Progress Report June ’20

June 30th, 2020

Turbulent times to say the least.  What with one thing and another there have been many distractions from work over the last couple of months, but things crawl forward nonetheless.

The Trouble With Peace is now proof-read and its covers released, which means it’s absolutely, totally and completely done.  Always a strange moment – there are many rounds of increasingly minor editing and revision on any book during which it becomes harder and harder to make changes, interspersed with longer and longer periods of working on other things, such that when the end finally comes it’s much more of a whimper than a bang – you generally reach a point where you just can’t stand to look at the damn thing any more while simultaneously being deeply worried that you’ve somehow fucked it up or left something out.  You know that moment when you’re about to post a letter and pause, with it half-in the postbox, thinking – wait, should I be doing this?  A bit like that x 1,000.  But trust me the book’ll be great!  Further details on that book over here, and it’s due out September 15th in the US and UK in hardcover, e-book, and audio.  Holy crap that’s like only 11 weeks away.  I’ve signed some 6,000 (rather beautiful) signature sheets for the US so there should be a fair amount of signed stock appearing over there in due course, and I believe I should be doing something similar for the UK market to counterbalance the lack of in-person events, which I’m assuming will still be on hold come September.

Meanwhile book 3, which is likely now to be called The Wisdom of Crowds, is getting close to finished. It’s had its character and setting passes and has now gone back to my editor for the line edit.  Felt that I had to rework a few things for a more nuanced view in response to recent events – there’s a lot of stuff about popular revolt, demonstration and riot, even (I kid you not) the toppling of statues which was written a couple of years ago but now looks like almost too on-the-nose commentary about the present moment.

Once the book comes back, probably within a month or so, I’ll give it a final pass through for prose before it goes to be copy edited.  It won’t be properly locked off for some months after – so there’ll be the chance to tweak it in reaction to anything that comes up about the second book.  But that one should definitely follow a year later – September 2021.  There was a time I was (hugely optimistically) hoping to finish this book before A Little Hatred came out, so we’re a good 6 months to a year behind, but, hey, stuff happens.  The main thing is that they come out on time, and from that point of view everything looks good.

Looks like the next two month period is mostly going to be taken up with getting that last book finished, a couple of non-book things, and starting to think about what might come next, which honestly is something I’ve given pathetically little thought to so far.  That may be some time coming….

Posted in progress by Joe Abercrombie on June 30th, 2020.

34 comments so far

  • Neil says:

    Will you be book signing in the future with Douglas Murray (The Madness of Crowds)?

  • Darren says:

    Thanks for the update Joe.
    Should the September 2020 book signings not happen, would you be good with signing books 2 and 3 hardbacks in the September 2021 signing? I have a full signed hardback collection all done in person and would hate to break that tradition.

  • Adam says:

    Will there be exclusive content for the signed Waterstones edition?

  • Alexei Dettman says:

    Thanks so much for the update Joe! You’re a bloody legend mate and you literally inspired me to start reading and writing again after I a friend recommended your novels. Glad to hear you’re still writing such quality at a pace that causes envy to most 🙂

  • Edward sharman says:

    Looking forward to the next book real escape from what’s going on at the moment thanks for the break from reality.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Maybe I can do a signing with the guy who wrote the other The Wisdom of Crowds (pop psychology) and Marcus Sakey who wrote the other The Blade Itself (chicago crime drama).

    I daresay I could be persuaded…

    Yeah, a short story called The Stone along similar lines to The Thread in A Little Hatred. It may also have a ‘previously in’ recap at the front which the general edition won’t.

    ‘Bloody legend? I’m bloody all right…’

  • Nicholas Morris says:

    Hi Joe (if I may),
    Just finished Best Served Cold which was brilliant, and which I have read out of sequence for some odd reason. I have been a fan from eons past and I’m about to start A Little Hatred, and it’s great news about The Trouble with Peace and it’s sequel.
    I expect you have had many requests to do another novel featuring the Bloody Nine, and perhaps his brief love – the wild lady of the south, but it would be great and would be gobbled up by your fans.
    So keep safe and keep smiling,
    Best regards,

  • Sam says:

    Hi Joe.
    Im naming a whole continent after you in my scifi/fantasy book. Thanks for all the inspiration over the years.

