Reading time – 2 mins 27 seconds.
The wait for a new book from your favourite author is always a torturous affair. The date lingers in the diary; they reveal the cover, hints from the author on social media, the adverts, the trail of breadcrumbs from advanced readers, and you inwardly curse them for having what you want so badly.
And thus, it was the case with my wait for Joe Abercrombie’s new novel, The Trouble with Peace. The time passes slowly, rushes over the final weekend and then you have it (signed limited edition from Waterstones, if you must know) and then you read.
You devour, you absorb the words; wishing you could write such a thing. Then you near the end and the feeling of sadness creeps upon you like the first chills of winter.
Then you are finished, and that is that. Another book read. But you want more, to spend time in the company of the characters and their adventures. This was also the case when I finished it this morning. Longing to spend more time with them and to see what happens next. Like a spell has been cast and you are powerless to resist. And I am powerless to resist.
I won’t reveal any spoilers, but may hint at a few cryptic things, so beware.
When I read A Little Hatred last year it was good, but I struggled with the shift in time period and the gradual introduction of The First Law: The Next Generation. But it was necessary, Joe had said in many interviews he found the straight continuity of fantasy books annoying. The fact worlds never seem to progress beyond swords and shields. So, it was a difficult ask to both satisfy fans of the First Law books and also move the narrative forward some 30 years, but overall A Little Hatred managed it rather well.
The Trouble with Peace is brilliant. I absolutely loved it.
It gripped me in a way that few books have in recent years. Best Served Cold is my favourite fantasy book ever, and this book comes a very close second. It is more political, more twisty, has greater depth and emotional heft; and it is all the better for it. I grinned like an idiot when two old faces turned up again. Gasped as a long-held question about parentage was answered. And I booed when someone didn’t die.
I long to be back in this world, to see what happens next, because everything is to play for and who knows which way it will turn next. One thing is for sure, next summer when the next book is released, I will be at the front of the queue to spend yet more time with characters I love and characters I love to hate.
Long live the King, the King of Fantasy – Joe Abercrombie.