“Best Served Cold” is set in the world introduced by “The First Law” trilogy, though it is not part of that story line. Several characters do return from those books. While it would be best to read this after the trilogy, it is a stand alone novel. This novel is written in the third person.
The primary character is Monxcarro “Monza” Murcatto. She is a mercenary and leader of the 1000 Swords. After leading them to another victory she, along with her younger brother Benna, goes to see her employer, Duke Orso. They seem to be well received, but then Orso and the other six men with him turn on Monza and brother. She and Benna are stabbed more than once, then thrown over a balcony to fall into the forest far below (no real spoiler as this all occurs in the first 30 pages).
Benna is dead, killed at the hands of Orso and his close followers. Monza is near death and her body is severely broken. She awakens to find most of her broken bones on the mend, brought back by a mysterious man she had never seen before. She swears she will revenge the uncalled for death of her little brother and the assault to herself.
She sets out on a quest to find each of the seven she feels were responsible for the assassination, her heart set on seeing each of them die. Along the way she gathers a small group, some of whom are familiar from the trilogy – Caul Shivers, Nicomo Cosca and Shylo Vitari – as well as some new characters. Monza leads them battling across Styria, leaving bodies and chaos in her wake. You can see some of the characters change as the long bloody road stretches out behind them.
This is a fantasy novel which is full of intrigue, bloody battles and unexpected plot turns. This is a fast paced read – I finished the 640 pages in 21.5 hours. This is the fifth novel of Mr. Abercrombie’s that I have read, and I have loved all of them. “Best Served Cold” is a dark story as the entire focus is on Monza’s revenge, and the body count rises far higher than seven in her zealous pursuit of her victims. I would definitely rate this book R as there is Mature Language, Mature Situations and Bloody Violence. I give this book a 5 out of 5.
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