Progress Report May ’17

May 30th, 2017

Wow, just let me waft away the cobwebs and clear a mountain of tumbleweed off the stoop on this here blog of mine.  Feels these days like I make a post, I look away, I look back and it’s five months later.

I’ve had a house move and assorted other life stuff to be getting on with, as one does, as well as a few non-book projects ticking over, but work on the books continues pretty satisfactorily.  For those of you who did not catch my last progress report (I am ashamed to admit it was made at the end of August last year), I’m in the midst of writing a trilogy set in the first law world some thirty years after the Blade Itself, so maybe fifteen after Red Country.  The central characters are new but a lot of familiar faces crop up in the background.  Mostly takes place in the Union and the North, and so picks up the threads of the first trilogy a little more directly than the standalone books did, as the world (or parts of it, at any rate) moves into a more industrial era.

Looking back at that August post you’ll see my plan for these books was to try and draft all three before thinking about getting the first ready for publication, which given these are full length 180,ooo word adult books is extremely ambitious.  It’ll mean a long wait for the first book but hopefully a regular publishing schedule thereafter, no unforeseen glitches in the release dates and, most importantly, a trilogy that’s as cohesive and well-finished as I can manage.  I’d hate to publish a book, get half way through the next one and think, balls, wouldn’t it have been great if I’d done x/set up y/changed character z.

The trouble with this plan is there’s always pressure to publish new books, and you’re aware that new releases is what pushes your backlist sales, and no one wants to spend too long out of the marketplace and risk their hard-earned profile gradually decaying, so when you suddenly leap back on stage TA DA! no one gives a shit any more.  So there’s a balance to be struck between the desire to get it as good as possible and the need to just get it out. I know we all like to think of artistic concerns as the only things that truly matter but, well, you have to be realistic, right?  There’s no point writing brilliant books if you lose the support of publishers, the interest of booksellers and the attention of readers.

But, for the time being I’m sticking with the plan and seeing where it takes me.  Each book’s in three parts, so nine in total for the trilogy, and I’ve now drafted four, which is to say all of book one and a third of book two, around 250,000 words so far.  It’s rough, and will need a lot of work when done, but it’s the revision and refinement that I generally most enjoy, and so far I’m pretty pleased with the way it’s shaping up.

Still, there’s a lot to do, and even once it’s finished there’s at least six months between hand in and publication, so I’m sorry to say you shouldn’t expect a new book from me any time soon.  Hey!  In the meantime, you could always buy the other ones again.  Just sayin…

Posted in progress by Joe Abercrombie on May 30th, 2017.

89 comments so far

  • mark laskin says:

    We’ll wait. Just bring it HARD when you are ready.

  • Etienne says:

    Thanks for the update, Joe. Don’t worry about it; the back-catalogue is eminently re-readable and will keep us going for a while.

  • slimsized says:

    keep up the good work man, take your time , do it right ! thanks for the update <3

  • Brittany Abel says:

    Hey Joe, I’ve been reading your books since the beginning. It’s good to have an update so I can continue to recommend your backlist to new readers. Take your time! We’ll all still be here when you’re finished.

    Thanks for being awesome!
    (Bookseller @ BN in the US)

  • Trev says:

    You have to be realistic, right?

    — Love it

    Gives me some time to re-read and enjoy the moments I recall again, and find some new ones !

    Thanks for the update

  • Dave says:


    Thanks for the update and thanks for doing what you do, however you think to do it best. I was late to the First Law but so glad that I finally picked it up. Really happy to hear this is forthcoming, whenever it gets here.

  • Jan Foley says:

    I have bought and read every single one of your books. I can assure you, I will wait. I’d much rather wait a few extra years and get something as good as First Law, than get a book a year that feels like it’s been churned out to satisfy publishers. You have a high enough profile that nobody is going to stop reading your books, even if they take a bit of time to come out. And if we KNOW the trilogy is finished, we’ll not be afraid to start it for fear we’ll be left dangling with an unfinished series.

  • Sacha Bea says:

    I can say with confidence that if anyone has read your books, they will be excited and ready for the next ones – whenever they come out!

    You’re stories are amazing because of the uniqueness and depth of the characters. We know that to write stories like yours, it takes time! And the wait is worth it.

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us! You rock!

    Cheers from Canada,
    Sacha Bea

  • The Doleman says:

    By a bizarre coincidence, I just looked at your blog yesterday and thought “bloody hell, it’s been a while”. I had just finished re-reading “The Heroes”. Delighted to hear there’s a first law trilogy in the pipeline. You can never have enough Abercrombie books… 😉

  • Lukin says:

    Cant wait. Ive recommended your books to many people, and am proud to say ive brought you some new fans. My wife unfortunately is too squeamish for all the torture. I just hope you are able to get stephen pacey back for the audible versions.

    Thanks for the amazing stories.


  • Esther says:

    Glad to hear there is more on the way. I love your writing!

  • John says:

    Thanks for the update. Read your short story collection. Whet my appetite. Looking forward to whenever…..

