I'm a third way through Joe Abercrombie's first novel The Blade Itself and I have to say I'm really impressed. This is a fantasy that throws all the common (these days) tropes out the window and brings something refreshing to the plate. The characters are realistically drawn, the descriptions are vivid and the plot moves at a steady pace. I think I've found a new favourite author to go along with Steven Erikson.
I can't agree more. I just finished the second book in this trilogy, Before They Are Hanged, and the series is fantastic. The battle descriptions are excellent, and the characters complex and brutal. REH would have loved Logan Nine Fingers, the Bloody Nine. This barbarian is very similar to Conan, but he is not as intelligent or as smooth with the ladies as our favorite Cimmerian. However, he does get himself into plenty of fixes that he only extricates himself from using extreme violence and brute force. Say one thing for Logan Nine Fingers, he'd a bad-ass. I highly recommend these books. Also, Joe Abercrombie has two new books set in this fantasy world...Best Served Cold and The Heroes. Both have received excellent reviews so far. I'm really excited about this guy as a new author.