Category Archive for ‘news’

Sharp Ends

Posted on August 24th, 2015 in announcements, news

I’m delighted to announce that my collection of short stories is (nearly) complete and will be published by Gollancz in the UK and Orbit in the US in April 2016.  It shall be called Sharp Ends: Stories from the World of the First Law, and will contain 13 stories, all set in the Circle of the World over a period that starts some ten years before the beginning of The Blade Itself and ends a few years after Red Country closes, featuring a rogue’s gallery of familiar and unfamiliar characters.  Most of these have been (or will have been) published somewhere else before – in anthologies with other authors or special editions of the First Law books, but in general they haven’t been available that widely.  Several are entirely new, including one that teeters on the edge of being defined a novella.

The table of contents:

A Beautiful Bastard: The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one big enough to think he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Made a Monster: After years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion.

Small Kindnesses: The hopes of Shevedieh, the best thief in Westport, to turn her back on crime, come crashing down when she finds a huge drunkard sleeping in her doorway. Doing the right thing always comes at a price…

The Fool Jobs: Curnden Craw has been sent with his dozen to recover a thing from beyond the Crinna. One small problem. No one seems to know what the thing is.

Skipping Town: Shevedieh and Javre, ill-matched adventurers, find themselves forced to flee yet another self-made disaster.

Hell: ‘I have seen hell, and it is a great city under siege.’ The fall of Dagoska through the eyes of a young acolyte.

Two’s Company: Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp, runs into Cracknut Whirrun on a bridge over a remote canyon. Can Shevedieh persuade either of these proud heroes to step aside?

Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Three not entirely innocent bystanders are sucked into the  chaos of Monzcarro Murcatto’s vengeance.

Some Desperado: There is no honour among thieves when the outlaw Smoke finds herself being hunted down by her own comrades.

Yesterday, Near a Village Called Barden: Royal Observer Bremer dan Gorst reports to the king on another ugly little skirmish as summer dies in the North.

Three’s a Crowd: It’s a foolish man who steals from the best thief in Styria, and when Horald the Finger steals her lover, it’s time for Shevedieh to stop running and start fighting. For those who work in the shadows, though, few things are ever quite as they seem…

Freedom: Being an absolutely true account of the liberation of the town of Averstock from the grip of the incorrigible rebel menace by the famous Nicomo Cosca.

Tough Times all Over: All Carcolf wants is to take her package from here to there, but in the city of fogs and whispers, there are always a dozen other rogues with their own ideas.

More news, including a reveal of the cover, when I get it…

One Week until Half a War…

Posted on July 9th, 2015 in appearances, news

Half a War comes out in the UK in hardcover, e-book and audiobook in but 7 short days.  Here be its cover…

Half a War Final HB

And here be its blurb…

Words are weapons

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships no god but Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil

Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.

And here be some early reviews…

“The final instalment in the Shattered Sea series is the perfect ending to an outstanding YA trilogy … Joe Abercrombie has long been the master of grim and gritty fantasy, but Half a War proves that he’s got all the skills of a master romance writer. The battles are bloody, the twists are shocking, and the deaths are heartbreaking.”
– SFX

“War reaches the boiling point in the impressive conclusion … Abercrombie piles on shocking betrayals and charges his characters a high price for vengeance in this powerful and fitting final volume.”
– Publishers Weekly

“The narrative, well-sprinkled with gory action and impelled by characters at this stage not just familiar, but gratifying, moves along at a brisk clip. Best of all, the relentless intrigues, plots, and schemes bubble just below the surface.”
– Kirkus

“In his Shattered Sea saga, Abercrombie has created a series that is by shades engaging, mesmerising and jaw-dropping, possessing themes and complex characters so rarely interrogated by YA fiction.”
– Sci Fi Now

Here are the times and dates for my UK events next week, with visits to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, York, Nottingham, Ely, Colchester, London, Reading, Bristol, and the YA Literature Convention…

And over here you can find further information, the first three chapters as a sample and, oh, look at that, information on where you can preorder…

