Joe Abercrombie

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Joe Abercrombie
Abercrombie at Swecon in 2012
Abercrombie at Swecon in 2012
Born (1974-12-31) 31 December 1974 (age 43)
Lancaster, England
Occupation Novelist
Nationality British
Education Lancaster Royal Grammar School
Alma mater University of Manchester
Period 2004–present
Genre Fantasy
Notable works The First Law
Shattered Sea

Joe Abercrombie (born 31 December 1974) is a British fantasy writer and film editor. He is the author of a trilogy called The First Law, other fantasy books in the same setting and a trilogy of Young Adult novels. His novel Half a King won the 2015 Locus Award for best Young Adult book.[1]


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.[2] 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".[2] 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").[2] 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";[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] In 2013, HarperCollins' fantasy and children's imprints 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).[5]

Abercrombie has finished the first draft for another trilogy set in the First Law world which will be set after the 3rd stand alone novel and serve as a sequel to the original trilogy.[6]


The First Law universe[edit]

The First Law trilogy[edit]

  1. The Blade Itself (May 2006)
  2. Before They Are Hanged (March 2007)
  3. Last Argument of Kings (March 2008)

Standalone novels[edit]

  • Best Served Cold (June 2009)[7]
  • The Heroes (January 2011)[8]
  • Red Country (October 2012)[9]

Short stories (published prior to the Sharp Ends anthology)[edit]

  • "The Fool Jobs" – appeared in the Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery anthology (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 (November 2013) and features the couple pairing of Shevedieh (Shev) and Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.
  • "Some Desperado" – appeared in the Dangerous Women anthology (December 2013) and features Shy South on the run during her outlaw days before Red Country. Nominated for a 2014 Locus Award.[10]
  • "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. It also features Shev and Javre.
  • "Small Kindnesses" - appeared in the Unbound: Tales by Masters of Fantasy anthology (December 2015) and features Shev.
  • "Two's Company" - first appeared online on (January 2016),[11] featuring Shev and Javre, a "female Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser style thief and warrior odd couple."[12]

Short story anthology[edit]

  • Sharp Ends: Stories from the World of the First Law (April 2016), collection of all short stories from the First Law continuity (8 previously published, 5 original to the collection):
    • A Beautiful Bastard†
    • Small Kindnesses
    • The Fool Jobs
    • Skipping Town
    • Hell†
    • Two's Company
    • Wrong Place, Wrong Time†
    • Some Desperado
    • Yesterday, Near a Village Called Barden...
    • Three's a Crowd†
    • Freedom!
    • Tough Times All Over
    • Made a Monster†

† story first published in Sharp Ends

Upcoming First Law Trilogy [13]

Set 15 years after the events of Red Country.

  • A Little Hatred (September 2019)
  • The Trouble With Peace (2020)
  • The Beautiful Machine (2021)

Shattered Sea trilogy[edit]

  • Half a King (2014)[14]
  • Half the World (2015)[15]
  • Half a War (2015)[16]


  • 2015 Locus Award for best Young Adult Novel for Half a King
  • 2017 World Fantasy Award for Best Collection for Sharp Ends (nominee)


  1. ^ "2015 Locus Awards Winners".
  2. ^ a b c d "Joe Abercrombie, About the Author". Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  3. ^ Abercrombie, J (2007-12-04). "Me? On TV?". Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  4. ^ New Year, New Deal Abercrombie blog
  5. ^ New Crossover Trilogy Archived 26 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Joe Abercrombie".
  7. ^ Abercrombie, J. "Best Served Cold". Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  8. ^ "The Heroes". Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  9. ^ "Red Country". Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  10. ^ "2014 Locus Awards Winners". Locus. 28 June 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Two's Company". 12 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Blog Entry". 12 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Blog Entry". 29 June 2018.
  14. ^ Abercrombie, J. "Half a King". Del Rey (15 July 2014).
  15. ^ Abercrombie, J. "Half the World UK cover and release date revealed". Harper Voyager (12 February 2015).
  16. ^ Abercrombie, J. "Books by Joe Abercrombie".

External links[edit]