Sharp Ends is the ultimate collection of award winning tales and exclusive new short stories from the master of grimdark fantasy, Joe Abercrombie.
Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue’s gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law.
The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.
Curnden Craw and his dozen are out to recover a mysterious item from beyond the Crinna. Only one small problem: no one seems to know what the item is.
Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria, lurches from disaster to catastrophe alongside her best friend and greatest enemy, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.
And after years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left — his own lunatic champion, the most feared man in the North: the Bloody-Nine . . .
Sharp Ends is a collection of short stories that revisit characters from the First Law Series. We have reacquainted with favourites again, Glockta, Bremner Dan Gorst, Whirrun of Bligh, and Curnden Craw. Joe Abercrombie opens up his bag of tricks once again to remind us why we fell in love with this series in the first place. The characterisation, the exquisite narrative, and the worldbuilding are what you would come to expect from Abercrombie. More insight, more joy, and of course a large helping of depravity and mischievousness. Anthologies can be notoriously difficult to hit right – you either love them or hate them. However, the author nailed the process – we have a sense of structure and flow, as he has constructed them in chronological order.
“Welcome to my life of constant doubt, anxiety, and occasional sudden and unpredictable horror, Javre. I hope you enjoy your fucking visit.”
Like most short story collections, there are going to be stories you love, and stories that hit somewhere in the middle. My favourite was most definitely the story featuring Sand Dan Glockta. I was fully invested in finding out more about his character pre torture by the Gurkish. He was a supremely confident and arrogant character that isn’t afraid of waving it in everyone’s face. The only problem I had with the story was where it ended – I wanted more, I wanted to discover his experience with the Gurkish. Nicomo Cosca was also a brilliant story, it’s always an experience digging further into the character, the why and how of him leaves you feeling all kinds of emotions.
Bethod’s story was the most intriguing. He’s a character that I never particularly warmed to in the original trilogy. He’s viewed as a bad guy. He’s underestimated and misunderstood. We get new insight into why he is the way he is and for me at least it turned my perspective of him on its head. He was terrified of Logen “ninefingers” (well who wouldn’t be?) He reminds me of a Berserker, one with a split personality.
Sharp Ends is a collection that is a must-read for fans of The First Law Series. Like all anthologies, there will be some you love and some you don’t. however, nothing can take away Abercrombie’s flow and skill with plots. It has built upon and enhanced an already memorable tale.