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Corvinus85

The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie [SPOILER THREAD]

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Discuss here all the spoilery stuff until everyone has had a chance to read the book.

Edited by Corvinus85

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My main feeling at the end of the book is that Book 3 is clearly not going to be the end of the world. There's too much stuff to be addressed and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a final trilogy to wrap things up, perhaps after a couple more standalones.

The real question is where Book 3 goes. Bayaz is now being directly opposed by a whole load of people and it'll be interesting to see if he crushes them like bugs or if they are able to inflict more damage on him. We get that indication that there are limits on Bayaz's and the Eaters' powers that could be overcome by non-magicians, but not really enough information on how that could be done on a large scale.

Book 3 I think will leave the Union in a very precarious position, with a massive armed insurrection taking place right across Midderland just after Midderland and Angland's armies are in a very weakened state. I can see the North invading Angland again (its army is pretty much gone) and maybe Styria being tempted to invade Midderland or, at the very least, reclaim Westport.

Edited by Werthead

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I won't be reading Wert's post until I'm done the book. I'm about halfway through now. But just some thoughts so far (spoilers till about page 250):

Spoiler

I'm enjoying the book a lot, but I think it's pretty weird structurally. The Vick plotline seemed really important and was my favourite part of the first 100 pages; now she hasn't appeared in the last 150. Broad has also been a non-entity so far, though that may be about to change. Considering how much of this book is about class tension, you'd think you would want more of the lower class perspectives, not fewer. Though I did just read one of Abercrombie's trademark "shifting-POV" chapters which was excellent and addressed that concern a little.

I like where the plot is heading overall, with Leo's encroaching civil war helped by the Northmen, but I think it needed more set-up. Everyone comes on board very quickly, from Savine to Rikk (though I know she's plotting something), and I just can't believe anyone would think it's a good idea to get Stour involved, especially since he continues to be so one-dimensionally evil. But again, enjoying it, and looking forward to seeing where the second half goes.

Edit with more thoughts at around page 315:

Spoiler

Vick and Broad are back in the book! This is good. Leo works in small doses, but I think I was having trouble with second quarter of the novel because it seemed like he had taken over the narrative. I loved the chapter in Sipani; the dialogue between Jappo and Orso was the best and funniest in the book so far.

 

Edited by Caligula_K3

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Congratulations to all those who correctly guessed the identity of The Weaver.  

A stratagem worth of Colonel Vedell in Power Play.

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p. 218 Savine, you are one cold-hearted woman.  A nice shout out to a bit of classical history.  Lord Barezin shares some unsavoury habits with Scipio Nasica.  In truth, the planned revolt is a piece of utter selfishness and folly.  Unlike the Breakers, these people don't really have grievances, aside from pique.

 

Edited by SeanF

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I'm starting to think Orso actually has the makings of a good king.  He's not a monster, but he is hard, as he has to be.  I think I can guess the identity of "A Friend" who sent him the message from the North.  And, he handles Jappo Murcatto very shrewdly.  It seems the best leaders are those who are satisfied with what they have, like Orso, Jappo, Rikke, but prepared to fight ruthlessly to defend it.

The worst are those who grab for more, like Stour, Savine, or who are so drunk on glory that others manipulate them, like Leo.

Edited by SeanF

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Got it yesterday.  Finished it.  Loved it.  I skipped pages for the final battle.  I know battles are his thing but if you've read one Joe Abercrombie battle... 

On 9/12/2020 at 9:44 AM, Werthead said:

The real question is where Book 3 goes. Bayaz is now being directly opposed by a whole load of people and it'll be interesting to see if he crushes them like bugs or if they are able to inflict more damage on him. We get that indication that there are limits on Bayaz's and the Eaters' powers that could be overcome by non-magicians, but not really enough information on how that could be done on a large scale.

Yup. There's not a lot here for those who want more advancement of the story begun in the First Law.  But there are some rare happy endings.  For Queen Terez, for the Dogman (Joe demonstrated remarkable restraint and let him die peacefully), for Jonas Clover. 

I think The Beautiful Machine will focus on the French Revolution coming to the Union.  That and the bloody contest for Skarling's chair in the North (I fear for our girl Rikke).  The beautiful machine may in fact be a reference to the guillotine (we have seen numerous demonstrations that the traditional method of hanging doesn't work particularly well). 

