The Blade itself is the first novel of the trilogy 'The First Law'. Abercrombie's style and narrative is the closest I could find so far to R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire'. It does not have the complexity and depth, but it has its own value.
5 characters dominate the scene:
Logan Ninefingers, a fierce fighter from the North, who struggles with the demons of his past, running away from violence, but attracting it nonetheless.
Inquisitor Glokta, a former war hero and dashing swordsman, but a crippled bitter man now. He has a lot in common with Tyrion Lannister, outwardly cruel and cynic, he often enough seems to be more human than most of the noblemen and leaders around him.
Jezal dan Luthar, a vane, arrogant and superficial young officer, whom fate pulls out of his comfortable shell and throws into the midst of adventure and peril.
Bayaz, the first of the Magi, a powerful and intriguing old wizard. Dangerous and unpredictable in his wrath, he sets out with his small group of compagnions to save the world.
Ferro Maljinn, the most bizarre character of the group, vicious and incredibly violent, constantly on the look out for a fight.
Bayaz, Logan, Jezal and Ferro prepare for an epic journey to the end of the world to find the ultimate weapon, which would save the empire, while Glotka plays his game of intrigue, corruption and lies to keep the powers within the empire in balance.
Fast moving story, action packed scenes, some surprising twists and turns, all in all a great read