The Wisdom Of Crowds (The Age Of Madness book 3) by Joe Abercrombie (book review).

Sadly, ‘The Wisdom Of Crowds’ is the last of ‘The Age Of Madness’ trilogy and we will see where the chess pieces end up at the end of another epic story. Don’t read this if you haven’t read the previous two books. If you have tears for any of your favourites prepare to shed them.

The failed revolution lead by the ‘Young Lion’ Leo Brock sees him badly wounded with life-changing injuries and imprisoned by King Orso. His wife, Savine, heavily pregnant is also jailed and almost ready to pop. Savine’s used to being a user but it looks like if she’s to gain redemption she needs to become a giver. King Orso is on top of the world except he isn’t. He’s lost Savine but regained his kingdom, hasn’t he?

Just when you think this is how it’s going the Breakers and Burners take control and it all goes down the probably outside privy. The people are in control but this is mostly in the form of the Judge, a woman who has no boundaries and has no care for the upper classes or in fact anyone. She’s happy to kill them all although she decided to keep former King Orso in a cage and let him witness the full horror of the revolution.

It’s not easy to discuss this book without referring to the bloodbaths of previous revolution such as the French in the 18th century. Thing of that and add some bells and whistles because what happens next is not pretty.

Meanwhile, Rikke, who has drawn up the drawbridge to her own kingdom, has to make some harsh decisions. It really is grim up north but you go, girl. If this ever gets televised, then I’m pretty sure they will be queuing to get that the Long Eye tattoo on the face that sets this woman apart. There is definitely some work here for Rose Leslie (‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘The Good Fight’, ‘Vigil’) to get her teeth into.

Apart from these key players, there are others that maybe reflect where we might stand in this struggle. These are the ones whose story is not often told in the history books, the compromises the last stands, fear and the deaths.

This is a violent political book, no escaping that. It demands a reread once all three books are in your hands, these characters breathe, until they don’t. After all, you need to learn from history to avoid making the same mistakes. Most of the characters in the book missed that lesson out. Those that paid attention, survived.

Sue Davies

September 2021

(pub: Gollancz. 518 page hardback. Price: £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-575-09196-0)

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