Joe Abercrombie comes back one generation after his “First Law” trilogy. The main characters from the previous age have aged or gone back to the mud, leaving only stories behind them. Now is the time for their sons or daughters to conquer the world, fight each other, and wake up the old fights.
The “First Law” world has been established, so the author can really build on his characters. There's a lot of foreshadowing in this book (I think), a lot of buildup towards a great finale for this book, but also a good setup for what's next in the two following books. A key is given early (look for the one cursed with the long eye), but how will it all play?