One question that bugged me.  Yoru Sulfur could have crushed Leo and Savine like bugs before they embarked.  There is nothing to indicate he knows that Zuri is an Eater (as we all suspect). Why didn't he?  Personal safety? Or because he wanted Jezal to mortgage himself to the hilt to Valint and Balk? Maybe both?

Actually the other thing that bugged me is what the hell Zuri is up to.  This is the slowest reveal in the history of reveals.  Tell us what happened to Khalul already, Joe!  Where has he gone? Is he dead?

Broader character questions: 

1.  What does the future hold for Savine and her child? She's been drinking, riding, shot and pearl-dusting while pregnant so the kid may have fetal disabilities or she may have a stillbirth. 

2.  I suspect Orso has transitioned from Prince Hal to Henry V only for him to become this season's Louis XVI.  

3.  Did we know Victarine implicated her brother (if we had I had forgotten)?  As this generation's Glokta she may be my favourite character but I still dunno what the future holds for her.  Again and again she has come to the knowledge that Bayaz is the hidden ruler.  What does she do with it?  Become his puppet and get her statute on the Agriont?

4.  As for Leo dan Brock what is a lion without his paws eh?  At least with George you knew (sort of) that Jamie was on a character growth arc.  Bet Joe's just going to leave him to rot and dwindle in a prison until the fall of the Bastille moment.  But hard to tell what he's going to do if there's a revolution. 

Edited by Gaston de Foix

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1 hour ago, Gaston de Foix said:

Got it yesterday.  Finished it.  Loved it.  I skipped pages for the final battle.  I know battles are this thing but If you've read one Joe Abercrombie battle... 

Yup. There's not a lot here for those who want more advancement of the story begun in the First Law.  But there are some (rare) happy endings.  For Queen Terez, for the Dogman (Joe demonstrated remarkable restraint and let him die peacefully), for Jonas Clover. 

I think Book 3 (The Beautiful Machine) will focus on the French Revolution coming to the Union.  That and the bloody contest for Skarling's chair in the North (I fear for our girl Rikke).  The beautiful machine may in fact be a reference to the guillotine (we have seen numerous demonstrations that the traditional method of hanging doesn't work particularly well). 

One question that bugged me.  Yoru Sulfur could have crushed Leo and Savine like bugs before they embarked.  There is nothing to indicate he knows that Zuri is an Eater (as we all suspect). Why didn't he?  Personal safety? Or he because he wanted Jezal to mortgage himself to the hilt to Valint and Balk? Maybe both?

Actually the other thing we bugged me is what the hell Zuri is up to.  This is the slowest reveal in the history of reveals.  Tell us what happened to Khalul already, Joe!  Where has he gone? Is he dead?

Broader character questions: 

1.  What does the future hold for Savine and her child? She's been drinking, riding, shot and pearl-dusting while pregnant so the kid may have fetal disabilities or she may have a stillbirth. 

2.  I suspect Orso has transitioned from Prince Hal to Henry V only for him to become this season's Louis XVI.  

3.  Did we know Victarine implicated her brother (if we had I had forgotten).  As this generation's Glokta she may be my favourite character but I still dunno what the future holds for her.  Again and again she has come to the knowledge that Bayaz is the hidden ruler.  What does she do with it?  Become his puppet and get her statute on the Agriont?

4.  As for Leo dan Brock what is a lion without his paws eh?  At least with George you knew (sort of) that Jamie was on a character growth arc.  Bet Joe's just going to leave him to rot and dwindle in a prison until the fall of the Bastille moment.  But hard to tell what he's going to do if there's a revolution. 

I think he's too hard-nosed now, to be Louis XVI.  I could see him more as a Napoleon (domestically) offering reform, but prepared to dish out a whiff of grapeshot if he has to.

Savine and Leo are the pair I'm becoming least impressed by.  The rest may do awful things, but they're doing what they have to survive.  But, they chose to launch a hare-brained war, when they had so much already.

Edited by SeanF

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

I think he's too hard-nosed now, to be Louis XVI.  I could see him more as a Napoleon (domestically) offering reform, but prepared to dish out a whiff of grapeshot if he has to.

Savine and Leo are the pair I'm becoming least impressed by.  The rest may do awful things, but they're doing what they have to survive.  But, they chose to launch a hare-brained war, when they had so much already.

He's going to crushed like an insect between the mortar and pestle that are Bayaz and Pike//Weaver.  Napoleon was the consummate military man.  We have no evidence Orso has developed military skills.  He's skilled at manipulation, sure but I doubt that saves his hide.  He's totally mortgaged himself to Valint and Balk. And he has no real power base. 

