One of the great delights of our two-week summer holiday (which begins at noon tomorrow, so I'm all a-twitter with barely-suppressed excitement) is the opportunity it affords me for a prolonged encounter with fiction, instead of the diet of theology, women's studies and queer theory that usually occupies my reading muscles. Two years ago Best Beloved turned me on to the mighty Joe Abercrombie ("Mighty Joe" - tee-hee) and his fabulously grimy, violent and morally ambiguous First Law Trilogy. That year we read part 1, last year it was the eagerly-anticpated second volume and this year we'll polish off volume three. Cos he paid for them out of his own pocket money, Husband gets first dibs, while I caper round his feet, whimpering pathetically "oo, oo, have you finished yet, have ya, huh, huh?" - but it's worth the wait and no mistake. As I say, I don't get time to read much fiction so when I do it has to be good - and this stuff is absolutely the bees' knees, the ants' earrings and the wasps' nipples - so get on down to your local independent book shop and try it for yourself.