Half a King

July 19th, 2013

What does an obsessive workaholic writer do with six months off?

Writes a book, of course.

The one I finished a few weeks ago is called Half a King. My agent Robert Kirby has expertly orchestrated a major deal in the UK and Commonwealth with HarperCollins, where it’s been jointly acquired by Nick Lake on the young adult side, and by Jane Johnson and Emma Coode for Harper Voyager on the adult fantasy side.  An announcement in The Bookseller is over here, and on Harper Voyager’s blog (with a tiny little description) over here.  Robert also brought in some new agents (for me) in the US, the wonderful Ginger Clarke and Jonathan Lyons at Curtis Brown who expertly orchestrated major US deals for print and for audio, the details of which should become clear later as the sun rises over the land of the free.  The current plan, subject to change, of course, is to publish the book simultaneously across the English-speaking world in July 2014, with two sequels following at six monthly intervals in January and July 2015.  Translation rights have already been sold in German to Heyne and French to Bragelonne with negotiations in other languages very much underway.

In some ways this is a very different sort of book from what I’ve written so far.  It’s aimed partly at younger readers (maybe the 12-16 range).  It’s much shorter – 80,000 words compared to 175,000 for my shortest, Red Country, and 230,000 for my longest, Last Argument of Kings (though still over twice the length of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, believe it or not).  It’s set in a very different world with what you might call a viking or anglo-saxon feel.  It’s much more focused, with a single point of view.  It’s not so overtly ‘gritty’ although it’s a long way from smooth.  It is punchy.  It has drive.  I aimed to deliver a slap in the face with every page.

Before some of you groan in horror at this wounding betrayal of all you believe in, I also wrote this with established readers, and indeed with a wider adult readership, very much in mind.  In some ways it’s a very similar sort of book to what I’ve written so far.  It’s fantasy, but light on the fantasy, and heavy on the vivid characters, the visceral action, the mixture of wit and cynicism, the twists and surprises.  I hope that it will have a wide appeal.  But I don’t feel that I’ve compromised on the way I’ve written.  I think it’s as tough, surprising, challenging, and morally ‘grey’ as the rest of my output.

It’s very important to say that this is in no way a split from my current publishers Gollancz (and their parent Orion) in the UK and Orbit in the US.  I cannot emphasise enough that Gollancz – and in particular my editor, Gillian Redfearn – have been and continue to be a brilliant, brilliant publisher for me.  They fished The Blade Itself from the slush pile, more or less, and have built on the success of every book, to the point where The Heroes and Red Country both made the Sunday Times Hardcover Bestseller list.  They’ve made deals in no less than 26 foreign territories and sold somewhere around 3 million of my books across the world in paper, audio and electronic formats.  That’s quite an achievement and I’m hugely grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me and the work they’ve put into making my books a success.

Gollancz will continue to publish the six First Law books in the UK (along with Orbit and Pyr in the US) – with their accustomed inspiration and aplomb, I do not doubt – and in due course will be publishing a collection of short stories (which hopefully will appear in late 2015/early 2016) as well as another trilogy set in the First Law world.  That trilogy is in the works, but there was always going to be a significant gap in the adult publishing while I worked out what I was going to do with it.  I wouldn’t bet on seeing the first one in your bookstore (or on your preferred e-reading platform) before 2017.

Some background on how this came about.

I’ve published six hefty adult fantasy books in seven years.  Although I’ve tried to make them all different in some ways – different structures, different settings, different points of view – they’re all pretty beefy, they’re all set in the same world, they have a similar tone, they cover some of the same ground.  Though I’m very happy with and proud of the result, Red Country was a difficult book to write.  I felt at times somewhat uninspired.  Somewhat burned out.  I really didn’t want, as I had every time in the past, to go straight on to working on the next book in the First Law world right after finishing one.  I felt the need to step back, recharge the batteries, try something at least a little bit different.  But at the same time I didn’t want the acorn to fall too far from the tree – I wanted it to be something that my established readers would enjoy, or perhaps even love with a flaming passion.  I wanted to set up two separate lines of work that would complement each other creatively and commercially.

There were a couple of different options.  One that I’d been toying with for a while was to do some sort of tie-in fiction, possibly to a video game that I really liked.  Sounds like a step back, in a way, perhaps, but there’s a certain appeal to working within established parameters in someone else’s creation.  Certainly if it’s a creation you like.  I’d had a couple of very interesting approaches in that line.  But in the end it just seemed like too much work ploughed into something I didn’t own and in the last analysis couldn’t control.  The other option was to write fantasy in a new world, perhaps in a different style or form.  I’d had a meeting with Nick Lake, YA (Young Adult, that is) publishing director at Harper Collins, a couple of years ago about the possibility of writing a YA fantasy, and I’d been turning over ideas in that line for a while.  Then an idea came up which stuck, and started to develop, and draw in other ideas.  So I wrote it.

