The Heroes

“It’s a magnificent, richly entertaining account of a single three-day battle –
complete with balletic Kurosawan violence – that leaves behind no heroes,
only survivors.”
Lev Grossman, for Time Magazine

A Stand-Alone Novel Set in the World of The First Law

“Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.” – Bertolt Brecht

The Heroes, UK PaperbackThey say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they’ve brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he’s far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt.  Even if it’s his own.

Prince Calder isn’t interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he’ll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn’t have to fight for it himself.

Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him?

Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail…

Three men. One battle. No Heroes.

Book Details

UK / ANZ Print
Publisher: Gollancz
Date: (First Published in Hardcover, January 2011)
ISBN: 9780575127760
Format: Medium (B-format) Paperback
R.R.P.: £8.99 / $AUS22.99

North American Print, Ebook & Audio
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 9780316193566
Format: Large (Trade) Paperback
R.R.P.: US$16.00 / CAN$9.99

North American Limited Edition
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Format: 500 Signed Hardcover / 26 Leatherbound Traycase
R.R.P.: $80.00 / SOLD OUT

Publisher: Gollancz (UK) / Orbit (US)
ISBN: 9780575105706 / 9780316123358

Publisher: Orion Audio (UK)
ISBN: 9781409130772

German Edition
Publisher: Heyne (

Spanish Edition
Publisher: Alianza Editorial (

French Edition
Publisher: Bragelonne (

Cover Gallery

US PaperbackUK Paperback Alt coverAudio EditionUS Limited Edition HardcoverGerman EditionSpanish EditionFrench Edition

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Buying Info

UK Print & Ebook | Book Depository | Hive | Waterstones | WHSmith

North American Print & Ebook | | |

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The Heroes

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Reviews and Plaudits

  • A No. 3 Sunday Times Hardcover Bestseller
  • SciFi Now’s Best Book of 2011
  • Shortlisted for the David Gemmell Legend Award
  • Shortlisted for the SFX Awards
  • Shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie was an action tour de force, an entire novel built around a single battle.”
George R. R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series

The Heroes is an indictment of war and the duplicity that corrupts men striving for total power: bloody and violent, but never gratuitously so, it’s imbued with cutting humour, acute characterisation and world-weary wisdom about the weaknesses of the human race. Brilliant.”
Eric Brown, for The Guardian

“I’m a big fan of the author’s straightforward, darkly humorous epics of gristle and sinew and his ability to make even the most shady characters seem halfway likable … Don’t miss it our you deserve to be gutted like a stuck pig, your entrails left to feed the crows.”
– Peter Thornton, The Sun

“Delivered in Abercrombie’s trademark witty style … This is an action-packed novel full of brutality, black humour and razor-sharp characterisation.”
– Dave Bradley, SFX Magazine (5 star review)

“It’s an excellent tale and arguably Abercrombie’s best book yet … Its pace really showcases his talent for differently voiced and realistically motivated characters … any genre fan can enjoy what’s one of the best fantasy books of the past year.”
– SciFi Now (5 star review)

“This blood-drenched, thought-provoking dissection of a three-day battle is set in the same world as Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy (The Blade Itself, etc.), but stands very well alone … Abercrombie never glosses over a moment of the madness, passion, and horror of war, nor the tribulations that turn ordinary people into the titular heroes.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“It’s full of violence, raw language, morally complicated characters and a constantly shifting POV.  Well written and stocked with fully realised characters.”
Romantic Times

“The futility of settling arguments by violence is the clear message of this book, making it an anti-war war story – which I suppose all the best war stories are, really – but it’s also a very strong continuation of his excellent previous books, and is sure to be enjoyed by his many fans. Highly recommended both for fantasy readers and lovers of Cornwell and Iggulden.”

The Heroes is the first major fantasy release of 2011, and it looks like the new year is already off to a cracking start … Joe Abercrombie doing what he does best but better than ever before: gritty, violent, morally ambiguous and darkly funny fantasy with a streak of intelligent cynicism.”
The Wertzone

“The lovechild of The Killer Angels and Conan the Barbarian, Joe Abercrombie’s newest stand-alone novel, The Heroes is more of the same gritty, violent, tragicomedy that has propelled Abercrombie to the top of many fan-favorite lists … Abercrombie, simply put, has done it again. Though there is some repetition of theme and characterization, the work itself is marvelous. I simply could not stop reading it … I cannot recommend The Heroes highly enough.”
Grasping for the Wind

The Heroes is Joe Abercrombie’s fifth book, and what a book it is … The First Law was great, Best Served Cold was brilliant and The Heroes is truly masterful.”

The Heroes showcases the strengths of Abercrombie’s writing – characterization, dark ironic wit, and not-so-subtle subversion of traditional fantasy ideas. And Abercrombie is never afraid to get dirty, really dirty.”
Neth Space

“Gritty, harsh, powerful storytelling that takes you into the crucible of combat and lets you see how the perception of the hero is not always the reality of the hero.”

“Once again Abercrombie rewards readers with a novel you will not want to put down. A fast-moving plot, memorable characters and an epic sweep all combine to make The Heroes a fine example of the genre.”
Total Sci-Fi

“The momentum gradually builds into something unstoppable. There’s satisfying character development, exploration of the ironies of war, and of course plenty of blood and treachery, all delivered with Abercrombie’s trademark wry humour.”
Speculative Horizons

The Heroes is a brilliant and brash novel in which a pointless and wasteful battle teaches the survivors who they really are … It’s often bleak, but that’s because it’s honest. Its most powerful moments are typically its quietest, and interestingly, these can occur in the heat of the action. And frequently – hell, right from its opening chapter – the book is gloriously funny. It’s like an epic fantasy version of All Quiet on the Western Front spiked with some of the irreverence of Altman’s M*A*S*H.”

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