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Det yttersta argumentet (2008)

av Joe Abercrombie

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

Serier: The First Law (3)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3,265993,017 (4.17)73
The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him - but it's going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm, and there's only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy. It's past time for the Bloody-Nine to come home. With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no-one is safe, and no-one can be trusted. His days with a sword are far behind him. It's a good thing blackmail, threats and torture still work well enough. Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is far too painful, and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too, and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on a man when he least expects it. While the King of the Union lies on his deathbead, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No-one believes that the shadow of war is falling across the very heart of the Union. The First of the Magi has a plan to save the world, as he always does. But there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, after all, than to break the First Law...… (mer)
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What do you say about a book that leaves you rooting for the twisted, bitter, angry torturer of the Inquisition to win? After all, in the end, he is the only one with clear motives.

Sometimes I feel "the Last Argument of Kings" is a thin excuse for a plot to connect together truly epic battle scenes. Some of these battle scenes are /fantastic/ -- Logen vs. the Feared, Bayaz vs. the Eaters, Bayaz and Yulwei vs. the horrible white demon chick, etc. Sometimes the plot is completely inexplicable. Why do the Northmen follow Collem West to the South to fight the Gurkish and leave the obviously evil Black Dow behind in Carleon? WHO KNOWS? But there's these battles in the Palace involving Eaters absolutely to be believed so that works out in its own ways.

This is a book about the ancient personal issues between two very old men who will not leave it enough alone and insist on working through their issues through the power of nations. Bayaz with the Union; Khalul with the Gurkish. They have spent a thousand years fighting over who killed whom in the misty past before either nation existed, and they now control their nations with a cast-iron grip and throw them at one another. They both have their minions, their objects of power, their Kings and their armies. Yet, as Bayaz says many times, magic leaks out of the world. It's become a world of men, not a world of magic. The future will have precious few Eaters or Seeds that flatten entire cities like in the Old World. The future will have banks, and debts, and Mercers, and Spicers, and great trading powers. Who owns the banks owns the kingdoms.

The best viewpoints character is Superior Sand dan Glokta with his dragging toeless foot and twisted back and mouth full of missing teeth. His drive for answers carries the downtime between the grand epic battles. And he receives the answers he seeks, but at a price. A price, it turns out, he is willing to pay.

Joe Abercrombie gets you to care about these black, twisted, horrible characters. From the inside, Logen Ninefingers is a good man but from the point of view of everyone else he is the relentless killer the Bloody-Nine, an alter-ego he can never escape. Sand dan Glokta is twisted on the outside but it hides a mind that relentlessly picks apart the mysteries. Everyone trusts Bayaz but a thousand year old man cares nothing for the daily lives of humanity when he dreams of destroying his brother Khalul. Even Jezel dan Luther loses -- a king trapped in an endless gilded Palace, chosen for his vanity and vacuity who will never be a hero but will always be a peacock for the entertainment of the people while others control the Kingdom.

Good, solid books all three. The trilogy, unlike most, comes to a fairly final end. Strong characters, extremely well written seat piece battles, and lots of blood and disembodied limbs flying around. The Last Argument of Kings was written well enough that I flew through it and blew through the last half of the (700 page) book in a long sitting.

The First Law Trilogy is highly recommend for serious Good Times with Blood and Gore. ( )
  multiplexer | Jun 20, 2021 |
In dit laatste deel van de trilogie worden de nodige vorken aan de stelen gepast. Nu, niet elke steel krijgt een vork.

Uiteraard draait het hier om oorlog, politiek, machtsspelletjes, bedrog en dergelijke meer. De oorlog tegen de Gurken is bloedig, gewelddadig, allesvernietigend, maar uiteindelijk winnen de goeden: de Unie, samen met de hulp van enkele Noordmannen (Logens bende).

