The middle chapter of The First Law trilogy is a fun mixture of epic journeys, brutal battles, political intrigue, and yes even sex (unfortunately). Joe Abercrombie after leading all his flawed and well written characters to Adua in The Blade Itself, he sent them all far away from the middle continent of his world. The epic journey of Bayaz, Logen, Ferro, and Jezal across the Old Empire on their way to the Edge of the World is given all the sense of an epic quest that sees all four change in their views of themselves but to the others as well. Inquisitor, now Superior, Glokta journeys to Dagoska to find out what happened to his predecessor and to defend the city from the Gurkish any way he can while looking over his shoulder for the stab in the back he always expects is coming but is continually surprised when it never happens. Up North, Logen’s former crew join up with Collem West and together they attempt to fight off Bethod’s invasion of Angland facing challenges none of them expected including dealing with the burden of leadership. Abercrombie surprises fantasy fans, even those use to the twist and turns of G.R.R. Martin, by how he spins the three main story arcs in this book, especially the ending to the ‘epic quest’ led by Bayaz. However it’s the characters that even really makes one not want to set down this book and that’s why this book is so good.