A Cruel Man Delighting in Flowers

...the mildness to which men ... had yielded was only half of the intoxication of beauty, while the other half ... was of such surpassing and terrible cruelty—the most cruel of men delights himself with a flower—that beauty ... failed quickly of its effect... 

Hermann BrochThe Death of Virgil


Jeremy Davies is made of ink, but don’t dip a feather in him. It tickles. He once painted a fingernail black and no one really noticed. He was disappointed. He’s also an editor, a religious atheist, a liker of strong coffees, a Shakespeare-lover, a political anarchist and someone who rarely has a pen when he needs one. He has been a PhD candidate, a personal trainer, a life model, a bouncer, an infantry soldier and someone who rarely had a pen when he needed one. He has had words published in a variety of places, in a variety of publications, in a variety of forms, in a variety of moments: Canada, Wet Ink, SMS and twelve minutes past three in the afternoon being some of these. His first novel, 'Missing Presumed Undead', will be re-published by Satalyte Publishing in February 2014. A second is on its way.

Before They Are Hanged - Joe Abercrombie This would have been two stars if it weren't for Glokta. He carried ths story for me, and I was often in a state of narrative impatience while reading either of the other two story threads: the West/Threetrees and the Quest.

Abercrombie writes very well, good dialogue and well-rendered exposition, but the plot development and 'honesty' with which he treats his characters is often flawed in this book. Other reviewers have commented along the lines of 'expect the unexpected' - but, once you've divivied the rather obvious political lean in the story, you can pretty much predict what's what. Although the depths to which Ladisla falls becomes absurd. Sometimes, it felt like Abercrombie was Bethod's chief informant, so that you knew, without any question, that the barbarian king was always going to out-guess anything anyone else came up with. I could see the two of them scheming away there. Abercrombie telling him: 'Hey, man, I just wrote those upper class, stick-up-their-arsess, namby-pamby, weakling Union scum into that positon there, on the hill...'

There also seems some rather heavily derivitive scenes here and there: I'll let other readers work them out.

While Glokta continues to shine from the first book, Ninefingers doesn't even seem like the same character. The catch-phrases are consistent, but I couldn't help feeling like he was an imposter. Some brat-pack actor trying to make it stick. The interplay between him and Ferro though is sometimes compelling.

Although I have already purchased #3, I'm putting it on the reading back-burner after this... Although, I'm pretty sure I will end up reading it, just to find out what happens to my favourite Inquisitor.

Currently reading

Lyrical and Critical Essays
Albert Camus
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
Harold Bloom
The Rebel (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
Albert Camus