I wrote the first part in October last year, between finishing Red Country and touring it.  The initial idea had been to pitch that first 12,000 words or so along with a detailed plan, but I wanted that sample to really blow the doors off anyone who read it, and when it came to it I didn’t think I could make the front as good as I wanted to without getting to the end, and having a whole book finished with a plan for two more seemed like a much more powerful proposition.  So I wrote the rest December to March, worked over and revised it in April, responded to reader comments and finished off in May.  June I wrote a couple of short stories but on the whole the month was taken up with meetings and conversations with publishers and agents in the US and UK to work out these deals.  Which is why my posting rate around here has been a little weak of late.

My plan now is that the two sequels, cautiously titled Half the World and Half a War, will be my main focus for the next year or so.  I’m already a few chapters into the first draft of the second book.  I hope to have those two books finished not long after the publication of Half a King in July 2014.  Then I’ll start work on the adult trilogy in the First Law world.  So that’s me kept pretty busy ’til … at least winter 2017, I’d say.  Which is both rather nice and rather horrifying.

Oh.  Maybe you want to know more about the actual content of this new book?

Guess you’ll have to wait just a little while for that.

But I think you’re going to like it…

I’ll be answering questions here, on Facebook, and on twitter @LordGrimdark for those who may be curious…

Posted in announcements, news, progress by Joe Abercrombie on July 19th, 2013.

114 comments so far

  • Mike says:

    Quite frankly Joe, you could write a cookbook and I’d buy it. This sounds a tad more interesting than that, mind you. I’m actually very excited to see how you handle this style of book!

  • Sean says:

    Exciting news! I look forward to reading Half a King and the next first law trilogy

  • akarthis says:

    You say it’s partly at younger readers and want the established readers to enjoy.
    I’m an established reader, though i’m 34. How will it work?

    Besides that, i understand your need for something new and respect it.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    In essence, you buy the book, you read the book, you love the book, whether young or old. I’m 38 and I think it’s brilliant.

  • Ocmsrzr says:

    Despite it being aimed at younger readers, I will still enjoy devouring it as I have all of your books. I’m 39 and still quite young at heart! I appreciate the hours of entertainment you have provided me. Best wishes with your future endeavors.

  • Jonnyboy says:

    Did you find it hard to tone down the brutality of your usual style (which I love btw)? Does this YA branding mean that it’s going to be more uplifting and less cynical or are you going to open a few kids eyes to the real world? I.e. “welcome to the jungle guys!”

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    ‘Aimed at younger readers’ possibly summons up flowers, unicorns and rainbows. It ain’t that. It’s at the top of the YA age range, if not closer to adult – crossover, as publishers like to say – which is why it’s being published in the UK as a joint venture between a YA list and an adult fantasy list (GRRM’s UK publisher). Compared to my fully adult work, the swearing is toned down, the violence is maybe a little less explicit, and there’s a young adult central character, and a tighter, more focused pace. But it’s still a Joe Abercrombie book. There’s nothing soft, simple or easy about it. I think most of my adult readers will thoroughly enjoy it. I certainly hope so.

  • James says:

    I’ve read plenty of YA stuff I quite enjoyed – however, even better my eldest turns 12 in May, so here’s something of yours she can read. Don’t think she’s ready for Glokta/Logen just yet.

  • Michael says:

    And here were we thinking you were being a lazy sod, sitting on your arse drinking whiskey, playing video games, and watching movies.

    It would be very interesting to hear how the YA ‘level’ is gauged. How far is too far?

  • Graham says:

    Exciting news!

    The young adult thing doesn’t put me off, I would expect it will still be more edgey than the Hobbit which I love?

    But I can’t pretend I like the idea of waiting any longer to get back to the First Law world… is half excitement, half disappointment and half impatience the appropriate response to your half a king half announcement?

  • Michael says:

    I waited too long to press submit, and it had already been answered!

  • Danielle says:

    I can totally understand the need to break and recharge after writthe same setting over the last few years…. it’s like writing an essay and trying to proof read it immediately following its finish.

    I am all too eager for the next trilogy and will undoubtedly give your newest book a go. Hopefully the next Kreator album will pair just as nicely with the next trilogy set as it did the last three.

    I’m pumped.

  • Anne Lyle says:

    Heh, that first line makes you sound like Joss Whedon, who made a movie whilst taking a break from Avengers!

    I shall look forward to the new books – I like me a bit of Viking action (did I say that out loud?). Can’t say I blame you for wanting to take a break from Logen and friends, though – whilst 2017 sounds horribly far away, there’s nothing worse than a series that drags on for commercial reasons despite the author’s heart no longer being in it.

  • Tony says:

    A little heart-breaking that it isn’t in the same “world” as the First Law series and the others. I always look forward to the cameos of past characters and seeing what effects they had on the story-line.

    What brought on this change? Are you feeling like you’re “milking” the world you created? Or are you just getting bored of it?

    P.S. If this isn’t the end of the non-direct sequels of the series you’ve created, bring back Bayaz, I miss that temperamental bastard of a wizard. 🙂

  • Milos says:

    Well, if it makes me ponder the human nature once I finish it, like the rest of your work does, I’m in. Damn, it can even be a sequel to Fifty Shades of (morally?) Grey as far as I’m concerned, as long as I feel that bitter taste of it long after.