  • Wilfred says:

    A new collection of short stories would be awesome after this trilogy, Joe.

  • Div says:

    Having read A Little Hatred twice now since it’s been published, it’s surprising how relevant it now feels. Especially the entire series of events with the Breakers and the Burners, and seeing it from three different perspectives. You (Joe, presumably is reading this?) really did a fantastic job depicting those chaotic events in a very realistic way. It felt real while I was reading it, but recent real-life events really have accentuated what a realistic portrayal it is of chaotic uprising, revolts, etc. We’re not exactly there here in the real world, but damn if it didn’t feel familiar.
    Side note: I really like the font of these comments.
    What’s it called, does anybody know?

  • Twerker says:

    “(…)and starting to think about what might come next, which honestly is something I’ve given pathetically little thought to so far.”

    Prequel, mate, PREQUEL!

  • Richard Rodriguez says:

    Hi Joe, congrats on how well you managed to keep your release schedule on rail for this Trilogy. I am actually one of these weirdos that waits for it to be entirely done before starting to read it… so your dedication is greatly appreciated ! An example some other fantasy writers out there should follow… Meanwhile I am re(re)reading you other masterpieces 🙂 Still loving them as when first discovered. And should you want any advice on what to write next… Mmm, maybe a prequel to the First Law ? Bye

  • An ambivalent fan says:

    I’d just like to say that I haven’t even read this progress report but I’m using it to test scrolling inside a textbox in my game. Much better than lipsum.

  • An ambivalent fan says:

    Your apostrophes are weird and my font doesn’t have a glyph for them. Just in case you wanted to know.

    Can’t wait for the book by the way!

  • Jack Collins says:

    “The Wisdom of Crowds” is an epic title, good choice.

  • Marco says:

    Thanks Joe for the update. They really are very much appreciated.

  • Yury says:

    >> the toppling of statues which was written a couple of years ago but now looks like almost too on-the-nose commentary about the present moment.

    Maybe you could post these cut/redone parts on your site?
    Was it a statue of Bayaz?

  • Roger says:

    As per what to do next, I think it would be great if you repeated the pattern of writing three standalones after the trilogy, focusing in new unexplored parts of the Circle of the World (Ghurkul, the Old Empire, Starikland, Suljuk, the Thousand Islands, Thond,…)

    One question: did you already had in mind the essentials of Best Served Cold when including Prince Orso in LAOK, or when mentioning Monza in BTAH? If you decide what to do next in the next couple of months, will you have time to include in The Wisdom of Crowds some scenes, characters or descriptions linking it to your next work?

  • Sam says:

    Oddly I look forward to your progress reports, maybe that says something about me…?
    Anywho, September can’t come fast enough.

  • Mark says:

    Thank you Lord Grimdark. Your next offering… standalone novels, short stories, ‘graphic’ sex and violence novels, anything incorporating ‘death with your own entrails’… just serve it up cold.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Joeland, huh? Has a nice ring to it.

    I’d need to write quite a few more first…

    I do indeed read these comments…

    Twerker, Richard,
    Honestly, not the biggest fan of prequels. You tend to get them when people run out of better ideas…

    It’s more about a breadth of reaction to events than a change in the events themselves.

    Yeah, certainly when doing the final edits on LAOK I was quite far along with Best Served Cold so I could set a few things up, and I guess I may have just been thinking about a few elements when I was proof-reading BTAH so I could sneak a quick reference in there…

    It says you are a person of high taste and refinement.

  • Sam G says:

    I was reading the comments and thought to myself, when did I write about naming a continent after Joe Abercrombie?
    Is that why it is said never have two characters of the same name in a book?
    But now that the other Sam said that I wish I thought of that earlier…

  • Sean says:

    Great to hear progress going on the right direction, bet you’ll want another break from the first law world after the third book is done.

  • Pharcee says:

    Joe – You’re the best. Period.