  • Alan Saul says:

    I have all of your books and look forward to the next trilogy.I can wait for the trilogy to be finished, but not too long.

  • Ian Tarry says:

    Thanks for update and keep at it. Rather have the finished books as good as you can make them and I prefer them all released near to each other so the wait is long between books as it’s a killer waiting for that last book in a series. Love the old stuff so that’ll keep us going at the moment.

  • Ian Tarry says:

    Thanks for update and keep at it. Rather have the finished books as good as you can make them and I prefer them all released near to each other so the wait isn’t​ as long between books as it’s a killer waiting for that last book in a series. Love the old stuff so that’ll keep us going at the moment.

  • Andy Kirkendall says:

    Dear Sir,

    As an author myself (although of very different kind of books), I know how much is involved. Your books are certainly among the best of their kind, and I wouldn’t want you to publish anything that you weren’t happy with. I will try to make some time this summer (as I finish, I hope, my own book #3) to re-read my favorites (which, I will admit so far, have been the stand-alones). Best to you, Andy Kirkendall

  • Joe Lindley says:

    Hope you’re up in Leeds signing again when the first one’s out… you can never have too many signed books

  • Axle says:

    Take as long as you need. I prefer to binge read a series, so a definite schedule will ensure I pick up the first book on release. (You can blame the ongoing 6 year wait for the next book of an author-who-shall-not-be-named for this habit of mine).
    I hope we also get a story thread from Gurkhul. I would love to read what Ferro has been doing.

  • Matthew says:

    Best news in a while. Take your time, I can read Red Country over and over and love it just the same every time.

  • Stuart Walker says:

    +1 for Pacey doing the audio. And please, come to somewhere in Oxford when the new stuff is released and do a signing. It will give me a good excuse to buy all the entire back catalogue, along with the new book, as long as you sign them all for me?
    Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say he knows how to write a book.

  • Yay! A problem update from Joe that isn’t restricted to a ridiculously short character limit!

    And cheers for posting it, and glad to hear everything is still going to plan. I figure you’ve plenty of Goodwill among readers so a couple of years out shouldn’t hurt. 🙂

  • Phil says:

    Thanks for the update. I’m very much looking forward to getting back into the story again. I have to admit I’m anxious to find out what happens to the bloody nine. If the story picks up 15 years later then that means Logan will be an old man:(

  • Andy says:

    Into the hibernation pod it is then…

  • Dozie says:

    We gat your back Joe! Fingers crossed though.

  • Val says:

    Thank you, thank you! The new characters will have to be special to replace my favourites. Just saying….

  • Brian Malbon says:

    Put out a hardcover of Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of kings like you did with The blade itself and I’ll buy it again. In the meantime the Sistine chapel probably took sone time to paint too

  • Makool says:

    Only checked this for an update yesterday and had to leave not knowing what was happening with the new trilogy.
    Make it worth the wait joe

  • Mark says:

    No rushing, but I’ve read every Abercrombie-like dark-fantasy book I could find. There have been some good books, including Lawrence’s Red Sisters; Luke Scull’s “Grim Company”; and Alex Marshall’s “The Crimson Empire.” However, most of the grim-dark stuff just doesn’t even come close to anything Joe’s written. I’ve come to a point where I started finishing up The Wheel of Time out of sheer boredom. One can only hope that Rothfus or Scott Lynch can finally put something out to keep my hunger abated. Sharp Ends was really a gift last year. This year has been bleak. Well at least I have a lot of steam games to play, so it really can’t be that bad. Take all the time you need Joe. Your books have gotten me through very tough times.

  • Stu says:

    People will wait with baited breath! It’s made my day to know there’s another First Law trilogy in progress!

    Will Stephen Pacey be reading the audio books? he’s the best narrator I’ve ever heard, he brings your characters to life like no one else could (excluding you, obviously!)

  • Rosemary says:

    Thank you, Jo! That’s the best news I’ve read in a long time. I’m quite happy to re-read all of your previous books while waiting.

  • Sally says:

    Joe, I am so excited about this new trilogy you have NO idea. I would love it if you took your time as per your plan, but of course I know things don’t always work out that way! It takes as long as it takes 😀 Good luck! x

  • D J Harrison says:

    Sounds like a good plan, Joe.
    I reckon my own paltry contribution to the genre will poke its soft head out just in time for your million word blockbuster to fall from the sky and crush it.
    Ho hum, at least I’ll have something good to read as I starve in my crumbling garret.

  • Olof says:

    Mate, no period of time will keep me from reading your books when they arrive! Except death, perhaps.

    Cheers from Sweden!

  • Mark Lysaght says:

    Take as long as you like!
    The only reason I might not read the next book is if I’m DEAD.

    Look at George R.R. Martin, it’s not like GOT goes off the boil when there’s most of a decade between books!

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I will always try and get Pacey for anything First Law related. That guy is the Bayaz of narration, far as I’m concerned…

  • innokenti says:

    Thanks for the update Joe! Looking forward to what you’re cooking up, whenever it comes. Time to do a re-read of all your work then I guess.