  • Frank Fitz says:

    I’ll be honest Joe, I think this is a fantastic plan. I’ve loved all of your books to date, but I can’t imagine how hard it has been to be stuck writing in the same world for nearly a decade. It must be exhausting.

    As for your new world being Viking/Saxon-esque, I think that is a perfect fit for you, and I’m not surprised one bit that you’ve gone down that route. In fact, I seem to recall you discussing a fellow authors work on Vikings/Saxons and have felt you should do something along those lines.

    So all in all, I think I’m more excited about this than if you had announced a release for work in your already established world.

  • Nenha says:

    It looks like an exciting read even if you did tone down. I agree.with a few other peoe about the same world comment. But at the same time.it will be fun to.explore other worlds. You can never have enough worlds to day dream in.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    More edgy than the Hobbit? Very much so, I would say.

    There was always going to be a big gap before the next First Law book while I got the trilogy together. This was the right time to take a break from it and regroup a little.

    Yeah, the last thing you want to do is feel you’re phoning in the same old same old.

    I hope that it will make you ponder, yeah. It obviously has a lot in common with my previous books, but the YA influences were really things from my childhood – Rosemary Sutcliffe’s historical books, and John Cristopher’s Prince in Waiting among others – that never felt dumbed down, softened or simplified for kids. They always talked up, not down, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

  • Benoit says:

    If it’s the same quality that the Ya novel of another favorite author of mine (pratchett) then i’m definitily ok with this.

  • Brad Ashbolt says:

    I hope your new ones will be just as engaging, and although change is good, please don’t change too much! I have yet to find any material like your own.

    Favorite book was The Heroes, I loved the cruelty and brutishness of the first law series, the way ANYONE, including the main characters could die at anytime and would piss themselves before a fight, be mauled and dismembered permanently.. it made it so raw knowing the “Heroes” were just as vulnerable as the city guard that had half a sentence dedicated to him and then was quickly forgotten.

    This style stopped me expecting the expected and made me feel like the words weren’t written down until I turned the page.

    Cant wait for the new series!!!!!

  • […] Joe Abercrombie, best known for his fantasy trilogy, The First Law, announced his next novel today. It’s called Half a King, it’s unrelated to The First Law and it is aimed […]

  • Chris Kimberley says:

    will kirsten stewart be in the movie?


  • Richard Tearle says:

    Good move, Joe – I know you can handle it: Terry Pratchett did it with The Wee Free Men etc and with Dodger so I see no harm….but, like another comment; 4 years or so until the next First Law? That’s gonna be hard!!! And yet – what about a film/TV series? Any chances of that happening? Casting would be interesting….
    Love all of the six so far: so gritty and perfect characterisation – far better than GOT, if I may make so bold…..

  • Hawkeye says:

    I’m excited but at the same time worried. I’m worried that you will find so much success in young adults that you will never return to the adult realm…

  • Phil Norris says:

    Is this the end result of your trip to London a few weeks ago? Sounds very interesting, and interesting that it written to draw in younger readers (who will one day become older readers and move onto The First Law, savvy forward planning there).

    A Viking/Saxon mix, you’ve won me over. I’m a big fan of Bernard Cornwell’s Uhtred books, there’s never too many Viking stories in the world.

  • Graham says:

    I read and loved book 1 of the Prince in Waiting a bunch of times… but for some reason I never read the rest of the series… might see if Amazon have them to keep me ticking over.

    When can we expect to see the blurb about this new book? I love blurb.

  • Thanks Joe! Looking forward to it… Don’t forget to visit with your family a little and maybe take a vacation in there… (You know, maybe one or two days off). Ha! Oh, but keep writing those wonderful images in your mind until your fingers fall off!!
    I do admire your work ethic sir. Thank you for sharing with us, and for your dedicated hard work. I will also be giving thanks in the form of dollars to purchase future tomes…

  • Graham says:

    Found the blurb on Harper Collins blog!

    HALF A KING – the first of three standalone but interconnected novels aimed at younger readers – will be published in summer 2014. A classic coming-of-age tale, set in a brilliantly imagined alternative historical world reminiscent of the Dark Ages with Viking overtones, the book tells the story of Yarvi, youngest son of a warlike king. Born with a crippled hand, he can never live up to his father’s expectations of what a real man should be and his destiny is not the throne but the Ministry, not the sword and shield but the book and the soft word spoken.

    But when his father and brother are killed, Yarvi is propelled to kingship and must sit in the Black Chair, between gods and men, and half a man must find a way to rule as half a king. Thus begins a gripping switchback ride of a tale that will carry Yarvi far beyond his kingdom, from the heights of royalty to the depths of slavery, during the course of which he must find better ways to fight than with a sword, and learn the lessons that will make him a man.

    And exciting blurb it is!

  • Hannah says:

    Thank you, Joe! I can’t wait to hear more about the book!

