The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

“The First Law” is a fantasy series written by British author Joe Abercrombie. It’s known for its gritty realism, complex characters, and dark humor. The series subverts many traditional fantasy tropes, offering readers a more cynical and realistic take on the genre.


Set in a world reminiscent of medieval Europe, the series revolves around several key characters, including a barbarian named Logen Ninefingers, a crippled torturer named Sand dan Glokta, and a self-centered nobleman named Jezal dan Luthar. Their lives intertwine in a tale of war, politics, and personal ambitions.

The series delves deep into themes of power, corruption, and the nature of morality. It’s noted for its morally gray characters, where even heroes have significant flaws and villains can be sympathetic.

AuthorJoe Abercrombie
Number of Books (Main Trilogy)3
Publication Years (Main Trilogy)2006 – 2008

Main Characters

  • Logen Ninefingers: Often referred to as “The Bloody-Nine” in his berserker state, Logen is a notorious Northman warrior with a complicated moral compass. Despite his violent reputation, he often contemplates the nature of violence and his role in it.
  • Sand dan Glokta: A former war hero turned torturer for the Inquisition after enduring years of torture himself as a prisoner of war. Cynical and physically broken, his internal monologues provide a deep insight into the corrupt world around him.
  • Jezal dan Luthar: A vain and self-centered young nobleman and officer, Jezal starts as an ambitious duelist but undergoes significant character development throughout the series.
  • Ferro Maljinn: A former slave with a burning desire for revenge against the Gurkish Empire. She’s fierce, distrustful, and has a mysterious connection to dark forces.
  • Bayaz: The First of the Magi, he’s a powerful wizard with his own agenda, playing a central role in the political and magical events of the series.
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Themes and Motif

  • Power and Corruption: The series delves into the corrupting influence of power, whether it’s political, magical, or personal.
  • Morality and Redemption: Characters grapple with their past actions, seeking redemption or, at times, sinking further into their vices.
  • War and Politics: The series showcases the brutal realities of war and the political machinations behind it.
  • Identity and Transformation: Many characters undergo significant transformations, both internally and in their societal roles.
  • Cynicism and Hope: While the series is known for its grim and cynical outlook, there are moments of hope and genuine human connection.

The First Law Trilogy in Order

S no.Book’s NameYearBook’s Price
1The Blade Itself2006Check Price
2Before They Are Hanged2007Check Price
3Last Argument of Kings2008Check Price


  • Critical Reception: “The First Law” trilogy has been praised for its character development, intricate plot, and Abercrombie’s unique voice. It’s often lauded for its fresh take on the fantasy genre.
  • Reader Reception: The series has garnered a dedicated fanbase and is often recommended for readers looking for a more mature and grimdark fantasy.

Trivia and Fun Facts

  • Joe Abercrombie has written several stand-alone novels set in the same world as “The First Law,” expanding on the universe and its characters.
  • The series is known for its memorable quotes, one of the most famous being: “Once you’ve got a task to do, it’s better to do it than live with the fear of it.”
  • Abercrombie’s writing style and the tone of the series have led to him being dubbed one of the leading authors in the “grimdark” subgenre of fantasy.

Written by

Rajat Mehta

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