cover image Half the World

Half the World

Joe Abercrombie. Del Rey, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8041-7842-6

This splendid second installment in the Shattered Sea epic fantasy series (after Half a King) shifts focus from cunning Prince Yarvi—now Father Yarvi—to Thorn Bathu, an ordinary young woman who’s stubbornly determined to become a fighter. Thorn wants to follow in the footsteps of her father, a great warrior, but she must endure not only the pain of training but also prejudice from the master-at-arms. When Thorn’s sword breaks during her final test, it smashes her dreams—and turns her into a murderer. Father Yarvi steps in to save Thorn and give her a place on one of his ships, but soon she realizes she’s become a pawn in his deep, complicated political games. Abercrombie has a knack for building characters with pathos and wit. Both plot and setting are believable, and readers will easily immerse themselves in Thorn and Yarvi’s world. The fast-paced story draws readers along while setting up what promises to be an explosive final showdown. Agent: Robert Kirby, United Agents. (Feb.)