Half a King is Joe
Abercrombies latest novel and also the first instalment in "The Shattered
Seas" trilogy. Half a King is this reviewers first
foray into the works of Mr Abercrombie and it proved to be a remarkably enjoyable
Half a King is set in and around the Baltic Sea
some unknown time in the future. Something untoward has happened to our current
civilisation with the societies bordering the sea have reverted to a proto-viking culture
with tribal kings, farming, trading and raiding being the substance of local life. Into
this milieu is born Jarvi the second son of king Urthil. Due to a birth defect giving him
only half a left hand Jarvi has elected to study for the priesthood and forswear his claim
to the throne. But the unexpected death of both his father and older brother propel him to
the kingship thats when his problems really start, after all who would want to
follow a warrior king when he cant even hold a shield. Betrayal and abandonment
quickly follow, then the hard life of a galley slave.
Despite being the first book of a trilogy Half a King
can be read as a standalone novel; the story is complete unto itself although the author
has left enough threads hanging for further parts to be added.
I really liked this book. The setting and characters motivations
were believable, as were the deeds those characters performed and in the background
was a wider world with other dramas and factional politics; the story was more than Jarvi
and his attempts to regain his lost throne and gain vengeance on those who sold him out. I
shall definitely be seeking out more in this series.