The First Law Trilogy goes into Orbit

Posted on June 30th, 2015 in announcements, artwork, news

I’m delighted to announce that in September, Orbit Books are going to be re-releasing the First Law Trilogy in the US.  They’ve been publishing the standalone books since the start, and will be publishing a collection of short stories in the same world early next year, so this will put all the First Law books under one roof. We’re working on a new cover approach for all six, but in the meantime they’ll have a contemporary twist on the original cover treatment…

Abercrombie_BladeItself-TP1

E-books should be unaffected in the short term, but availability of the physical books might be patchy in the US until these new ones hit the bookstores…

Half a War Extract

Posted on June 8th, 2015 in news

Half a War, the thrilling conclusion to my Shattered Sea trilogy, is out in but a few brief weeks, would you believe – on 16th July in the UK and 28th July in the US.  You can read the first three chapters right now just over here, on my website.  Should that give you a taste for it, you should find preorder information not that far away

Half a War

Posted on April 20th, 2015 in announcements, artwork, news

Rejoice, for the UK edition of the third and (for the time being) final book in my Shattered Sea series, Half a War now has a cover and copy. Behold:

Half a War Final HB

Words are weapons

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships no god but Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil

Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.

And I note that, should you desire, you can pre-order in electronic or hardcover formats from the retailer of your choice over here…

The Gemmell Awards

Posted on April 10th, 2015 in news, opinion

The David Gemmell Legend Awards are entering their seventh year and have a new and improved website.  I’ve talked about the Gemmells in the past – in essence I’m a strong believer in them.  In the notion of something that celebrates Gemmell’s very considerable contribution to British fantasy.  In the notion of something that aims to involve as wide a range of voters as possible.  In the notion of having an award for full-on, commercial, epic and heroic fantasy which, despite its very great popularity, does tend to get somewhat ignored by a lot of the other SF&F prizes.  I’ve no particular problem with that, incidentally, it’s totally right and proper they should all have their own emphasis, but I see no harm in having one award that aims to celebrate the core, commercial epic fantasy which is, after all, bought, read and beloved by many.

So, please, go forth and vote. Anyone can do it. There are three categories – Legend for Best Fantasy Novel, Morningstar for Best Debut, Ravenheart for Best Cover Art and there are plenty of great books and writers on there.  There’s a first round of voting to narrow down from a lengthy long list (which includes much of the epic/heroic style fantasy published this year) to a shortlist of 5, then a second round of voting to select a winner.  I’ve often said I liked the original plan of a public vote to establish a shortlist and a jury to pick a winner, but they decided to go fully open public voting all the way and, though the Gemmells have come in for a fair bit of stick for being pointless and populist, in the light of what’s gone on with the Hugo award nominations this year, it’s suddenly looking like there’s a fair bit to be said for the Gemmell approach…

I join Adam Roberts in feeling a bit uncomfortable about the old self-pimpage, but I also think the Gemmell is in its infancy and relies to a degree on authors encouraging people through the doors so, yes, I will observe that Half a King is on the long list for the Legend this year, but I’ll keep it to a mention now and a reminder when the shortlist comes out, so I can shake my head wearily when I lose and blame it on the log-rolling rabble-rousing dirty tactics of the winner…

2014 in Review

Posted on December 31st, 2014 in announcements, appearances, film and tv, games, news, reading, reviews, whisky deathmatch

New Year’s Eve, my friends, and you know what that means?  Yes, indeed, I am 40 years old today.  You would never think I used to be young.  Truly horrifyingly, this is my 6th yearly review post. I’ll have to have a review of my best yearly review posts one of these new year’s eves…

A YEAR IN BOOKSELLING – Again, in spite of all my complaints, I really can’t complain. Partly due to the ongoing success of Game of Thrones, I’m sure, The First Law books continue to chug along very, very nicely.  I had a short story in Martin and Dozois’ highly successful Rogues anthology in June.  Then Half a King came out in July and made no. 3 on the Sunday Times hardcover list, which matches the ranking of The Heroes way back in 2010 but at a much more competitive time of year.  I toured more extensively than I ever have before, with some 15 events in the UK, all of them pretty well attended, and I did a few bookshop events down the west coast of the US for the first time too and made it to Comic Con in San Diego, to Sicily, to Lucca, and a third visit to my old friends in Aviles, Spain.

