I read this book quite a while ago, about 8-10 years. The book is fantasy based, set in a medieval-ish world (with magic). The protagonist is a man, goes on a journey, fights lots of bad guys. The background I am sure of is very generic.
The thing I remember most is this quote: "poke, poke - die, die". The circumstances of the quote are, someone questions the protagonist if he is sure about the techniques for using a poisoned spear, it is his sarcastic reply. They [protagonist and a few others]are defending a village, from some barbarian types. Someone recalls, or invents, a roman spear wall (most of those defending are not familiar with it), which is exceedingly effective against the barbarians, especially since the spears are poisoned. The protagonist is one of the spear-people, not shield-people.
There are a few other things that I think are part of the same work, but I'm less sure about. I think there's internal time travel - he goes through some adventures, then goes back in time and redoes them with things he learned afterwards. There's a Voice that knows about the redo - it talks to him at one point, then on the second go around mentions that he's changed enough things their first conversation doesn't even make sense. I think there's an episode where he tries to rob someone, but fails because he doesn't know what paper money is (and fixes it the second time). The protagonist may be a magician or sorcerer. I think the work stands alone, it might perhaps be a prequel or sidestory to a series, but it doesn't need any other stories to work.
I'm really more interested in any work that has the quote, than all the rest... I might be mixing in another work for the second part. I tried googling it, but what mostly comes up are variations of 'poke and die', and perhaps the punctuation is off (there might be astericks or italics involved in the original quote) so it's not coming up as an in-quotes phrase. I would very much like to find this work again, so any help is appreciated.