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And I besieged Visserine myself for a few months and nearly had it, except that she-devil Mercatto caught me unawares.1

Nicomo Cosca

The Condition of the Defences is the fifth chapter in Before They Are Hanged.

Chapter Summary Edit

Glokta goes to the great outer walls of Dagoska to examine the defences with General Vissbruck. The walls are crumbling. Vissbruck complains that he hasn’t the resources to maintain outer wall, as well as the inner wall, dividing the upper city from the native population. In the distance, they can see the gathering Gurkish horde, which has blocked the city from supply by land. With only 600 soldiers, Glokta asks about other forces in the city, and learns that Carlot dan Eider has engaged a mercenary company under a man named Nicomo Cosca. Vitari seems less than impressed by the name.

Glokta finds the man drunk in a run-down tavern. Cosca regales the Superior with his breadth of experience in siege warfare, although Vitari comment that the vast majority of his experience is in betraying his employer. Regardless, Glokta finds Cosca far more capable than Vissbruck, and his mercenaries could mean the difference between surviving and not.

Glokta ends the day with Korsten dan Vurms, where he asks after the stores of food for the ensuing siege. The Lord Governor’s son has only bad news; while the city has six months of supplies for The Union transplants, but none for the native population. Glokta orders the situation resolved.

Glokta asks each person about the disappearance of Superior Davoust, but still has no clues.

Characters Edit

Introduced Appeared Mentioned
Nicomo Cosca Sand dan Glokta Carlot dan Eider
General Vissbruck Superior Davoust
Practical Shylo Vitari Monza Murcatto
Korsten dan Vurms

Locations and Terms Edit

Dagoska The Union Kanta The Gurkish Empire Battle of Dagoska Visserine

References Edit

  1. For those who’ve not read Best Served Cold, we will meet Monza Murcatto, the Butcher of Caprile, the Snake of Talins, as the main character.


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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