by Joe Abercrombie
There are plenty of epic fantasy series out there, but this is one of the best I've ever read. Set in a world with magic, magic is nevertheless set aside for handy swords and shields and pure brute strength. As is often the case, there are no real "good guys". There are people who are trying not to be bad, but only because they are tired of killing and being hunted in revenge.
The leads are varied, and seemingly unrelated: You have the tired barbarian Logen Ninefingers, who is tired of all the killing he's done only to create more enemies. There's Glokta the Inquisitor, a torturer who has lost all compassion for having been tortured himself. Finally, there's the young nobleman Jezal who wants nothing more than wine, women, and song plus a little fencing in between.
How does a mysterious old wizard tie it all together?
Joe Abercrombie is a British author who comes at it from a pretty fresh approach. No fancy dialogue in this one: when people are angry or frustrated they talk pretty much like you or me, but maybe with a little more colourful language.
This is the first in a trilogy, plus there are 3 more set in the same world with some recurring characters.