A YEAR IN BOOK WRITING – The heavy touring schedule through July and August got in the way somewhat, but even so it was a good year in the writing department too, if a pretty demanding one.  I wrote the last quarter of Half the World, revised and edited it, then wrote a first draft of Half a War, and gave it a fair hammering this month to produce a second draft that I’m starting to get happy with.  I’ve a few more things to do and another pass through focusing on the secondary characters to get to a decent third draft which I can hand in to my editors mid January, but the book’s mostly there.  Seems like only yesterday I was pitching this series to publishers and now it’s nearly done…

BOOKS – I really am hardly reading at all these days, it’s a disgrace.  When I finish Half a War I desperately need to take my foot off the gas and start reading again, hoover up some ideas and inspiration, catch up on the truly massive backlog I’ve got sitting in tottering heaps all around me. But two things I read this year that I’d certainly recommend are Kameron Hurley’s God’s War, and Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation. Neither the kind of thing I write, particularly, but then who wants to piss where they eat…?

TV and FILM – Boy, the cinema has barely registered this year.  I think the only film I reviewed was Fury, which was OK but ultimately a gritty wrapper around a rather traditional, sentimental war movie.  Guardians of the Galaxy was good fun but I was a little underwhelmed after all the nerdgasms I’d seen about it – seemed like more of the Marvel same in the end, if with a few more laughs.  Gone Girl was a very well-made film but seemed a bit hamstrung by a really odd casting choice in Ben Affleck – the guy just comes across as too much of a likeable lunkhead and I felt they needed someone much darker and more dangerous to really balance the central relationship and make us unsure what was going on.  Rather than equally evil couple of bastards reap the whirlwind they sow for each other, we got mildly unpleasant idiot is totally screwed over by his psychopathic wife, and that’s a lot less interesting in all kinds of ways.  For me the TV standout was the searing climax of Breaking Bad, which has to be one of the greatest pieces of TV I’ve ever seen, about as close as you’ll get to a single 5 season story arc with novelistic coherence of theme and character.  Highly honourable mentions to a bloody, strange and gritty second season of Vikings and the punishing 3rd and 4th seasons of The Walking Dead after its slightly limited 2nd season.  Justified continues to be elevated way above its rather banal set-up by great script and acting in which every character overflows with Elmore Leonard-y detail.  Orphan Black was good largely thanks to its brilliant central multiple performance.  Suits is entertaining if a little lightweight.  The Good Wife continues to be highly watchable and always that little bit darker than you expect.  Arrow was enjoyable enough superhero hokum but fell short of its gritty ambitions.  Black Sails was enjoyable enough pirate hokum, good when it put to sea but too often foundering on land.  The 1st season of House of Cards was very strong, with a great mood and super central performances from Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, but I felt the 2nd season was a lot less believable.  Hell on Wheels sadly crashed off the rails for me in its 3rd season after an action-packed 2nd.

GAMES – Last year had some splendiferous stuff in the form of The Last of Us, Bioshock, Tomb Raider, Telltale’s Walking Dead etc. as developers pushed the last generation of consoles to their limits and stretched unused storytelling muscles while doing it.  This year began on a high with Dark Souls II, more ultra dark, ultra hard Japanese/Western hybrid roleplaying but with the difficulty softened just a little this time around.  Moving over to PS4, the results have been a little more pedestrian than last year.  Destiny was pretty and compelling and did give me a hell of a lot of gaming hours but ultimately was a slightly empty experience.  Diablo III I found rather by-the-yard-y.  Far Cry 4 good, but very much like Far Cry 3.  Which leaves Dragon Age: Inquisition as my personal game of the year.  One could criticise the gameplay, the voice acting, and the somewhat vanilla plot line, but the world, characters, detail and sense of immersion were top class.

