Overview (No Spoilers):
The Trouble with Peace contains a little bit of everything from scheming and blind ambitions to battles and betrayals, oh so many betrayals. Picking back up in the aftermath of King Jezal’s untimely death, Orso struggles to come to terms with both Savine’s rejection and his new responsibilities as King. With the shift in power, conspirators seize the opportunity to set their own plans into motion to better their stations. From here the stakes only escalate as familiar characters are pushed and pulled into the fray.
Throughout The Trouble with Peace, Abercrombie is building and maneuvering pawns into position for a massive battle of epic proportions. The pawns all conveniently seemed to fall into place, with the players and their motivations clearly established and outlined. Along for the ride, I was already anticipating the battles and exchanges that would obviously occur based on foreshadowing. And then the foundation delightfully unraveled in the most unexpected ways, with series of secrets and revelations coming to light, setting quite the stage for the third installment of The Age of Madness.
Abercrombie’s worldbuilding and storytelling are positively brilliant, but his characters might be my favorite aspect of his novels. The main characters, Leo, Rikke, Savine and Orso are complex and generally fascinating, but it is the supporting cast that has captured my attention completely. Clover has to be my favorite character, with his many pieces of advice that often break with the stereotypical warrior mold, but are rooted in self preservation. Rikke builds herself up with her own sidekicks, Isern and Shivers, whose unique personalities so compliment each other. Of the main characters, Rikke and Orso undergo the biggest evolutions, as both characters harden in the face of impossible situations. Orso flourishes in the face of rebellion, while a heartbreaking death and the overwhelming power of her long eye forces Rikke to plot and scheme for her and her protectorate’s survival in the face of wolves.
Overall, The Trouble with Peace ended with a whole series of unexpected twists and turns but the story as a whole is just as entertaining with characters who shine, even in the most precarious of situations.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- I wanted so badly for Clover to leave Stour to go to Rikke’s side. When it actually happened I couldn’t help but be shocked I didn’t see that betrayal happening sooner. To be fair, I didn’t see a lot of the twists coming in this book, especially Rikke betraying Leo.
- Can Rikke still see the future with her one eye? Or is she riding on her reputation?
- How delighted was Pike to have Broad show up in Valbeck to arm his Breakers and Burners?
- How upset were the Breakers and Burners that Pike hung so many of them in the last book?
- Something seemed off about Pike throughout this book, but I in no way saw it coming that he was the Weaver. Like Val though, I felt like I should have seen it coming a mile away. Will Val and her sense of self preservation actually join the Breakers? Will Pike actually trust her? Did Glokta know?
- Will Glokta and Savine’s mother actually be able to settle in the countryside? What will he do now that he has ‘retired’?
- How will Orso handle Savine and her child? What will he do now that he knows she is his sister? I was so happy he spared Leo. How will Leo recover in prison? Will he be a changed man? What was the deal that Leo’s mother struck with Bayaz?
- What will happen to Jurand?
- What happened to Broad and Zuri after they brought in Savine? I want to know more of Zuri’s secrets.
- How did Lord Isher escape? What if he was an eater, easily changing his shape?
- What will Bayaz do with this new targeted attack by the Burners?
- Orso’s conversation with the King of Styria was eye opening on many fronts. I think this is the first time we had an inkling that Orso was growing up and perhaps was better suited for this job that he knew. Leo’s conversation with the same man was also enlightening for all the wrong reasons. Why does Jappo look northern though?
Your question of why Jappo looks northern can be answered in the inter-trilogy standalone novel, Best Served Cold.