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auspex

Novel Tease

Random meanderings about the books I love—or don't. 

Interspersed with observations about my hobbies: Beer & Wine, Bridge, Bikes and Bow-wows.

Currently reading

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
Pontypool Changes Everything
Tony Burgess
The Heroes - Joe Abercrombie Where the books of the "First Law" trilogy span a continent, and their sequel Best Served Cold spans another, The Heroes goes in a completely different direction. Most of the main characters were introduced in the original trilogy, but the action focuses on one battle for a piece of the Northland surrounding one small town, over just a few days.

While the story is full of "heroes", "The Heroes" is actually a stone circle on the hill commanding the battlefield. This isn't your usual "epic fantasy" both because of its narrow focus, and because there's no simple struggle of Good versus Evil. I expected not to enjoy the story, both because I love "Good versus Evil", and I'm kind of sappy about happy endings, but I was surprised to find myself pretty well enthralled (though I might have skimmed through some of the more graphic battle scenes).

There are no truly Good guys (except possibly Harod dan Brock, who is presented as being pretty much too good to survive), but there are no truly Evil guys either. Black Dow is as evil as they come, but even he comes off as someone who's just doing what he has to do, in the only way he knows how. As for the Heroes, as much as anything, this is a story about the tenous connection between actual heroism and being known as a hero. We have a character who can perform 10 heroic acts before breakfast - but in reality has no concern for his own well-being, and more frighteningly, none for the well-being of the people he's supposed to be fighting with, either. There are at least two "heroes" who are outright cowards - one who's fooled everyone around him, and another whose instinct for self-preservation might save those around him, but only if he doesn't need to throw them to the wolves, first.

In the end, one can only try to "do the right thing". It probably won't make you a hero, but you might sleep comfortably.