  • Jenn H. says:

    This sounds fantastic! Looking forward to reading it and passing it to my kids – I have 3, all in the age range, and all interested in the Viking/Saxon time period.

    It’s important not to feel you’re stuck in a rut; hopefully this trilogy will do the trick.

  • Rowan says:

    Young adult?? Next adult book in 2017? Oh, the agony!

  • Mark C says:

    Great news, Joe. Looking forward to reading your output in the coming years.

  • Jordan says:

    Joe, very cool news! I find edgy YA every bit as good as adult fiction. Have you heard of Ari Marmell’s Widdershins series, published by Pyr? I think you’re readers would like Ari’s series–it’s similar to what I imagine your YA being like.

  • weedypants says:

    I’m torn between gobsmacked respect and thinking, You Bastard!

    We thought you were drinking whisky and playing video games! We thought the breakneck rhythm of up to 4hrs writing per day had all got too much. We had you pegged as talented but at times work shy.

    No no no, clearly a obsessive workaholic. And a bastard because you can write a book in six months.

  • Fozzi says:

    As always – if u want a proof reader, I’m ur man.
    Let’s just call it “the Lancaster connection”.

  • Gabriele says:

    That blurb sounds really cool, and if it’s an Abercrombie version of Rosemary Sutcliff, I’m totally buying it. I blame Sutcliff for me writing about Romans (and Cornwell for writing about Romans that do a lot of battle stuff *grin).

  • Drago says:

    Well dude i think it’s a great idea i also kinda felt some fatigue in Red Country and it mostly has to do with Nikomo Koska.The energy and mindset of that character is a superbly negative one.It sucks the life right out of you.You have taped some powerful energy and emotion in those books with him the being the carrier and personification of the idea.In the First law trilogy the same role was carried by Bayaz First of the Magi.A break from the First Law universe is a great move.And writing something more colorful and aimed at a PG17 audience could reinvigorate your creative juices.Having read His Dark materials i have no doubt even a children’s book could make a powerful impact without even sacrificing the gritty realism and maturity.Even if it’s about teenage vampires it would still be better than most books out there.As a voracious consumer of every possible media from books to movies and games I kinda get you.You write books as i would write them if i were in to that 😀 I hope you pick up The Last of as I’m curios to read your take on it since i de liked your impressions about Bioshock Infinite.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I talked about the Last of Us a couple of posts back…

  • dasru says:

    I am interested to know why you chose to have a single point of view as opposed to your “normal” multiple perspective approach. I personally love that style in that it allows you to see the same event from different perspectives.

    But in general, I can’t wait to get my hands on your new work!

  • Maggie says:

    I love the direction you’re going, Joe, and not just so I can share your work with my more young and squeamish family. I want to see your work get the fame and acclaim it deserves, especially now that GRRM’s work is so strangely rooted in pop culture…

    That aside, I still can’t shake the First Law setting from my mind or heart. I’m really, dreadfully hopeful that this next trilogy will cover the Gurkish side. Could you help me away from that idea, if it’s not what you’re planning, so I can grow to accept it by 2017?

  • Setsu says:

    The thing I love most about reading your books is that you’re constantly improving. You don’t seem to shrink away from pushing boundaries, and it’s a huge inspiration. Keep branching out and testing yourself. It’s good for us as readers, too.

  • James says:

    So YA, normally means less swareing and PG 13 sex scenes. But plot and violence is still of and equal exciting quality. Sign me up this is exciting news, my other favourite authors have produced outstanding novels outside of their flagship worlds. A question, is the first law graphic novel going to cover all 6 books or just the trilogy?

  • David says:

    Hi Joe. I read all your books back to back over the last few months. I’m pretty sure my soul is now filled with eternal blackness….oh well.

    I’m curious. When writing a book with a slightly younger audience in mind. Did you find yourself coming up with ideas that you could implement or did you have the boundries pretty solidly worked out in your head beforehand?

  • […] Anúncio no site do autor: https://joeabercrombie.com//2013/07/19/half-a-king/. […]

  • Michael Ferslev says:

    Joe, the absolute quality of your work, to me, means you’ve more than deserved that I put away any skepticism that I migh have had towards a move like this. So II’m just gonna lean back and eagerly anticipate yet another bout of great storytelling. Sure, I’m as eager to return to the First Law as anyone, but great storytelling with greater characters is more important. Can’t wait! Oh, and just for the record, I’m 34 🙂

  • RJSH says:

    I don’t know if you have even thought about it yet, but what are the covers going to look like? Will they be similar to the covers of your others books? (I own all of your books and they have the same design so they look great together on my shelf)

  • Angie says:

    *sigh* I don’t read YA. But okay. Because YOU wrote it, I will. And I will like it.

  • Cucumber on Speed says:

    Young adult? So be it, I’ll get the YA trilogy and make up some raunchy sex scenes and frantic disembowelments myself. Woot! I did pretty much the same with Hunger Games, hey! I turned Katniss into a crazed nymphomaniac who’d have intercourses with just about every breathing thing in Panem. So it’s all good. Me is happy camper.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Single PoV just seemed to fit this book. Relatively simple, focused story with one central character, plus something slightly different for me to try. It also means that though the book’s short compared to others I’ve written, since it’s all one story, not several interweaved narratives, it still feels like a big, far-ranging story I think. Second book in the series will have 2 intercut PoVs, though.

