Joe Abercrombie: Best Served Cold reread

Joe Abercrombie continues the prep for his new novel by rereading his old books.  Next up: Best Served Cold:
Some background may be helpful.  This was my fourth book, but in many ways my difficult second project, as Before They are Hanged and Last Argument of Kingsobviously continued with the same characters and plotlines as The Blade Itself.  Plus it was the first book I started work on with books out there in the marketplace and therefore with (at least a little bit) of expectation from readers and critics.  I’d writtenLast Argument of Kings in fourteen months, with relatively little blood, sweat and tears, and I expected this to be that little bit more straightforward again as I devoted more time to my writing, my craft improved and so forth.  How wrong I was.  Probably this was my most difficult book to write, I was crippled with doubts and worries about it pretty much from the start.  It’s hard to put myself in that mindset now, but I think I considered giving up on it a couple of times.  Certainly the challenge of coming up with new characters, new voices, new locations, a new style of storytelling approach, on a schedule and with people waiting, was vastly much more difficult and pressurised than I’d expected.  In the end it took about 20 months to write, I think, and for a great deal of that time I was deeply worried that it would turn out … let’s say a little bit shit, and indeed that I’d never write anything as good as The First Law again.  ’Well, not every book can be your best…’ said with a mournful shrug of the shoulders was a frequent refrain of that time, as I recall.

Best Served Cold is my favourite of Joe's novels: it's blackly funny, surprising, nasty, uncompromising and, most of all, it has Monza, a female lead whose drawing almost makes up for the paucity of interesting women in the First Law trilogy.

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