Before They are Hanged – Limited

February 23rd, 2011

My copies of Subterranean Press’ ultra-exclusive, tray-cased, leather-bound, lettered edition of The Blade Itself came through the mail yesterday, and let me tell you those guys can make a book.  I think it’s about the nicest book I own.  I could just sit there for hours and smell it.

But work on the limited edition of Before They are Hanged is also underway, and I thought I might share one of the interior illustrations with y’all, my favourite of those that artist Alexander Preuss has produced so far…

Heh.  Heh heh.  It’s a strange and sometimes frustrating experience, letting an artist loose on your work, because you’ll rarely see something that you feel really encapsulates your vision (which, after all, you rarely have a clear idea of yourself), and generally you have to allow them to interpret and put their own spin on the material.  Otherwise what’s the point?  Sometimes you look at what comes back and don’t necessarily feel it sums up the mood and tone of your work at all.  But occasionally you feel moved – even a little awed – to have provided the starting point for something so frakking cool.  Incidentally, Alexander’s concept art for this one is here:

Which ain’t exactly bad of itself.  The other rough that I’ve seen looks pretty darned promising too.  You can order copies of Before They are Hanged here, although at the moment they’re not taking orders from anyone who doesn’t already own The Blade Itself limited (which I’m afraid to say sold out prior to publication.  Actually, come to think of it, I’m delighted to say it).

In other news, The Heroes has sadly dropped from the UK Hardcover Bestseller list after three weeks in the top 10, mixing it up with the likes of James Patterson, Jo Nesbo, Clive Cussler, Dean Koontz.  That’s mainstream, my friends, and a testament to the hard work put in by folks in every part of my publisher.  Still need convincing to buy it?  There’s  a nice in depth review from Niall Alexander over at Strange Horizons:

“In short: Joe Abercrombie is a lean, mean, killing machine, and The Heroes is his best yet. Smarter, funnier, and harder than The First Law, more considered than Best Served Cold by a great, gory swathe, miss this one and heads could very well roll.”

And I’m talking about the book, among other things, on the first edition of Orbit’s new podcast.  Apologies for the slightly dodgy line.  And any of my dodgy lines.  Phone interviews can be difficult, and you don’t always get your point across quite as you’d like to.  I also seem to have a strange habit of talking in an incoherent rush, then pausing in odd places to gather my breath, before babbling off again.  It doesn’t sound like that in my head, honest.  Still, here it is.  If you prefer your interviews in written form, there’s another over at Total Sci-Fi.

Posted in artwork, interviews, news by Joe Abercrombie on February 23rd, 2011.

16 comments so far

  • Jared says:

    Gorgeous book! Very, very glad I got the limited of The Blade Itself – although I guess that means I can’t *stop* buying the rest of the series, can I? WHAT IF SOMEONE ELSE GETS MY NUMBER?!

  • Dan says:

    Wow. You got to talk to Jack Womack. You jammy sod! Random Acts of Senseless Violence was one of my favourite books of the 90s.

  • Davieboy says:


    I think Bill (of Sub. Press) does automatically try to match up numbers, although when I order I normally note the number for him, just in case. Wonder who got “The Bloody Nine”….

    They are lovely books!

  • Troy says:

    Yea i preordered this as soon as it came available. Just wouldnt be right not to have the whole trilogy… I feel like i need to wear gloves just to even touch the limited edition blade itself. Looks that nice.

  • Chris Upton says:

    Very nice.That illustration, shades of John Howe?

  • Phil N says:

    Before I read it I took that picture to be the cliff Logen fell off at the beginning of Blade Itself.

    Lovely painting.

  • Pete says:

    I’ve bought a number of Sub press books by Charles de Lint and they are gorgeous, true works of art. I’m sad I missed this one, the art work looks great.

  • My pre-order is already in. Tell Bill the type on the cover should match the first volume. Wield your mighty ax. I also prefer the piece you put up here rather than the one used on the order page.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Mad Hatter,
    By all means you can tell Bill that, if you like. I would note that none of the English language editions of the trilogy have ever had matching type, though…

  • Sam says:

    Some people call me stupid for paying $75 for a book that I already own, in a sense. To those people I say: I would pay $200 for a 10-page book about cattle herding, if only it were written by Joe Abercrombie (stunning artwork helps, too).

  • TheChubby41 says:

    Beautiful work. Hope it reflects the mood of the book well. As sad as it is, I’ve many times picked up a book just by the cover (SO glad Amazon has reader feedback). So glad you had a good artist for your first book! 😉

  • JenMo says:

    Oooooooh Ahhhhhhh

  • DERO says:

    Received my lettered edition as well. Amazing. It would be fascinating to know where in the world the 26 books wound up. Looking forward to completing the set. SubP always does a superior job, they are really artists.

  • Oliver says:

    Hi Joe, just finished Heroes. Best book you’ve written so far IMO – and I’ve severely enjoyed them all…

    This is an obnoxious, off topic question, but (around) when will the next book be out?

  • SwindonNick says:


  • jonny says:

    Joe just thought you should know someone has your limited/lettered edition of the blade itself up on ebay £350 starting price!

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