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Benna Murcatto Saves a Life

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You shall ride through the streets of Talins and my people will shower you with flower petals in honour of your many victories. They will cheer far louder for you, I think, than they ever will for my own sons. They will cheer far louder even than they do for me, their rightful lord, to whom they owe so much. They will cheer, in fact, a little too loudly for my taste.

Grand Duke Orso

Benna Murcatto Saves a Life is the first chapter in Best Served Cold.

Chapter Summary Edit

Monza Murcatto, the Captain General of The Thousand Swords mercenary company, rides towards the fortress of Fontezarmo in Talins with her brother Benna. After her latest victory at the High Bank against Duke Salier of Visserine, and the death of Duke Cantain of Borletta, their employer Grand Duke Orso is on the verge of defeating his rivals The League of Eight. As they ride, Monza and Benna make teasing and playful smalltalk all the way.

At the mighty gates of Duke Orso's fortress, they are greeted by Count Foscar, Orso’s youngest son, and General Ganmark. They are led to the Duke’s opulent private study, where Grand Duke Orso himself is finishing up some paperwork with Mauthis, a representative of the banking house Valint & Balk. Also there are Orso's elder son Prince Ario, his bodyguard Gobba, and Monza's second-in-command Faithful Carpi.

Monza fills in Grand Duke Orso on her latest victory. The Years of Blood that have divided Styria are almost at an end; with just one more season of campaigning, Orso will finally be King of all Styria.1 The Duke seems pleased and leads Monza and Benna onto his balcony. However, as they emerge into the sunlight, his expression changes; Monza has become hugely popular amongst the people of Talins, maybe popular enough to usurp his Duchy. As he steps away, Monza catches a glint of metal from the corner of her eye.

Benna is stabbed in the neck by Ario and then run through by Ganmark2, as a garrotte is slipped around Monza's throat by Gobba. However, Monza catches her hand under the wire. As she struggles, Orso and Mauthis watch on impassively, while Foscar flees in horror. When Monza begins to lose consciousness, Carpi moves to finish her off. With the last of her strength, Monza stomps down on Gobba’s foot, throwing Carpi’s blade off-mark into her lower ribs. The struggle ends with Monza being bungled over the balcony, following her brother, to the ground far below. She lands on Benna’s corpse which saves her life for now, and lay there at the bottom of the hill, mangled and broken until she finally loses consciousness.3

Characters Edit

Introduced Appeared Mentioned
Monza Murcatto Grand Duke Orso Grand Duke Salier
Benna Murcatto Mauthis Grand Duke Cantain
Count Foscar
General Ganmark
Prince Ario
Gobba
Faithful Carpi

Locations and Terms Edit

Talins The Thousand Swords Borletta Fontezarmo Visserine Styria
Valint & Balk The League of Eight

References Edit

  1. In The First Law trilogy, Abercrombie introduced us very gradually to his backdrop of mounting political tension. Here we get straight into it with a huge dump of information about the background conflict right from the get go. Abercrombie is clearly aiming at a faster, more fluid and flowingly pace.
  2. Although Benna Murcatto dies in chapter 1, his influence and impact on the story lingers throughout the book.
  3. Spoiler alert! Monza isn't dead.


Chapters in The First Law
The Blade Itself

Part 1

Prologue: The End ▪ 1. The Survivors ▪ 2. Questions ▪ 3. No Choice at All ▪ 4. Playing With Knives ▪ 5. Teeth and Fingers ▪ 6. The Wide and Barren North ▪ 7. Fencing Practice ▪ 8. The Morning Ritual ▪ 9. First of the Magi ▪ 10. The Good Man ▪ 11. On the List ▪ 12. An Offer and a Gift ▪ 13. The King of the Northmen ▪ 14. A Road Between Two Dentists ▪ 15. Flatheads ▪ 16. The Course of True Love ▪ 15. How Dogs are Trained ▪ 16. Tea and Vengeance
The Blade Itself

Part 2

▪ 17. What Freedom Looks Like ▪ 18. The King’s Justice ▪ 19. Means of Escape ▪ 20. Three Signs ▪ 21. The Theatrical Outfitter’s ▪ 22. Barbarians at the Gate ▪ 23. Next ▪ 24. Better than Death ▪ 25. Sore Thumb ▪ 26. Questions ▪ 27. Nobility ▪ 28. Dark Work ▪ 29. Words and Dust ▪ 30. The Remarkable Talents of Brother Longfoot ▪ 31. Her Kind Fight Everything ▪ 32. She Loves Me ... Not ▪ 33. The Seed ▪ 34. Never Bet Against a Magus ▪ 35. The Ideal Audience ▪ 36. The House of the Maker ▪ 37. Nobody’s Dog ▪ 38. Each Man Worships Himself ▪ 39. Old Friends ▪ 40. Back to the Mud ▪ 41. Misery ▪ 42. The Bloody-Nine ▪ 43. The Tools we Have
Before They Are Hanged

