I don’t think I’ve seen any mention of Joe Abercrombie‘s books on any Dark Fantasy sites. Not any of the gaming sites anyway. Pity, since I think they’re very good. He’s got a very hard and to-the-point narrative style. Couple that with a good story and interesting characters, and you got a winning concept. I also like the fact that no one in Abercrombie’s books are good or bad. There’s just shades of grey and they’re shifting over time. No main character is safe from death either, and when there’s fighting it’s graphic explosions of very realistic violence. Dark, gory and not the least heroic. Just survival.
Previously, I’ve read the First Law Trilogy, and probably it was those books that turned my attention from vanilla Lord of the Rings-inspired high fantasy, to more gritty and dark vistas. And late medieval to Renaissance style fantasy settings.
Last night I started reading Best Served Cold, which is Abercrombie’s 4th novel. It takes place in the same world as the First Law books, but in another country, slightly reminiscent of late(?) Renaissance Italy. The main character is Monza Murcatto, a most successful mercenary leader, who get’s a little too successful in her employer’s eyes. She is deceived by her friends and her employer, the slimy Grand Duke Orso, and is left for dead, severely injured after a gruesome murder attempt.
Of course, she barely makes it…
…and I suppose the rest of the book is a classic revenge story. That’s about how far I got yesterday.
This, my friends, is perfect inspiration for a dark fantasy campaign set in a Southern European style setting.