Joe Abercrombie

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Joe Abercrombie
Joe Abercrombie at Swecon October 2012.jpg
Abercrombie at Eurocon in 2012
Born (1974-12-31) 31 December 1974 (age 40)
Lancaster, England
Occupation Novelist
Nationality British
Education University
Alma mater University of Manchester
Period 2004–present
Genre Fantasy
Notable works The First Law

Joe Abercrombie (born 31 December 1974) is a British fantasy writer and film editor. He is the author of The First Law trilogy and other related works of fantasy.


Abercrombie was born in Lancaster, England. He was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Manchester University, where he studied psychology.

Abercrombie had a job making tea at a television production company before taking up a career as a freelance film editor.[1] As a freelance film editor, Abercrombie found himself with more free time than he previously had. With this time, he decided to reconsider a story plot he had dreamed up in his University days that had once been scrapped. The idea had started out six years prior as a result of Abercrombie's dream of "single-handedly redefining the fantasy genre".[1] He began writing The Blade Itself in 2002, completing it in 2004. It took a year of rejection by publishing agencies before Gillian Redfearn of Gollancz accepted the book for a five-figure deal in 2005 ("a seven-figure deal if you count the pence columns").[1] It was published by Gollancz in 2006 and was followed in the succeeding two years by two other books in the trilogy, by the titles of Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings,respectively. In 2008, Joe Abercrombie was "a finalist for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer";[1] that same year Abercrombie was one of the contributors to the BBC Worlds of Fantasy series, alongside other contributors such as Michael Moorcock, Terry Pratchett and China Miéville.[2] In 2009, Abercrombie released the novel Best Served Cold. It is set in the same world as The First Law Trilogy but is a stand-alone novel. He followed with The Heroes (2011) and Red Country (2012), both again set in the world of the First Law Trilogy. Abercrombie lives in Bath, Somerset with his wife and three children.

In 2011, Abercrombie signed a deal with Gollancz for 4 more books set in the First Law world.[3] In 2013, HarperCollins' fantasy and children's imprints announced that they had acquired the rights to three books by Abercrombie, aimed at younger readers. The three standalone but interconnected novels form a "classic coming-of-age tale", with the first volume, Half a King, published in summer 2014 (The Shattered Sea Trilogy).[4]


The First Law[edit]

The First Law series consists of six novels and five short stories.


  • First Law Trilogy

According to Forbes, The First Law trilogy is "easily some of the best" fantasy around, with Abercrombie doing a "surprisingly good job at having each character see the rest through entirely different lenses".[5]

The title refers to a quote from Homer, going: "The Blade itself incites to deeds of violence" (Odyssey, 16.294, which literally translated reads "The iron itself draws a man to it" or αὐτὸς γὰρ ἐφέλκεται ἄνδρα σίδηρος). A fitting title for this novel, The Blade Itself centers around the stories of three characters; "Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian"; Captain Jezal dan Luthar, a "paragon of selfishness"; and Inquisitor Glokta, "cripple turned torturer". Their stories traverse the map of the civilised "Union" and their more barbaric neighbors, the fittingly-named "North", as trouble stirs and war can be seen coming.[8]

  • Before They Are Hanged (March 2007)

Sequel to ‘The Blade Itself’, the war has worsened as Northmen begin to make their way into the Union’s lands. The story follows Inquisitor Glokta, faced with a city under siege and being torn apart from the inside by conspiracy. Continuing from the previous novel, Bayaz, The First of the Magi, and the other adventurers journey in hopes of saving mankind from the horrors invading from the North.[9]

  • Last Argument of Kings (March 2008)

The war from the first two novels has reached its climax in the third installment of the ‘First Law’ series. Logen returns to the North with the hopes of stopping the King of the Northmen and bringing an end to the madness. Inquisitor Glokta, now known by the title of Superior Glokta, finds himself tangled in the heart of the Union’s conspiracies and with little way to protect himself save "blackmail, threats, and torture". Jezal Dan Luthar, a changed man, decides glory isn’t worth the soldiering life and attempts to reject everything in favor of a woman when it seems glory has found him at last.[10]

  • Standalone works
  • Best Served Cold (June 2009)[11] – David Gemmell Legend Award 2010—Winner of the Ravenheart Award for best cover art.[12]
  • The Heroes (January 2011)[13]
  • Red Country (October 2012)[14]

Short stories[edit]

  • "The Fool Jobs" – appeared in the Swords & Dark Magic compilation (published June 2010) and features Curnden Craw and his dozen in events prior to The Heroes.
  • "Yesterday, Near A Village Called Barden" – appeared as an extra in the Waterstones hardcover version of The Heroes and focuses on Bremer dan Gorst on campaign prior to The Heroes.
  • "Freedom!" - appeared as an extra in the Waterstones hardcover version of Red Country and focuses on the liberation of the town of Averstock by the Company of the Gracious Hand.
  • "Skipping Town" - appeared in the Legends: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell anthology (published November 2013) and features the couple pairing of Shev and Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.
  • "Some Desperado" - appeared in the Dangerous Women anthology (published December 2013) and features Shy South on the run during her outlaw days before Red Country. Nominated for a 2014 Locus Award.[15]
  • "Tough Times All Over" - appeared in the Rogues anthology (June 2014) and follows courier Carcolf and the circuitous route one of her packages takes through the city of Sipani.

The Shattered Sea Trilogy[edit]

  • Half a King (8 July 2014)[16]
  • Half the World (12 February 2015)[17]
  • Half a War (Autumn/Fall 2015)[18]


  1. ^ a b c d Abercrombie, Joe. 2009. [1] (accessed).
  2. ^ Abercrombie, J (2007-12-04). "Me? On TV?". Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  3. ^ New Year, New Deal Abercrombie blog
  4. ^ New Crossover Trilogy
  5. ^ Kain, Erik. The First Law' Trilogy is Fantasy at its Finest/ Forbes. (accessed 29 September 2013).
  6. ^ The source for the Homeric quote "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence." is Odyssey 16.294 (taken up by 19.13).
  7. ^ "2008 Campbell Award Finalists". John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  8. ^ "The Blade Itself". Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  9. ^ "Before They Are Hanged". Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  10. ^ "The Last Argument Of Kings". Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  11. ^ Abercrombie, J. "Best Served Cold". Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "The Heroes". Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  14. ^ "Red Country". Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  15. ^ "2014 Locus Awards Winners". Locus. 28 June 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Abercrombie, J. "Half a King". Del Rey (15 July 2014). 
  17. ^ Abercrombie, J. "Half the World UK cover and release date revealed". Harper Voyager (12 February 2015). 
  18. ^ Abercrombie, J. "Books by Joe Abercrombie". 

External links[edit]