100% agree with you re Leo and Savine. 

I also don't see much evidence for Wert's claim that Bayaz has numerous opponents.  The only hidden knife that has a chance against him are the Eaters.  Btw, does anyone have any speculation for what he was doing in the West?

Edited by Gaston de Foix

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There's a good video interview here with Joe where he says he based Leo on Henry "Hotspur" Percy and Orso on Henry V.

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Had a great time reading the book. My thoughts:

Things I loved:

  • As always, characterization is one of Joe's strongest points, with each of the protagonists having a clearly distinct voice. All of them end the book being much more despicable persons that they were at the start of book one, and yet, you stil get attached to them.

  • It was great to widen the scope of the trilogy and go to Styria for a few chapters. Leo and Orsos' trip to Sipani included some of the best chapters of the book. Gorst at Cardotti's, Friendly's cameo, the negotiations with Jappo, the revelation that he is Shiver's son, Leo discovering Jurand and Glaward,... And the reunion of Terez and Shelere was really sweet, and it may be the closest thing to a happy ending we may get in the trilogy.

  • The final battle was superb. With just a few chapters, we had a very good description of what was happening on three different fronts. Even the multi-pov chapters felt different from the ones in The Heroes.

Things I disliked:

  • Broad is a well-written character, but I find his chapters boring. His thoughts are plain, humorless, and without any interesting insights. And we've already seen Joe doing the story of a well-intentioned veteran saying that he'd had enough of violence but feels attracted to it and can't help but putting himself in violent situations. Provided there's not something significant for him to do in the third book, I think that the trilogy could have done without the character.
  • I don't feel that it's adequately explained why Lord Isher and the rest hurried to Leo as the figurehead for her rebellion. They didn't knew him personally, and he had just married the daughter of their arch-enemy. One would have expected that they would be at least very skeptical and approach him cautiously. Instead, they reveal to him their whole plan in the first meeting, with the three lords gambling their lives on Leo's loyalty to his father-in-law. The whole conspiracy seemed too careless and rushed to me.

  • Another thing that perhaps could have benefited of a slower development is Savine's estrangement from Glokta and Orso. A harsh confrontation with her father, and more humiliations from Orso such as the one in the Solar Society, would have given more justification to Savine's later eagerness to fight the ones he had loved.

  • I think bringing back Caurib was not merited at all. I don't see what Joe was going for here, because any randomly named witch would have worked just as well, and her appearance wouldn't rise up the question of how the hell the Shanka can bring back a dead person by sewing up the pieces of her head.

  • Also, not a fan of including the Shanka in the first Clover chapter, and forgetting about them for the rest of the book.

  • Sometimes I feel that Joe restricts his worldbuilding to a very limited pool of given items. For instance, it seems as if in its 600 years of history the Union has only been ruled by Harod, Arnaut and Casimir (they're always the only ones mentioned, be it the statues of the Kingsway, the stained-glass windows in the Lord's Round, or the paintings at the palace). Or that only districts of Adua are the Agriont, the Three Farms and the Arches.
  • It seems that the relationship between Savine and Orso is a widely spread rumour in Adua, as per Selest dan Heugen's comments. If so, one would expect that there would be tons of serious gossip about the paternity of Savine's child. [Savine seems to be sure that it's Leo's, and if, as it seems to be, she and Orso didn't have sex after Valbeck it's a sure thing]. I'm aware that this can still be a plot point during the next book, but I think that it's something that almost every character should have considered by now.

Errors?

  • Shivers says that he came to Uffrith when Rikke was a baby (You sucked goat's milk from a cloth, in my arms. Your father said I was the least likely nursemaid he ever saw.). But Rikke is 22, so she would have been born about one year before The Heroes. And in Red Country, when Rikke would be a seven year old girl, Shivers appears to still be serving Black Calder.

  • Muslan (the Gurkish engineer from the first Little People chapter) says that he arrived at the Union two decades ago. He also says that after the Prophet vanished, the priests had declared him an heretic forcing him to flee. That would place Khalul's disappearance 20 years ago, right after The Heroes. If so, I'm not sure it's reasonable that such a huge event wasn't mentioned in Red Country (with ex-priest Temple as a main POV, and with the characters of Ashjid, Majud and Jubair all being believers).

