Curnden Craw Week

August 18th, 2010

This week I have mostly been revising the sections of the story featuring what is, probably, the closest thing to a central character The Heroes has.

Curnden Craw is a Named Man, advanced in years, whose knees and nerves are giving out after years of weather and war.  He was once Second to Rudd Threetrees, and still tries to do things the old way – stand by your Chief, stand by your crew, try to keep everyone alive, at least on your side.  When Threetrees lost his duel with the Bloody-Nine, he took a place with Bethod and eventually became close in his confidence.  When Bethod was killed, he found a place with Black Dow, and has been leading a dozen (never quite twelve men) for Dow ever since, among them the famed hero Whirrun of Bligh, wielder of the Father of Swords, who was foretold, for some reason, that Craw would show him his destiny.  He’s long been dreaming of retirement, going back to being a carpenter and smoking his pipe on his porch while the sun goes down, but he never quite seems to find the right moment to hang up his sword…

Craw, Whirrun of Bligh, and indeed several other characters from Craw’s dozen are currently appearing in a short story in Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan’s Swords and Dark Magic anthology, as it goes, of which there is a nice review by Martin Lewis over at SFSite, in which he says, “Swords & Dark Magic is probably the single best original fantasy anthology I’ve read. More please.”  Well you most certainly can have more, at least of my story.  You’ll just have to wait until The Heroes is published in January…

Six characters done, surely the character pass is at an end?  Well, not quite, as we will see in due course…

Posted in process, reviews by Joe Abercrombie on August 18th, 2010.

19 comments so far

  • Pauly says:

    Good review of the book and fairly in line with my own opinions. Stange that they do not mention the Scott Lynch story. I thought it was the best..ehem..second best in the anthology. Great introduction to some of your characters in The Heroes by the way.

  • SwindonNick says:

    I’ve read the anthology and really enjoyed it and also the opportunity to meet Craw and his crew. It is also very interesting seeing the characters being constructed before our very eyes, they will become old friends before we even turn the first page.

    The only weak parts of the anthology are the insipid cover and the publicity – it really is a great collection of astonishing quality and depth yet I have seen no publicity, no copies in the shops, no reviews in the SF press (memo to self: must write to SFX) and only two on Amazon (one of which is mine). The very least your fans on here can do, if they have read the book, is to review it on Amazon and help raise the profile of a book that deserves to be talked about…

  • Phil D says:

    Me, I’m waiting for the Subterranean Press hardcover edition of Swords and Dark Magic (ISBN 9781596063112) to arrive on my doorstep.

    That’s one hell of an anthology, Joe – you are deservedly mixing it with the best.

  • Yulwei says:

    Based on your general style I’m thinking he’ll be dead by the book’s end. He could of course come out on top like Monza or be a glorified servant like Glokta but death seems the most likely option

  • Sedulo says:


    Why do you think he’ll be dead? Based on Joe’s general style I think we’ve been shown a zest for creating much more twisted and undesirable fates than death. I don’t want to mention any specifics for fear of the dreaded spoiler.

    “The Fool Jobs” was excellent. Many characters nailed down very quickly! Skill.

  • Yulwei says:

    He could get a quirky end but based on his desire being to retire and him continually deferring that goal, he’s unlikely to end the book retired or carrying on as he is. There’s plenty of other options like exile but death just leapt out at me

  • Phil N says:

    @ Yulwei

    Or he could end up King O the Northmen. That’s one of the things I like about The First Law and Best Served Cold, anything can happen.

    It seems Curnden and Tunny are two sides of the same coin, both seen it all and lived through it and now just hoping to get through one more war alive.

  • Yulwei says:

    Since I didn’t expect Monza to get a good end either, I’ll be surprised with whatever ending comes since there’s an equal chance of either type of end coming to pass.

  • Nick Sharps says:

    I’m not usually a fan of anthologies. If a story is good then it’s too short and you’re left wanting more. If the story is bad then you skim it or skip it and feel like you’re getting less than you paid for. I probably will buy this anthology though, until I picked up The Blade Itself I had been strictly sticking to science-fiction for about 5 years. Now thanks to you and Amazon recommendations I have ordered 8 fantasy books in the last week. I think getting this anthology would be much easier on my wallet.

  • Sedulo says:

    Hey! I just recalled the classic action film cliche where the guy who is about to retire goes on “Just one last mission.” Oh NOOOOOO.

  • George says:

    West will just turn up out of no where and beat all their sisters to death. You’ll see.

  • Troy says:

    Yea you wont know whats going to happen till you get to the end. I think out of every character west got something worse than death. You could make your case for each one but man talk about running out of luck. But hey i guess you gotta be realistic about these things……

  • Dan says:

    If past is a predictor, then I’m guessing each story line will build towards a happy ending until the last chapter. In that chapter I predict all the main characters will converge for a final battle. At that moment the Bloodynine will make his long awaited return and slay them all. The last scene will be Logen standing over the pile of bodies whispering to himself “Joe…you bastard!”

  • Troy says:

    Ha!!! Well i do hope ninefingers makes an appearance in the heroes and treats black dows face like he did bethods. That would make me feel all warm and toasty inside.

  • Dav says:

    A highly likeable character. And realistic, which I love. War wears people down.

    Can’t wait!

  • madman42 says:

    The fool jobs only made my love of the northmen deeper. From Craw to Crummock, I love them all!

  • JustFinished says:

    So I just finished The Last Arguement of Kings and have been doing a little Google research on what else this Joe Abercrombie guy is doing :).

    After reading this message board I am sort of surprised that Black Dow has such a following and that he is going to be a focus of this next book. I found him amusing, but not interesting enough to be a focus.

    I liked Nine Fingers, although he did complain a bit too much towards the end of the third book. As a few have mentioned, I do hope Nine Fingers makes some sort of appearance in this new book!

  • JustFinished says:

    Per my last message regarding hoping Nine Fingers is in this book and thinking about this further in the shower I just took.

    If he isn’t in this book, I would love to see a book in the future with a theme revolving around the son of Glotka (or Jezal’s son). I’d love to see what what kind of father Glotka would be and what kind of morals he would instill in his son. Also, the whole nurture versus nature thing could be interesting.

    Then of course the son must go on some grand adventure and what do you know, he runs into two old farts named Nine Fingers and Dogman.

    Yeah, I like that.

  • preston says:

    I had hoped Logen woulda been in Best Served Cold. I found Logen to be the most interesting character over the First Law Trilogy and his going out was a mirror image to the introduction of his character. I would honestly be surprised to see his return in Heroes. While I love the character, I feel that bringing him back will take away all of the guessing of what happened to him at the end.

    I have been waiting for this book for a while now. I saw the Blade Itself in a store and three weeks later had the trilogy read and picked up Best Served Cold. I’ve been settling with mediocre writing since.

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