Man oh man, don't I just love me Joe Abercrombie's books. No other fantasy writer I've read - and I've read a lot - writes action like he does. The world he's built is populated with fascinating, deeply flawed characters who have a propensity for violence and adventure. With Red Country, Abercrombie has added yet another great book, taking place some years after the events of The Heroes, which was after Best Served Cold, which took place after the First Law trilogy. When Shy South's brother and sister are kidnapped and taken west, into the Far Country, she and her stepfather Lamb give chase. Shy is a tough cookie, struggling to forget the evil deeds of her youth. Lamb is a giant Northman, quiet, scarred and with only nine fingers. Shy thinks he's a coward. She's going to change her mind about that. As they follow the trail of the kidnappers, they join a wagon train heading to the wild west town of Crease. Red Country has a Western flair - quite different from the Mediterranean aspect of BSC - and the wagon train's journey brought Lonesome Dove to mind, while the nasty little settlement of Crease makes Deadwood look like Paris. Like Abercrombie's other books, Red Country is full of great characters, several of whom have appeared in previous volumes: Captain-General Nicomo Costa is there, with the cleaver-wielding Sgt. Friendly and assorted other of his mercenaries; Caul Shivers and Glama Golden have cameos; and the mysterious Mayor of Crease seems awfully familiar. The wild West tone is slightly jarring compared to the previous books but Red Country is great fun and a solid entry in Abercrombie's bibliography. I'm starting to think I should buy these books.
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