  • In this same section, Muslan's city is spelled both as "Ul-Suffayn" and "Ul-Saffayn". Amusingly, the city appears in the map from Sharp Ends with yet a third spelling: "Ul-Safayn".

Random thoughts

  • If I'm not missing any, the visions of Rikke that still have not materialized are: the Owl eating Lamb/Orso, folk falling from a high tower, and a great door open with an empty room on the other side. No idea on who the Owl may be, but the other two prophecies make me think of the House of the Maker.

  • In her vision in ALH, Rikke saw "a bald weaver with a purse that never emptied". Pyke is not bald, and nor particularly rich. Not to mention that he has more distinct features that one would expect to be more noticeable. I'm suspecting that we still don't know the true Weaver.

  • Shenkt's full name is rendered as Casamir dan Shenkt, suggesting that he was once a nobleman of the Union. His identity is also publicly known, so he is not the King Casamir of old as some had theorized.

  • I wonder what is left for Leo and Savine to do in the next book. Particularly Leo, who is supposed to spend the rest of his life in prison, and even if he's somehow freed he has lost a leg and an arm.
  • It still hasn't been revealed who was the boy who accompanied Black Calder in Clover's first chapter at ALH.

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12 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

 But there are some rare happy endings.  For Queen Terez, for the Dogman (Joe demonstrated remarkable restraint and let him die peacefully), for Jonas Clover.

One could almost say that Lord Grimdark is turning soft with age...

12 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

I think The Beautiful Machine will focus on the French Revolution coming to the Union.  That and the bloody contest for Skarling's chair in the North (I fear for our girl Rikke).  The beautiful machine may in fact be a reference to the guillotine (we have seen numerous demonstrations that the traditional method of hanging doesn't work particularly well).

The title of the third book was changed to "The Wisdom of the Crowds". But I think you are spot on in your predictions.

12 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

3.  Did we know Victarine implicated her brother (if we had I had forgotten)? 

No, we didn't. It has been revealed this book.

12 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

4.  As for Leo dan Brock what is a lion without his paws eh?  At least with George you knew (sort of) that Jamie was on a character growth arc.  Bet Joe's just going to leave him to rot and dwindle in a prison until the fall of the Bastille moment.  But hard to tell what he's going to do if there's a revolution. 

It would make sense for Leo to become a figurehead for the Breakers. He is loved by the commoners, he improved the working conditions in Angland, and it would be very easy to retroactively retell his rebellion as an attempt to replace the Closed Council by someone more favorable to the common man. But I find it hard to imagine why he would go for it.

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currently reading, ignoring all the other posts in this thread til it's done but, I just had to run here and quote this

Quote

“Oh, Bayaz could have locked me in the House of the Maker and I’d still have found a way to attend!”

Abercrombie, Joe. The Trouble with Peace: 2 (The Age of Madness) (p. 142). Orbit. Kindle Edition. 

SHE'S DA MAKERS DAUGHTER AINT SHE

 

Quote

“The gates shall be laid wide and Euz shall come again! And all shall be set right! You hear? A Great Change is—”

Abercrombie, Joe. The Trouble with Peace: 2 (The Age of Madness) (p. 273). Orbit. Kindle Edition. 

Just got to this point.  Eegads, it seems the Great Change isn't just a social revolution, it's some kind of attempt to open the gates of Hell and let devils like Euz back into the world?  The Bald Weaver doesn't seem like Bayaz to me, but perhaps he's another one the Magi or even that missing son of Euz.

Edited by ير بال

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3 hours ago, ير بال said:

currently reading, ignoring all the other posts in this thread til it's done but, I just had to run here and quote this

SHE'S DA MAKERS DAUGHTER AINT SHE

 

Just got to this point.  Eegads, it seems the Great Change isn't just a social revolution, it's some kind of attempt to open the gates of Hell and let devils like Euz back into the world?  The Bald Weaver doesn't seem like Bayaz to me, but perhaps he's another one the Magi or even that missing son of Euz.

Those are both interesting suggestions.

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Book's done.  So the Weaver was Pike eh?

But that doesn't seem to comport with the one dude's statement that the Great Change is mystical in nature?  So was that criminal just babbling or is there someone behind Pike?

7 hours ago, The hairy bear said:
  • Shenkt's full name is rendered as Casamir dan Shenkt, suggesting that he was once a nobleman of the Union. His identity is also publicly known, so he is not the King Casamir of old as some had theorized.

I don't think that that necessarily follows.  We don't know whether that's his real name or whether Casamir's full name is known to history.