    Probably won’t be Gurkish, I’m afraid, not as the focus, at least.

    Ta. I do like to try something at least a little new each time.

    On the graphic novel, phew, that’s a long way off and the whole thing’s very much an experiment. We’ll have to see how it goes.

    From the YA standpoint, the one vital thing is YA protagonist, which isn’t something I’ve generally done so I was interested to try. Beyond that you’re looking at shorter length, probably tighter focus, slightly ‘simpler’ in terms of the plotting and narrative threads, less swearing, less explicit on the sex and violence front (though not massively so). Other than that the gloves are off. Half a King is about power, betrayal, revenge, endurance, loyalty, family, coming of age… The themes are universal, in other words. It is not lightweight. I wrote a book about a young adult, but I didn’t change the way I write or what I write about. Nor did I really simplify the style. There was some question about whether it’s really YA or adult fantasy. Some of the Children’s publishers we submitted to didn’t really think it fitted with their lists – too adult, too dark, too morally ambiguous. It’s crossover, which is, of course, a strong tradition in Fantasy.

    At a very early stage on the design. It needs to be something that can appeal to the broad readership – young and old, male and female, that we think will enjoy this book. It almost certainly will be a markedly different treatment from the adult books.

    In general,
    I’m very touched by the positive response to this. I was expecting a great deal more grumbling…

  • Pedro says:

    Any teaser about the story itself?

  • David says:

    Thanks for the reply Joe. I’m really looking forward to reading it.

  • Simon says:

    *grumble, grumble*

  • Bobby says:

    You could write an erotic novel and I would still read it (and rate in five stars)

  • XAN PERILLAN says:

    Grumbling?!? Wait til Leo Grin hears about this.

  • Chad says:

    Are we going to have to call you “it-ain’t-so-bad-dark” now?

  • Tom says:


    Your easily one of my three favorite authors and your scheduled release of books is impressive. What sets you apart from my other favorite authors, who you know well, is that you actually publish books. Stories with great characters that are very entertaining. I’ll be lucky if i get one book a piece out of the other two authors between now and 2017. While you’ll provide me with 3 maybe 4. I look fwd to the change of pace and will also be ready for a first law book again by 2017.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    It’s Grimdark without the Grimdark.

  • Christian the 1st says:

    Joe – With the 6 killer tomes you put out already, you’ve certainly earned our trust. You’re one of the few authors I’d buy anything from , sight unseen. Congrats and the new trilogy and much success.

  • Thile says:

    I think it is understandable that we, as readers, want more First Law series and that you also need a break from it. So I am looking forward to reading this. I tend to avoid most YA but this does not seem like it will be dumbed down. I have quite a few authors now that I always have to check out their new books and Joe is obviously on that list.

    Random thought, it will probably get lost in the ether posting it here. But I half expected your next announcement to be about a television series of sorts…

    With the success of Game of Thrones on HBO, I wonder how many other fantasy series will actually make it to be adapted?

    And my random thought was that it would be interesting to have Someone develop a fantasy series directly for TV. That is, instead of adapting The First Law, but bringing Abercrombie on board to be the writer/ep/consultant. Basically, building a new story made for TV from the ground up? Probably too much to wish for (whether it is Abercrombie, Martin, Lynch, Rothfuss, Lawrence, et al)

  • Ben Clifford says:

    I have to say this makes me so happy. I was pretty much resigned to several years without a new full-length dose of Abercrombie, but lo and behold you’ve produced a new trilogy more or less from nowhere! What could be better? Also very excited by the change in focus, I’ve been hoping you might take on a single-POV project at some point. Very curious to see how it comes together. Well done!

  • akarthis says:

    I’ll do what you say Joe. I hope though Glokta will not read this.

  • Walter Harrow says:

    I know its off topic, but why aren’t you at comic con? Have you ever been or will you ever go?

  • Angie says:

    I draw the line at American Football. If you write a book about that, I’m sorry to say, I won’t be buying it. Otherwise, I look forward to whatever you decide to share with the us. 🙂

  • Muzza says:

    To be quite honest I would read a book about Cookie Monster’s Brazilian waxing regimen if you wrote it. So maybe the age recommendations should be 12-41.

    But more seriously, I was thinking of going back a reading the original six Dragonlance novels which got me hooked fantasy when I was about 12 to see how I feel about them now. I always think about those books…Raistilin and Tasllehoff Burrfoot…damn that was almost a lifetime ago.

    For me I still think of those books fondly.

    Some 12 year old kid is going to get this book, read it and think about it for the rest of his/her days.

    That is a pretty cool idea.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    San Diego is a long way from Bath, and I’ve never been invited.

    You haven’t watched Friday Night Lights, have you?