Ook Logen slaagt erin wraak te nemen tegen Bethod, al gaat ook dat niet over een leien dakje, zeker niet met een demon van de Overzijde erbij. Logen wordt logischerwijs de nieuwe koning van de Noordmannen, maar niet iedereen is daarmee opgezet. Niet in het minst z'n eigen vrienden (Zwarte Douw, Grim, Hondman, ...), want Logen heet niet voor niets Bloedige Negenvinger. Van zodra hij bloed proeft, verandert hij in de meest gewelddadige krijger en ontziet hij niets of niemand. Zelfs z'n naaste familie kan het dan ontgelden. Door de oorlog tegen de Bethod laten enkele van Logens strijdmakkers het leven, tot groot verdriet van de overblijvenden.

Glokta, Superieur van de Inquisitie, krijgt ook nog een belangrijke rol te vervullen. Hij stijgt zelfs op de hiërarchische ladder, mede dankzij Bayaz (Eerste der Magiërs). Jezal wordt door de tactische ingrepen van Bayaz koning. De eerdere koning en z'n zonen worden op verschillende manieren het leven ontnomen. Uiteraard is dit voor Jezal een complete ommekeer en vraagt dit een enorme aanpassing van zijn kant. Maar hij blijft gebonden aan Bayaz' adviezen. Bayaz blijkt toch niet zomaar een machtig man te zijn, integendeel zelfs. Ook Glokta is er niet weg van.

De "dark forces" (Eters e.d.) worden dankzij het Zaad en Bayaz' magie uitgeschakeld, de samenleving, de Agriont, e.d. kunnen terug opgebouwd worden o.l.v. koning Jezal en nieuwe leden van de Gesloten Raad.

Maarschalk Burr komt op mysterieuze wijze om het leven, waardoor kolonel West (een simpele boerenjongen die het ver geschopt heeft) plots die positie krijgt toegewezen (door Jezal, die zich wil profileren als koning, als machthebber). Maar de enorme impact van de strijd tegen de Gurken heeft z'n tol geëist. In elk geval vergaat het z'n zus iets beter dan de maanden voordien.

Er zitten ook wat verrassingen in, en daarmee open eindes:
- De relatie tussen Glokta en Ardee West (die eerder iets met Jezal had) en haar zwangerschap. Wat wordt het?
- Het gedwongen huwelijk tussen Terez (dochter van de Styriaanse hertog) en Jezal: Glokta heeft z'n charmes aangewend, als nieuwe Hoofdlector (i.p.v. Sult), om haar aan te sporen voor nageslacht te zorgen. Alleen... is zij "van de andere kant". Hoe loopt het verder? Zal er nageslacht zijn? Zal Jezal haar ware aard kennen?
- Zijn de Gurken echt volledig verslagen?
- Leeft Logen nog na z'n doodstrijd tegen Douw en de daaropvolgende ontsnappingspoging? Zullen Douw en anderen hem zoeken tot hij dood is? Wie zal Logen vervangen bij de Noordmannen?
- Wat met Hondman en de Unie?
- Waarom heeft Bayaz (samen met z'n leerling Sulfur) de stad Auda verlaten? Zal/kan hij nog tussenkomen in de politiek ginder? Bereidt hij iets voor? Werelddominantie?
- Voert Terez' vader iets in zijn schild?
- enz.

Er worden een aantal zaken opgelost, er zijn onverwachte wendingen (vb. de enorme hand die Bayaz heeft in de gebeurtenissen), het verhaal leest ook nu weer zeer vlot, mede dankzij de zeer goede vertaling. Glokta's gedachten zijn gewoonweg super en je kunt niet anders dan hem daardoor sympathiek vinden (al is hij helemaal geen sympathiek personage), een beetje analoog met Death in Terry Pratchetts verhalen.