WHISKY – Lack of time meant my planned Whisky Deathmatch: Islay Bloodfeud never happened.  Well, it happened in the sense that I drunk the whisky, I just didn’t get round to writing about it. In brief, though, bottles I’ve particularly enjoyed this year: Lagavulin 12yo cask strength (smashed in the face with a sack of burned lemons), Ardbeg Supernova 2014 (Ardbeg, only more so, and with a touch of sweetness to it), Laphroaig Triple Wood (salty medicinal goodness with a sherry-wood softening), Amrut Fusion (awesome whisky distilled in India from Scottish and Himalayan barley), Talisker 30yo cask strength (full fathom five thy father lies).

CONTROVERSIES – I noted last year that after 7 or 8 years in the business I’m getting less and less interested in the cyclical nature of genre commentary.  I’ve already expressed my opinion one way or another on most issues of note, and when they come up again, I find a world weary sigh gets across most of what I feel, an attitude reflected in my post on this year’s controversial Hugo Awards.  That’s part of the reason for the greatly reduced blog presence of late, though that’s also a function of the sheer amount of stuff I’ve got going on.  I’m finding twitter (@LordGrimdark) a better medium for general conversation, and I’m tending to use the blog only for more considerable announcements and reviews.  This relatively thin level of posting may well continue next year, because…

THE YEAR AHEAD – My, oh, my, but 2015 is shaping up to be a busy one. I’ve already got visits confirmed to Detroit in Jan, Australia in Feb, Dubai in March and St. Petersburg in April. I’ve got not one but TWO books coming out: Half the World in February and Half a War in July, the first time I’ve done a publishing schedule anything like so densely packed.  Since I toured in the UK and US only a few months back there probably won’t be a lot of events for Half the World, but expect another full-on tour in July for Half a War.  Writing-wise, I’m going to be kept fully busy until the end of February with edits and revision on Half a War, then I’ve got a few short stories to write to complete a collection which will hopefully come out some time in 2016.  It’s looking as if the main part of next year may be given over to some exciting non-book projects, of which more in due course, but I also need to lay the groundwork and do some thinking for another trilogy in the First Law world, although the publication of that looks like it will be some way off…

Happy new year, readers!

Half the World Extract

Posted on December 16th, 2014 in announcements, news

Half the World, second book in my Shattered Sea series, is out in hardcover, e-book and audiobook in the UK on February 12th and US February 17th, and you can now read the first three chapters right here.

Blurb, a couple of early reviews, further information, other options for viewing and downloading the extract, and those all important preorder options over here.

More UK Events, plus Worldcon

Posted on August 7th, 2014 in appearances, news

More events?  Are you insane?  Well, yes, I very well might be, but there is no rest for the grimdark, my friends.  Here’s my appearance schedule for the next couple of months…

Tuesday 12th August

11.30 – Google Hangout for the Gollancz Online Festival.

18.00 – Fantasy in the Court, Goldsboro Books, alongside a whole host of other writers including but by no means limited to Ben Aaronovitch, James Barclay, Lauren Beukes, Paul Cornell, Peter F. Hamilton, Joanne Harris, Adam Nevill, Sarah Pinborough, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and those are just some of the ones I know well myself.

Wednesday 13th August

18.30 – Fantasy Faction’s Grim Gathering, Waterstones Kensington, 193 Kensington High Street, London, alongside authors Peter V. Brett, Myke Cole, and Mark Lawrence.