    I still think of those Dragonlance books fondly myself. And yeah, get those 12 year olds reading, boys and girls. Then sell them everything else I’ve written…

  • Walter Harrow says:

    You really haven’t been invited? Who the hell decided not you invite you? I keep expecting you to show up on panels with George RR Martin, Brandon Sanderson and Robin Hobb

  • Deb E says:


    That is all.

  • AntMac says:

    I wonder how long after it is published before the first denunciations arrive from someone saying Grim-ish Dark-ish writing is blighting young lives of hope?. And if the same person who makes it offers a bible happily to his kiddies to read.

    Actually, the idea of Grimdark re-writing of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe just illuminated my skull. 😛

  • Christina says:

    As someone who has read and enjoyed all your works (minus The Heroes, but I shall eventually get to that one!), I am very excited to hear about your new YA venture. As much as I like all the epic grimdark-ness, it will be cool to see how you apply your talent to something less lengthy, suitable for a younger audience.

    I don’t recall if you’ve already shared this elsewhere, but I was curious about your writing process in terms of character creation. You write such great characters, a factor that is very important to my reading selection. Do you tend to plot out all the nitty gritty details about all your characters (at least the major ones) or do you let things develop more organically as you write?

  • AO says:

    I was excited for exactly 1 second, but then started worrying about the U.S. cover, and if it will be in line with your recent U.S. covers (I.e. I’ll have to avoid it and order the UK edition) or not. If there’s any way possible, please make the U.S. cover decent. Though I’ll buy it either way and congrats on the new book.

  • Morgan says:

    What was the appeal of writing a YA novel? Is this more of a business move, did you find writing “Half a King” as enjoyable as your adult fiction?

    What video game approached you for writing purposes? Seems like a cool idea, but a fail-game (despite the writing) could damage your rep.

  • Frank Fitz says:

    Woke up with a spring in my step still because of this news. Cheers, Joe. Properly cheered me up.

    P.S. Joe would write an amazing (American) Football book. We’ve both been touched by Riggins. *Sobs*

  • Phil.I.P. says:

    How about a sequel involving knights and a round table? You could call it “King Halfa”.

  • Mort says:

    I’m looking forward to the new books. On one hand I’m bit dissapointed that we will need to wait for the new First Law book until 2017 but on the other hand it’s good we will see something from you much sooner.

    I have two questions: Did you write the new book with possible tv series deal in mind (i.e., world simillar to ours, no huge scenes or sceneries that will be costly to reproduce on the small screen)? And why ditch the Gollancz for the new books? Are they not interested in YA stories or it is about new publisher’s reach (they could get book to more people)?

  • […] starting with a novel called Half a King, which he expects to see published in July 2014: Half a King | Joe Abercrombie By the sounds of it, it's not connected at all to the First Law world, though he's still […]

  • Angie says:

    Joe, I’m slightly embarrassed to say I have never watched Friday Night Lights. The book’s publisher was an imprint of the publishing company I used to work for, so, well, maybe I should.

    I thought of a question for you, if you have the time to answer. Many authors I’ve known use different names when they publish in different genres, for a large number of reasons that generally make sense to me. My impression, reading this blog post, is that you’re going to publish this YA novel under the same name as your other work. Did you struggle to make that decision, and what led you to it?

    Thanks for being so responsive with everyone in here. And of course for your books, which have provided a great deal of enjoyment for myself and everyone I force them upon.

  • Seruko says:

    On the one hand I am very happy to find that you are not only written, but have finished a new book. On the other hand I cannot purchase (or even pre-purchase) it anywhere so I am SORELY VEXED.

    Why must you VEX me so Mr GrimDark Pants???

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Walter Harrow,
    I’ve turned up with all those folks in other contexts, including NYCC, just haven’t been to SDCC yet.

    I usually know a bit about the characters, but it’s not until you start writing them that you really get an idea of what they’re like, then often plot has to shift around your changing perception of them. Ideally you have a reasonable outline already, but plot and character shift considerably as you go, then you rewrite (or edit in depth) having got to the end and worked out what you’re doing…

    This is different publishers UK and US, so almost certainly there will be radically different approaches with this series.

    Video game, can’t say, still might happen at some stage, I guess. I found this book enjoyable initially, then hard work, then enjoyable, then hard work. Not unlike my adult stuff. Writing YA is primarily a creative move, I suppose, a break from what I’ve been doing which will shake me up a little and allow me to improve and re-energise, but I don’t tend to make moves without some thought for the commercial aspects either.

    Frank Fitz,
    I wish I’d been touched by Riggins…

    It had occurred to me that this is eminently filmable, but it’s not a big part of my calculation. Film stuff is a bit like the weather – very hard to control what happens and you’ve just got to carry on with your own stuff regardless. Publisher wise, we wanted to pitch this widely and see who might be the best publisher for this particular series. I think there are advantages to having different publishers for different strands of work and therefore benefitting from some new ideas and approaches and preventing things getting into a rut. I’ll be back with Gollancz for a new adult trilogy in due course, though, hopefully having hoovered up a load of new readers…

    The main reasons you’d use a pseudonym is if the name you were writing under had run out of steam commercially and it was hard to get booksellers to order from ‘that’ writer, or if you were writing a very different style of work that might in some way be offensive to your existing audience – might poison the well, so to speak. This is still fantasy, and it was always at the front of my mind that I wanted it very much to appeal to my existing readers and help to fill the gap for them in my adult publishing. Not to mention I’d like to land some new readers – both young adult, but also a wider adult readership – and bring them back to my old books. The two strands of work are very much complementary, in other words. No reason at all to write under a different name in this case.

