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The Heroes is Joe Abercrombie's fifth novel. It was first published in January 2011 by Gollancz in the UK, with an American edition following from Orbit Books.

Publisher's SynopsisEdit

They say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they’ve brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he’s far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it’s his own.

Prince Calder isn’t interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he’ll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn’t have to fight for it himself.

Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him?

Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail...

Three men. One battle. No Heroes.

Characters Edit

The Union Edit

Lord Marshal Edit

  • Lord Marshal Kroy – commander-in-chief of his Majesty’s armies in the North.
  • Colonel Felnigg – Kroy's second in command
  • Colonel Bremer dan Gorst (POV) – royal observer of the Northern War and disgraced king’s First Guard.
  • Rurgen and Younger – Gorst's servants
  • Bayaz, the First of the Magi – a bald wizard and an influential representative of the Closed Council.
  • Yoru Sulfur – his butler, bodyguard and chief bookkeeper.
  • Denka and Saurizin, members of the university coming with Bayaz

Jalenhorm's division Edit

Mitterick's Division Edit

Meed's Division Edit

Dogman's Division Edit

  • The Dogman – an old companion of Black Dow, now his bitter enemy, fighting with the Union.
  • Red Hat, Dogman's second in command
  • Hardbread – a Named Man of long experience, leading a dozen for the Dogman.
  • Redcrow, carl of hardbread

The North Edit

Black Dow's Division Edit

  • Black Dow – the Protector of the North, or stealer of it, depending on who you ask.
  • Splitfoot – his Second, meaning chief bodyguard and arse-licker.
  • Ishri – his advisor, a sorceress from the Gurkish Empire, and sworn enemy of Bayaz.
  • Caul Shivers – a scarred Named Man with a metal eye, who some call Black Dow’s dog.
  • Curnden Craw (POV) – a Named Man thought of as a straight edge, now leading a dozen for Black Dow.
  • Wonderful – Curnden Craw's long-suffering Second.
  • Whirrun of Bligh – a famous hero from the utmost North, who wields the Father of Swords.
  • Jolly Yon CumberBrack-i-DaynScorry TiptoeAgrickAthroc and Drofd, members of his dozen

Scale's Division Edit

  • Scale – Bethod’s eldest son, now the one of Dow’s five War Chiefs, strong as a bull, with a bull’s brain
  • Pale-as-Snow, second in command and former Bethod War Chief
  • White-Eye Hansul, great warrior and former Bethod's negotiator
  • ‘Prince’ Calder (POV) – Bethod’s younger son, an infamous schemer, temporarily exiled for suggesting peace too.
  • Seff, wife of Calder
  • Deep and Shallow, Calder's "bodyguards"

Caul Reachey's Division Edit

Glama Golden's Division Edit

Cairm Ironhead's Division Edit

Brodd Tenways's Division Edit

  • Brodd Tenways – the most loyal of Dow’s five War Chiefs, ugly as incest.

Stranger-Come-Knocking's Division Edit