Joe Abercrombie. The Fool Jobs. (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 5.)

Originally in : Swords and Dark Magic – the New Sword and Sorcery.

Clearly not a story that I would normally read, but I do tend to trust Strahan’s fantasy choices in this volume. I did read a Robert E. Howard Conan novel/fixup back in the 1970s!

Abercrombie posits (I think) a near-future post-something world, with a band of warriors on a quest. Except that the band of warriors is in fact a band of ne-er-do-wells who rub each other up the wrong way, use bad language, and generally are just a long way from the clean cut Cimmerian. They have a job to do, a job to order – taking possession of an item that belongs to a small community. There’s no nobility on offer, an almost police-procedural amount of detail in the raid, with the kind of detail about the group members you get in a novel.

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