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1 hour ago, jurble said:

I don't think that that necessarily follows.  We don't know whether that's his real name or whether Casamir's full name is known to history.

Casamir was a Union king from the same dynasty than Guslav V, so his surname would be widely known.

I guess he could have made up the name... but why would he use a noble name? Wouldn't the real Shenkts complain that an assassin usurps their lineage? What would he gain from passing for a noble?

 

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Great fun as always.

As per my earlier comment, I have scant sympathy for Leo.  He is clearly far too stupid for the position of responsibility which he holds.  His stupidity got thousands of good men killed, at a time when the Union is short of manpower.

I have no more sympathy for Savine, who has everything, and still wants more.  She reminds me of Cersei.  Cunning and ruthless, but devoid of morality, and unable to appreciate that sometimes, the ethical course of action is the sensible one.

Rikke, well, she surprised me, but I admire her.  Staying out of Leo's war was very sensible, and her coup d'état at Carleon was perfect.  Lutwark would surely approve, given his view that a well-organised coup should be almost bloodless at the point of flagrante delicto.

Orso, as I say, has the makings of a good king.

Vik is highly competent.  I'm not sure where she and Pike go from here.  Does Pike want to destroy everything, or is he more reform-minded.

Broad, well, he just does what he has to, to survive.

Clover is as much a swine as ever.  But, his betrayal of Stour Nightfall, a man as stupid as Leo but far nastier, was brilliant.

Terez?  This being Joe Abercrombie, no doubt we'll learn that Shalere was in the pay of an enemy and opened her throat.

 

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10 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

 

  • I don't feel that it's adequately explained why Lord Isher and the rest hurried to Leo as the figurehead for her rebellion. They didn't knew him personally, and he had just married the daughter of their arch-enemy. One would have expected that they would be at least very skeptical and approach him cautiously. Instead, they reveal to him their whole plan in the first meeting, with the three lords gambling their lives on Leo's loyalty to his father-in-law. The whole conspiracy seemed too careless and rushed to me.
  • Another thing that perhaps could have benefited of a slower development is Savine's estrangement from Glokta and Orso. A harsh confrontation with her father, and more humiliations from Orso such as the one in the Solar Society, would have given more justification to Savine's later eagerness to fight the ones he had loved.

Random thoughts

  • If I'm not missing any, the visions of Rikke that still have not materialized are: the Owl eating Lamb/Orso, folk falling from a high tower, and a great door open with an empty room on the other side. No idea on who the Owl may be, but the other two prophecies make me think of the House of the Maker.
  • In her vision in ALH, Rikke saw "a bald weaver with a purse that never emptied". Pyke is not bald, and nor particularly rich. Not to mention that he has more distinct features that one would expect to be more noticeable. I'm suspecting that we still don't know the true Weaver.
  • I wonder what is left for Leo and Savine to do in the next book. Particularly Leo, who is supposed to spend the rest of his life in prison, and even if he's somehow freed he has lost a leg and an arm.

Great thoughts.  I agree with almost everything so let me focus on my quibbles/reactions: 

  • The hurried and incompetent rebellion has some historic verisimilitude.  A lot of treasonous plots in English history were head-scratchingly poorly organized and doomed to fail and did - the Monmouth rebellion for example.  I think Isher and the nobles needed Leo's name and armies.  Without him, no rebellion.  I also think at this point Glokta's physical condition translated in the collective imagination as a no longer feared force in the Union.  
  • I think Glokta's method of parenting has been to make his daughter ruthlessly independent.  And her whole life has been spent in the pursuit of selfish gratification. Still, Idk about you but  I was weirded out by those moments when she was fantasizing about abandoning/killing her father.  Agree 100% about the Orso part though.  This is a man she loved who proposed to her and her half-brother to boot and she was happy to have him put to death? If Leo's rebellion succeeded she knew the whole royal family had to die. Savine is basically Cersei minus the compassion.  
  • Thanks for compiling the visions.  I think Rikke's vision about the bald weaver is a vision of Bayaz.  Bayaz is metaphorically the weaver behind the scene and obviously is very very rich.  I had also interpreted that to mean Bayaz is the Weaver but I think insofar as there is a character called the "Weaver" it's Pike.  
  • I think if we are in a French revolution scenario then these incidental differences between characters will be swept away between the ancien regime (of which all of them are members) and revolutionaries.  I think the best they can hope to do is survive. 

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