    I just like vexing you.

  • Bobby says:

    This is kind of random, but have you ever read the Harry Potter series?

  • […] no ha dudado en emplear los últimos seis meses en dar forma a otro mundo. O eso cuenta él mismo en su página web: «¿Qué hace un escritor adicto al trabajo cuando tiene seis meses libres? Escribe un libro, por […]

  • SgtPluck says:

    So what’s it about?!

  • Count Spatula says:

    Awesome news, Joe – I look forward to any book from you, regardless of who the target audience is, well… I guess I’m not that much older than the YA readers… Eh… As long as it’s still got the Abercrombie panache, who cares!?

  • Alex (Brum) says:

    In case it hasn’t been asked already: if its a viking or anglo-saxon like does that mean you & Bernard Cornwell are going to be sitting in the pub (Tolkien/Lewis style) talking about the more exciting parts of that history & how you’ve nicked them and tinkered with them for your own novels?

  • Snowy says:

    Joe, as a keen gamer like yourself, I have to say I would love to see you get behind the story of a good fantasy RPG. The genre is still stuck largely in the heroic fantasy genre, with the exception of The Witcher series. It would be fantastic to get a really dark RPG from the tortuous depths of your mind coupled with the gameplay and freedom of something like Skyrim.

    More moral ambiguity and less arrows to the knee – sounds a good recipe to me!

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Believe it or not, no. Probably read ’em to my kids soon, though.

    I dunno, Skyrim seemed pretty dark in places. And Dragon Age, too.

  • sword1001 says:

    Joe, in the Inquisition, I asked whether you ever felt the need to write in a different genre/world in order to refresh your creative juices . . . seems like I have my answer, lol

    Have to say I’m not overly pleased I’ll have to wait even longer for the trilogy but can appreciate you want to try something new – and I can hardly complain considering your output up to now.

    Keep up the good work

  • sword1001 says:

    Also, I find the HarperVoyager description rather spoiler-ish . . hmmmm

  • Alex (Brum) says:

    Will the new books be coming out in Hardback? It seems to me most authors get their books released as hardbacks after a certain point as standard; thinking Patrick Rothfuss King Killer Chronicle, but books aimed at younger readers either won’t at all or only the last in a series like Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. I only ask because I like hardback; it makes my bookshelf look a bit more cultured.

  • John says:

    No vampires, right?

  • Maggie says:

    I don’t care what you write. I will read it. You are easily my favorite author.

  • BigK says:

    I admit that I haven’t read this properly but I’m not happy!

    What do we care about 12-16 year olds? What have they ever done for us? All they do is cost money and make a horrible mess!

    I don’t hold with all this molly coddling. YA division? In my day we had to make do with a nice bit of Bram Stoker, James Herbert or Shaun Hutson. It never did me any harm.

    Give ’em the First Law. Straight with no mixer. They’ll thank you for it in the end.

    “It’s Grimdark without the Grimdark.”

    What’s the world coming to?

  • Jack says:



    Frabbin nabbin #@### ##@@@# ##@@@!!!!


  • BigK says:

    Angie:”I draw the line at American Football. If you write a book about that, I’m sorry to say, I won’t be buying it.”

    What? Are you nuts?

    A proper Blood Bowl novelisation by Joe would be just awesome.
    It would probably make a great movie too. 😀

  • DRFP says:

    Interesting post, Joe.

    I did think “Red Country” was slightly below par for you. Perversely, I’m glad you were tired; I was worried you were instead heading down the track of self-parody with that book. If you were burnt out on it, I think that explains a lot and makes me more optimistic for your future efforts.

    I also wonder (to myself) if this explains why you kicked the First Law world several years further along with that book, whether you feel you’ve run it into the ground and that’s the reason for the move to a proto-industrial setting?

    I’m pleased you’ll be trying out new things. I think it can only have positive effects down the line. I’ll certainly give these YA books a shot, and as a fan of the short story format I’m excited to see what your future collection will look like. Will it contain the Waterstones shorts for “The Heroes” and “Red Country”? Or will it be completely new material unrelated to the First Law world?

  • Angie says:

    BigK, I just thought of the thing that bores and annoys me the most. And then I added Friday Night Lights to my Netflix queue, dammit. Although I’m not watching it until I finish Orange is the New Black.

    But okay, Blood Bowl, I’d read that.