En toch... heb ik gemengde gevoelens over dit deel van de trilogie: te veel gaten, te veel onopgeloste vragen. Velen hebben erover geschreven: wat voor einde is dit? Veel te abrupt, veel te onverklarend. Ik kan het alleen maar beamen. Zoveel bladzijden waarin je meegetrokken wordt, meeleeft met sommige personages, en dan krijg je een einde dat niet vager kon zijn. Ik ben ontgoocheld, ja. Als er iemand mij de zaken kan verduidelijken: maak u kenbaar en breng verlichting. De firma dankt u. ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
Laatste deel van 'De eerste wet' en het laatste deel dat vertaald is in het Nederlands. Veel veldslagen en intriges. Logen Negenvinger speelt de hoofdrol, maar ook Bayaz en Glotka spelen een grote rol vooral door hun gekonkel. Het leest gelukkig wel snel en het is ook spannend. Maar toch echt niet mijn ding. ( )
  connie53 | Sep 8, 2020 |
A solid conclusion to the trilogy, Abercrombie did a nice job of bringing this story to a close with just enough loose ends for future additions. Not the place to start reading Abercrombie, but a much more active read than book two. ( )
  kodermike | Jul 31, 2020 |
The long buildup created in the first two books of this series finds its amazing epilogue in this third volume, and in keeping with the style and overall mood of the story does not offer readers an upbeat ending - but that hardly matters as the characters’ journey is so compelling that it works just as well.

War and strife come from many fronts toward the Union and its capital Adua, where most of the action takes place: the Northmen, led by ruthless King Bethod, are moving steadily southward and the Union’s army finds it difficult to contain the barbarians’ forward momentum, despite the help from Bethod’s old enemies Dogman and Logen Ninefinger; the Gurkish are marching from the south to lay siege to Adua, where the sudden death of the king adds a further layer of trouble to a political situation in which complex machinations and back stabbing plots go on regardless of the impending danger.

Logen Ninefingers, together with the Dogman and his other comrades, has chosen to help Colonel West and the Union army in the fight against Bethod, his ultimate goal being to exact bloody revenge against the king of the Northmen, once his friend and now his bitter enemy. Jezal dan Luthar has returned to Adua a changed man, one whose greater desire is for a quiet life together with the woman he loves, but he’s unaware that a very different destiny waits for him in the city he calls home. Superior Glokta finds himself enmeshed in a many-layered web of intrigue in which the political maneuverings for the election of the new king are only the tip of the iceberg as he realizes that his very survival might be at stake. And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, seems to be everywhere, his long reach leaving nothing and no one safe from his mysterious goals…

There is so much that happens in this final novel of the First Law trilogy that certainly takes great skill to keep all the narrative threads and character journeys balanced, and Abercrombie manages that with apparent lack of effort as the situation drives inexorably toward the final showdown: the way the author moves between the various points of view and situations makes for a compulsive read that at times turns into oxygen-depriving anxiety, particularly during battle scenes, or a certain very realistic, very bloody duel where the tension almost transforms into physical discomfort. While the outcome of the various plotlines remains uncertain until the very end and is reached through a series of twists and unexpected surprises, no one truly gets what they wanted or hoped for, as the old maxim about being careful regarding one’s desires shows its accuracy in several circumstances. Truly, no one comes out of this story unscathed, because events either overwhelm them, or change them profoundly, for good or bad: there is less humor in this final installment of the trilogy, even the gallows humor Abercrombie used all throughout the story, which here touches its bleakest moments. And yet it remains just as powerful and fascinating because of the underlying reality of its premise.

As far as characters go, I realized what a sorrowful one Logen Ninefingers is: a man whose destiny seems to lie in endless fights, both because of the nature of the world he lives in and because of his own nature and that of his… alter ego the Bloody Nine, but still a man with enough powers of introspection to understand that this is not a way of life, even as he acknowledges that there could not be a different one for him, no matter how much he might wish for something different.

He could’ve gone far away, and started new, and been whoever he wanted. But he’d tried that once already, and it had done him no good. The past was always right behind him, breathing on his neck.