    While A Song of Ice & Fire opened me up to reading fantasy, The Blade Itself ruined the genre for me.

    It’s been years and I still ask myself before diving into a book, “how does this compare to Joe’s work?” I know I shouldn’t say it, so I’ll write it, it’s all shit compared to your work. Brilliant, completely brilliant. And having Steven Pacey for the audiobooks are amazing.

    A true master class in writing and reading.

    I have to ask, again, but will you ever have a book/story/new material with Logan? For me, the Ninefingers is my absolute favorite character throughout readingdom.

    I know you’ve said it multiple times, you don’t like prequels and prequels are what you write when you don’t have anything left to write about, but damn, brother, seems as though a lot of your fans want it. So it’s not really about the lack of material, but your fans want more material. Look at it this way so you don’t feel as though you ran out of material. You wrote these characters so well that people want more from them and about them.

    So if you can, please give a fan, who purchased all your books and audiobooks, an answer to this question: will we see more of Logan Ninfingers aka The Bloody Nine aka The Great Leveler aka “a brute of a Northman?”

    Had to include the additional monikers to avoid some weird “cross your fingers” voodoo on answering in a vague sort of way.

    Looking forward to reading and listening to more of your work.

  • Chris says:

    It would be great to have some more standalone books focusing on the lives of central characters. Nicomo Cosca and the history of The Company of the Gracious Hand for example.

  • Lee Davis says:

    Hi Joe. I cannot wait for the new one, A Little Hatred was awesome.
    I am going to pitch in with a request for ‘next ideas’. My favourite character of yours has always been Monza Murcatto. She gets a mention or two here and there in other books, but I would love to see what happens to her after the events at the end of Best Served Cold. Plus I am dying to know how Shenkt fits into the whole ‘plan’. His line-“We do not kneel!” – is up there as one of my favourites from all your books, alongside ‘You can never have too many knives.’
    Cheers Joe

  • Jeff A. says:


    If you don’t give me closure on The Bloody Nine I’ll hunt you down.

    If you don’t kill Gorst is the most badass way possible, (he cuts down 20 men before a bird shits in his mouth, causing him to choke,) I’ll hunt you down.

    If I don’t see Javre in book two scissoring with Rikke… I’ll probably be disappointed.

    Either way, do better!

    Kind regards,

    Jeff A.
    Hunter of Authors who fuck up stories

  • Luke says:

    Hi Joe,

    I pre-ordered from Waterstones shortly after this blog post, and have just received a notification from Goldsboro Books about getting the book. Which one should I get?? Is there one that is better than the other, or no difference?

    Huge fan,


  • James A says:

    Very much looking forward to listening to The Trouble With Peace. Your books and Steven Pacey’s voice are an unbeatable combination.

  • Aimee says:

    Thanks for the update! I am chomping at the bit for this book. Was excited and pleased to read “A Little Hatred”. I am ever impressed with your character development and the changes you make in regards to where the story is focused and on whom. Truly a huge fan! I have read every book in this world at least 3 times and always find myself satisfied. 🙂 Great work!

  • Randy Lawson says:

    Love your work, have all of your books, huge fan here in the US. But…..I have to be honest, the title “The Wisdom of Crowds” doesnt do it for me. Sounds like a title to be found in the Business/Finance section of the bookstore. Oh wait, it’s already there!

    Sure hope for a different title before release. (But I will buy it and read it regardless! 🙂 )

  • Howie says:

    I recently heard Anthony and Joe Russo on a podcast (Empire magazine podcast) saying they’re looking for their Lord of the rings…and it got me thinking I would love to see what they, and you, would do with a first law movie trilogy! Any chance of an adaptation/collaboration with them?

  • Steel Vidah says:

    A follow up trilogy on Shattered Sea would be most appreciated…

    But whatever comes, I’m looking forward for it…

  • Nasser says:

    It would be the fulfilment of a decade long dream to see the books written on the First Law world turned into movies or television series (in the scale of GOT). Sand Dan Glokta is a character second to none in the ocean of Fantasy genre.

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