invigorating the genre, but this isn't his best. Read the Trilogy, or if you prefer a stand-alone, try The Heroes.
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