There is a fascinating dichotomy in Logen: on the surface he’s the epitome of the savage warrior, a man who looks like a brute and who’s able to launch into mindless killing sprees; on the inside he’s gifted with great powers of understanding, of himself and those around him, that drive the ruthless self-analysis with which he recognizes the limited choices his former life left him: either go on with the endless, brutal struggle for survival, or to give in and accept the death he has been cheating for so long with the “still alive” mantra he recites after each bloody encounter.

Jezal dan Luthar is the character who sees the greatest transformation in the course of the story: he begins as a boorish dandy, interested only in drinking, womanizing and looking fashionable and wishing for glory and recognition. Where he partially adjusts his outlook through danger and hardship, he still retains some of his old flightiness until a massive, unexpected change in life shows him that the prestige and appreciation he craved for are only the outward trappings of duty and responsibility and that he needs to grow into the role that fell on him, or be crushed by it. Much as I despised the Jezal of old, his capriciousness and shallowness, I was compelled to pity the man he becomes toward the end, because of the price he has to pay for it, something that reminded me of a very impassioned quote from my beloved Babylon 5, where Londo Mollari says: “When we first met I had no power and all the choices I could ever want. And now I have all the power I could ever want and no choices at all. No choice at all.” Tragic indeed…

As usual I left my very favorite individual for last - Sand dan Glokta. This potentially despicable character is instead the most relatable of them all, a man who was broken in body but not in mind and who has learned the fine art of survival in the most terrible of circumstances. Faithful to the dual nature of Abercrombie’s characters, he lives and breathes cynicism while secretly yearning for some of the joy that circumstances denied him, all the while trying to stay afloat in the poisonous atmosphere of Adua’s political circles.

The one good thing about every step being an ordeal. You soon learn how to tread carefully.

Friends are people one pretends to like in order to make life bearable. Men like us have no need of such indulgences. It is our enemies by which we are measured.

And that duality shows ever more clearly in the most dangerous circumstances, when his survival hangs by a thread and he appears ready to finally let go of the burden of his painfully crippled body, yet he welcomes any unexpected reprieve with phlegmatic relief: in a way I’ve come to believe that his continued survival, while certainly due to his ability to navigate the toxic circles he moves in, comes mostly from his apparent lack of fear for death, outwardly considered as a relief. In a similar way, Glokta’s cynical approach is belied by his kind-hearted interest for the misfortunes of Ardee, his friend Colonel West’s sister, and the way the two of them become close by sharing a penchant for masking their deepest emotions with sarcastically delightful repartees: it’s through those interactions, and the way they affect their shared story, that the author offers the only glimmer of light and hope in the overall grimness of the story - a glimmer that feels both right and well deserved.

I’m glad I have still more books to explore in this world created by Joe Abercrombie, not to mention the upcoming ones in the new Age of Madness series, whose first volume A Little Hatred finally compelled me to read The First Law. This is a harsh, cruel world, granted, but it’s such a compelling one that making the effort to look past the blood and violence to the wonderfully crafted characters that people it becomes no effort at all. ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Jun 19, 2020 |
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Joe Abercrombieprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Borchardt, KirstenÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
García Bercero, BorjaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Pacey, StevenBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.—Paul Gauguin
Last Argument of Kings—Inscribed on his cannons by Louis XIV
Does the devil know he is a devil?—Elizabeth Madox Roberts
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Superior Glokta stood in the hall, and waited. He stretched his twisted neck out to one side and then to the other, hearing the familiar clicks, feeling the familiar cords of pain stretching out through the tangled muscles between his shoulder-blades. Why do I do it, when it always hurts me? Why must we test the pain? Tongue the ulcer, rub the blister, pick the scab?
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The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him - but it's going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm, and there's only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy. It's past time for the Bloody-Nine to come home. With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no-one is safe, and no-one can be trusted. His days with a sword are far behind him. It's a good thing blackmail, threats and torture still work well enough. Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is far too painful, and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too, and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on a man when he least expects it. While the King of the Union lies on his deathbead, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No-one believes that the shadow of war is falling across the very heart of the Union. The First of the Magi has a plan to save the world, as he always does. But there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, after all, than to break the First Law...

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