Thursday 14th – Sunday 17th August

LONCON, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention where I will be hanging out and haunting the bar, but specifically can be found:

Friday 15th August

12.00                          Kaffeeklatsch, London Suite 4 (1hr)

Saturday 16th August

11.00 – Panel: Moving Shelves: Famous Adult Writers Who Have Written YA with Carrie Vaughn, Kelley Armstrong, Ian Macdonald and Peter F Hamilton in Capital Suite 15 (1hr)

13.30 – Signing: Big Autographing Space (90mins)

18.00 – Panel: Writing 101: Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction with Ruth Frances Long, Amy H Sturgis, Laure Eve and Sanna Lehtonen in Capital Suite 5 (1hr)

19.00 – Panel: Meet the New King, Same As The Old King with Juliet E McKenna, Peter V Brett, Rjurik Davidson and Delia Sherman in Capital Suite 14 (1hr)

Sunday 17th August

12.30 – Reading: London Suite 1 (30mins) – and this will probably be from the forthcoming Half the World.

16.30 – Panel: Book Covers: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly with John Picacio, Bella Pagan, Greg Manchess, Maurizio Manzieri and Irene Gallo in Capital Suite 4.

Sunday 28th September

18.00 – Bath Children’s Literature Festival, The Guildhall, High Street, Bath BA1 5AW. An event with Garth Nix, chaired by John McLay

Friday 10th October

20.30 – Cheltenham Literary Festival.  An event with Sarah Pinborough, Ben Aaronovitch, David Barnett and Mitch Benn.

So that’s me taken care of for the next couple of months…

Back Home

Posted on August 4th, 2014 in appearances, news

I have finally returned from my quick tour of the US, San Diego Comic Con, and Celsius 232 in Spain. It’s only a couple of weeks ago that I left but it feels like months.  10 flights in less than two weeks and a hell of a lot of signing, hand-shaking, and talking to readers, authors, publishers and other folk of all kinds.

San Diego Comic Con is quite the event – beyond massive.  The focus these days is obviously on the big media stuff but there’s still a hell of a lot going on with writers and publishers.  I’ve since realised there were all kinds of people there I know and never got to see.  I did many dinners, lunches and breakfasts.  I was driven in a golf cart through some dirty service tunnels beneath the convention centre wedged between George RR Martin and Diana Gabaldon and with Lev Grossman on the back.  Truth is, indeed, sometimes stranger than fiction.  I did four signings and was on two panels, one the yearly epic fantasy panel this year moderated by my arch-nemesis Brent Weeks (and I shall be revenged upon him, oh yes I shall), and featuring no less than eight authors.  Great authors, but that’s actually way too many, I think, it makes it impossible to really get any flow or conversation between them.  The introductions take ages, then you maybe get a response from each to one question, half a response to another, an effort from the audience and you’re basically done.  Still, you can watch that one over here.  Much better was a five-author effort with GRRM, Diana Gabaldon, Lev Grossman, and Pat Rothfuss, covering various elements of world building and writing epic stories.  There were maybe 6 or 700 people in the audience, I’m told (all there for me, I’m sure) and it was one of the best panels I’ve been on.  You can watch that one over here.

I also did some great events at independent bookstores – University Bookstore Seattle, Mysterious Galaxy San Diego, and Borderlands Books San Francisco, and ended up at the Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe being interviewed by GRRM along with Cherie Priest discussing our careers and approaches to writing.

I then set off from Santa Fe for the Celsius 232 festival in Aviles, Spain.  They started this event three years ago and I’ve been every time – it’s amazing to see how the attendance has increased year on year.  It was always going to be a gruelling journey but as luck would have it the first plane was delayed, then broke down in Albuquerque, so I missed my connection from Dallas to Madrid and instead had to get to Madrid via Heathrow, and work out a new connection from Madrid to Oviedo.  To call it a total nightmare would be unfair to other nightmare journeys I’ve been on, it took 30 hours, 4 flights, 2 of them delayed, plus two lengthy car journeys, a bag mislaid, a bag search (though the officers did appear to have pressed my jacket afterward, which was nice).

The downside was that I missed my panel in Aviles and therefore the chance to talk at length about how great I am.  The upside was that Pat Rothfuss agreed very kindly to fill in and talk about how great I am instead, which I’m sure had far more impact on the audience, and I was able to do a great panel along with him and Brandon Sanderson the following day.

All in all an amazing time, but it’s a good thing I don’t have any other events coming up.

Until Worldcon in London next week…