They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbor, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.
For glory, for victory, for staying alive.
This blood-drenched, thought-provoking dissection of a three-day battle is set in the same world as Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy (The Blade Itself, etc.), but stands very well alone. Union commander Lord Marshal Kroy coordinates the fight with the aid of a motley group of incompetent, self-important officers. The strangely sympathetic Col. Bremer dan Gorst is officially a royal observer who nurses a burning desire to kill or be killed. Leading a much smaller army against the Union is Black Dow, whose grip on the throne of the Northmen is tenuous and based on fear and brutality. Calder, a slippery and cunning egotist, advocates peace while plotting to take Black Dow's place. Abercrombie never glosses over a moment of the madness, passion, and horror of war, nor the tribulations that turn ordinary people into the titular heroes. \n
So good, and you might have noticed…
Really enjoyed this, as I have the other Abercrombie books I’ve read so far. But there’s something about this one I’m surprised hasn’t seemed to come up yet in user reviews. This book is like a sword-fantasy version of Michael Shaara’s novel “The Killer Angels” (and Jeff Shaara’s two books around it) which paints the battle of Gettysburgh from multiple points of view. Not only does Heroes use a similar format about a similar (but fictional) campaign, but Abercrombie actually sneaks in details from the Civil War battle. Notice that it’s North vs. South. One side is called the Union. The maps are depicted in the way Civil War maps are. There are names of officers eerily similar to Civil War leaders (Meed, etc.). Neither side is painted as good or bad, but you find yourself sympathizing with characters on either side. I’m sure there are other details I’ve missed, but it looks to me like Abercrombie was having fun recreating Shaara’s vision of Gettysburg in a sword-fantasy setting. And he did so, I think, with the same degree of brilliance. I loved it.
My favorite book in one of my all time favorite series.
When your craving some medieval warfare
Absolutely fantastic writing. Plenty of violence, blood and grit! I highly recommend the audio version. Steven Pacey reads with such vigor and emotion, really makes the story come to life!