Part 1

▪ 1. The Great Leveler ▪ 2. Best Laid Plans ▪ 3. Questions ▪ 4. The Wounds of the Past ▪ 5. The Condition of the Defences ▪ 6. The Thing About Trust ▪ 7. Allies ▪ 8. Campfire Politics ▪ 9. Small Crimes ▪ 10. Rain ▪ 11. Bloody Company ▪ 12. Long Shadows ▪ 13. And next… My Gold ▪ 14. Fear ▪ 15. One Hundred Words ▪ 16. The Blind Lead the Blind ▪ 17. Prince Ladisla’s Stratagem ▪ 18. Until Sunset ▪ 19. Long Odds ▪ 20. The Road to Victory ▪ 21. Necessary Evils ▪ 22. Among the Stones ▪ 23. The Fruits of Boldness ▪ 24. One for Dinner ▪ 25. One of Them
Before They Are Hanged

Part 2

▪ 26. Heading North ▪ 27. Scant Mercy ▪ 28. So This is Pain ▪ 29. One Step at a Time ▪ 30. The Rest is Wasted Breath ▪ 31. A Matter of Time ▪ 32. Scars ▪ 33. Furious ▪ 34. To the Last Man ▪ 35. Jewel of Cities ▪ 36. Luck ▪ 37. Beneath the Ruins ▪ 38. No Good for Each Other ▪ 39. The Hero’s Welcome ▪ 40. Cold Comfort ▪ 41. The High Places ▪ 42. Coming Over ▪ 43. Cheap at the Price ▪ 44. To the Edge of the World ▪ 45. Before the Storm ▪ 46. Questions ▪ 47. Holding the Line ▪ 48. A Fitting Punishment ▪ 49. The Abode of Stones ▪ 50. Back to the Mud
Last Argument of Kings

Part 1

▪ 1. The Poison Trade ▪ 2. Being Chief ▪ 3. This Noble Business ▪ 4. The New Man ▪ 5. Feeding Time ▪ 6. So Much In Common ▪ 7. Honesty ▪ 8. Ghosts ▪ 9. Bad Debts ▪ 10. A Ragged Multitude ▪ 11. Beloved Of The Moon ▪ 12. Flowers And Plaudits ▪ 13. Too Many Knives ▪ 14. Best Of Enemies ▪ 15. Fortunes Of War ▪ 16. The Kingmaker ▪ 17. The Trap ▪ 18. Horrible Old Men ▪ 19. Prepared For The Worst ▪ 20. The Habit Of Command ▪ 21. The First Day ▪ 22. Such Sweet Sorrow ▪ 23. Picked Up A Shadow ▪ 24. Questions ▪ 25. The Fourth Day ▪ 26. The Perfect Couple ▪ 27. The Seventh Day ▪ 28. Too Many Masters ▪ 29. Sweet Victory ▪ 30. Rude Awakenings
Last Argument of Kings

Part 2

▪ 31. The Number Of The Dead ▪ 32. Leaves On The Water ▪ 33. Authority ▪ 34. The Circle ▪ 35. Greater Good ▪ 36. Skarling’s Chair ▪ 37. Leadership ▪ 38. A Rock And A Hard Place ▪ 39. Charity ▪ 40. Better Left Buried ▪ 41. Tomorrow’s Hero ▪ 42. Nightfall ▪ 43. Questions ▪ 44. The Day Of Judgement ▪ 45. Sacrifices ▪ 46. Open The Box ▪ 47. Dark Paths ▪ 48. Reckoning ▪ 49. After The Rains ▪ 50. Answers ▪ 51. The Wounded ▪ 52. Patriotic Duties ▪ 53. The First Law ▪ 54. Tea And Threats ▪ 55. Behind The Throne ▪ 56. Good Men, Evil Men ▪ 57. Not What You Wanted ▪ 58. Loose Ends ▪ 59. The Beginning
Best Served Cold ▪ 1. Benna Murcatto Saves a Life ▪ 2. PART I: TALINS ▪ 3. Talins Chapters 1 ▪ 4. Talins Chapters 2 ▪ 5. Talins Chapters 3 ▪ 6. PART II: WESTPORT ▪ 7. Westport Chapters 1 ▪ 8. Westport Chapters 2 ▪ 9. Westport Chapters 3 ▪ 10. Westport Chapters 4 ▪ 11. PART III: SIPANI ▪ 12. Sipani Chapters 1 ▪ 13. Sipani Chapters 2 ▪ 14. Sipani Chapters 3 ▪ 15. Sipani Chapters 4 ▪ 16. PART IV: VISSERINE ▪ 17. Visserine Chapters 1 ▪ 18. Visserine Chapters 2 ▪ 19. Visserine Chapters 3 ▪ 20. Visserine Chapters 4 ▪ 21. Visserine Chapters 5 ▪ 22. Visserine Chapters 6 ▪ 23. PART V: PURANTI ▪ 24. Puranti Chapters 1 ▪ 25. Puranti Chapters 2 ▪ 26. Puranti Chapters 3 ▪ 27. Puranti Chapters 4 ▪ 28. Puranti Chapters 5 ▪ 29. PART VI: OSPRIA ▪ 30. Ospria Chapters 1 ▪ 31. Ospria Chapters 2 ▪ 32. Ospria Chapters 3 ▪ 33. Ospria Chapters 4 ▪ 34. PART VII: TALINS ▪ 35. Talins Again Chapters 1 ▪ 36. Talins Again Chapters 2 ▪ 37. Talins Again Chapters 3 ▪ 38. Talins Again Chapters 4 ▪ 39. Talins Again Chapters 5

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