  • […] începând cu 2015, Joe Abercrombie va scrie o noua trilogie situata în universul First […]

  • […] Abercrombie's next book is going to be a YA fantasy. You can check out the news on his blog here: Half a King | Joe Abercrombie Some may say, "What? The master of grim, bloody fantasy is going to write a YA book?" I […]

  • DavidK says:

    VIKINGS! Begin the awesome! Can’t wait – sounds very promising.

  • Curt says:

    Bring it!!

  • Christina says:

    Thanks for answering my question, Joe. As an aspiring writer, I’m going to be a little greedy and ask another. I realize you mentioned you’re on vacation right now, but hopefully you mind addressing it when you return. After reading your Dec 2011 interview with Fantasy-Faction.com, I especially related to the Q&A about your challenge in writing a female protagonist as a male author. How did you prepare for getting into the psyche of the opposite sex, was your process much different for female versus male characters, and do you anticipate creating any other central female characters in future works?

  • Dyrewulf says:

    While I’ll be eagerly waiting for the new First Law trilogy, knowing that I’ll have three more J.A. books to read between now and then is welcome news!

  • […] изненада почитателите си с намерението да пише книга за по-млади читатели, на пазара се появяват нови автори, които копират […]

  • ddtan says:

    I haven’t read much YA of late, I find most of the current ones are full of fluff with little depth, with cheesy characters with plots that usually involves a weird pretty young girl with a problem, that ends up meeting a pretty boy with superpowers, or vice versa, with a friend that ends up being the third wheel on the love triangle; they end up saving the world or something, and the pretty girl falls in love with pretty boy and ends up in each other’s arms, while the third wheel gets the cold shoulder, or something like that. No thanks, I pass.

    I trust in Mr. Abercrombie though, and I will be eagerly waiting to read what he comes up with. No doubt Mr. Abercrombie is gonna take the current YA world out back to the woodshed and give it a good whippin.

  • Ben Rogers says:

    I’ve read a countless number of books. My friend, who recommended you to me, has read (a near) infinite amount of fantasy books and we both agree that you’re our favourite author ever. Anything you do, I’m sure will be gold. Even if I thought this sounded crap, the fact that you’re trying something different is awesome, and I cannot wait to read it.


    P.s. How obsessive fan did I just sound? 10/10 right? Oh well.

  • Akshay Potnis says:

    Dear Joe,
    Can we have a story about Rudd Three Trees and how he came by that name?

  • […] trilogi fra Abercrombie? Obligatorisk. Jeg blir litt skeptisk når jeg ser at målgruppen er «maybe the 12-16 range«, men Abercrombie pleier å være bra, så jeg gleder meg til denne […]

  • G Nadler says:

    More First Law stuff please!!!! #beg

  • Michael says:

    Great news!!! Thank you for the first six novels (love them) and I’m looking forward to the new stuff. I’m just finishing Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. If you ever find yourself on this side of the pond in the Dallas area, I’ll get the first round.

  • joe says:

    Hi Joe

    I teach 13 and 14 year olds. I have often wished I could reccommend your books to them, but they are not ready ….yet. When they are 15 – 16 they will be, or at least some of them will be. I am very excited to hear about the new novel. I often hear from my students about how they hate to read novels, and I respond that its because they arn’t reading the right novels. I can’t wait to show them your work.


  • Owen says:

    I look forward to the reads. The Hobbit was a childrens book the spawned the great lord of the rings series. I hope that the re charge has allowed you time to hown your craft and allow you to raise the bar again. I cant wait to revisit midderland but dont mind a detour.

  • Kaiser says:

    I’m interested in these new books because I’ve heard many great things about the First Law series, but can’t stomach the extreme descriptions of violence and torture (not a criticism, just a personal preference). If they were toned down just the degree necessary for a YA audience, I would probably pick one up. There are probably other would-be adult readers out there who feel the same way. So thank you for this effort.

  • […] Country had burned him out and he needed time to think, read, relax, etc. And then came the bombshell. Joe Abercrombie went soft. No more grit. Good riddance grim-dark, good afternoon….Young […]

  • Dave Hoeltje says:

    Joe…You single handedly renewed my faith in the ‘fantasy’ genre and I thank you profusely. I sense that you have a hefty disdain for maps and I appreciate your stance on the issue but I’m old school and love the god damn things. The maps I’ve seen on line for the 1st Law trilogy, Red Country and now the Half a King series give the impression that we are, at the very least, dealing with different continents, on the same planet in roughly the same historical period.

    The story in Red Country moved in an East to West direction with the Horse People a prominent part of the narrative and in the “King” series they seem to inhabit areas South and East of the Shattered Sea zone. As a result of this interpretation on my part my aged brain is consequently placing the events in 1st Law taking place East of the Shattered Sea or, if you will, somewhere in present day Southern Russia. This confusion is not causing me to experience sleep depravation but could you clear this geographical confusion up for me?


    Dave Hoeltje

  • […] Half a King comes in at only 80,000 words compared to the Last of Argument of Kings which sits at th…, yet this is a concise and accomplished piece of work with some tantaslising twists towards the end of the book, making it a must read for any fantasy fan looking for their next fix. 4/5 […]

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