  • Rob Weimann says:

    Dearest LordGrimdark,
    I regret to inform you that despite current works in progress, the re-re-reading of your books has kept me busy, and the amazing narrations by Steven Pacey have also helped me take on the long drives of the far country, my home, Wyoming USA. I’ve always wondered what amazing trout one might tickle up from the Whiteflow. Your works, every one of them published, I have devoured with delight and the utmost dillagence. Thank you for the updates but more importantly thank you for your writings as they have given me a place to rest in my hectic approach at life. I remain a fraction of your humble audience, royal observer of nature,
    Rob Weimann

  • Marcus says:

    I’m still just happy that we’re getting mor FL books. I can easily and patiently wait for that.

  • Christian says:

    Sounds like new trilogy breaks out like – Part 1( 2019), Part 2 ( 2020), Part 3( 2021) barring an act of God. new masterpieces I am sure. can’t wait.

  • Brendan Ding says:

    You need a movie deal 🙂

  • Twerking to Beethoven says:

    Joe, thank you very much for the update, mate. There are fantasy authors out there – one in particular (whose name I won’t mention) – who should learn how to treat their readers from you. Thank you again. I look forward to the new trilogy.

  • Darren says:

    Thanks for the update Joe,

    Music to my ears that the new trilogy will be mainly in the Union and the North
    The characters from those areas crack me up.

    If a 10th anniversary edition of Before they are hanged comes out in can guarantee you a re-buy.


  • Barnaby Whitworth says:

    Hey Joe, big fan. I was just wondering if there any other plot details you care to hint at at this time? Any at all?

  • Darque Shadeaux says:

    This is totally unacceptable.
    If you spent less time pandering to your baser desires for sleep, food and oxygen I am sure this could all be finished up by Christmas.
    The problem with self indulgent so called ‘authors’ these days is that they don’t realise that once we bought one word they wrote we own them mind, body and soul.

    In my day a writer would publish weekly and get paid by the word!
    Schnell! Schnell! Kartoffelkopf.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Well, yeah, maybe, something like that. But I try not to commit to dates until I’m at least reasonably sure I can hit em. I shall share a schedule at that point…

    Well, there’ll be swords, torture, betrayal, plots within plots, rebellion, skullduggery, musings on the nature of power and morality and a little bit of magic. This I promise you.

  • Nancy Ocean says:

    Best news I read today. Take your time, I can read Red Country again and again and enjoy it every time. Thanks for the news.

  • Fred says:

    Take your time. We trust you.

  • Anna Ekstedt says:

    We’ll wait for your next scrumptious and bloody story, dontcha worry about that. As long as the plots and character descriptions are as masterful as your previous ones, you’ll never loose your audience. Besides you use words such as “skullduggery”, that has to be rewarded in some way. Another personal favourite is “flabberghasted”. Oh, and “Claymore”.

  • Igor says:

    Thanks for the update Joe,
    being an East European reader can`t keep from asking –
    What about East? You`ve taken us north, west, even south…

  • Kevin says:

    Well I’ve got The first Law books on audible, and Shattered Sea in paperback, guess its time to switch those.

  • Craig says:

    You’re characters are so rich, the dialogue somewhat earthy, the stories complex and all with a fine finish, leaving the listener greedy for more… much like a fine wine…

    That aside, I’m more of a Pie and a Pint man myself, but more than happy to wait and excited by the prospect of a new trilogy Joe.

    One request, please have Steven Pacey narrate again for the Audio Book, your storytelling and his performances are simply magical.

    Good luck with the project and thank you

  • Joe Leonard says:

    Holy Christ, this is going to be fucking incredible. Don’t care when it comes, just knowing its coming makes me giddy as a schoolgirl.

  • Tosh says:

    So excited, a brand new trilogy! Yus.

  • Darque Shadeaux says:

    So it’s been a week, we there yet?

    There’s only so many times a fella can read about the exploits of Shay and Javre without wanting something more meaty.
    Now cease your time wasting shenanigans , stop looking at videos of cats on youtube and worrying about the possible ramifications of a hung parliament and get to work.

    Get thee to a facility!

  • Rob says:

    Add me to both the list of those who are both really excited about the prospect of a new First Law trilogy, and those who are really keen to hear some more amazing Steven Pacey narration!

  • Koadah says:

    Do you think we’ll get something before Winds of Winter? 😉

    Does anyone know, is there a limit to how many times you can suspend an Audible subscription?

    Any chance of another Sharp End or two? You know. To keep us going through the drought.

    This writing business takes way too long. Then you can finish reading the book in days.

    Are any top geezers gonna drop anything soon?

    At this point I would happily take a book one even if I knew it would be revised and reissued before book three.

    There is not much in the same class as First Law

  • Hawkeyye says:

    Not big on the idea of “moving into the industrial age,” but we shall see. Hopefully it’s a “just barely” move with hints of steam and black powder. Not big on the musket fantasy stuff but I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

  • ben kennedy says:

    Please make sure Steven Pacey narrates it!

  • Jordan says:

    Can’t wait for a new First Law Trilogy, your books became an instant favorite of mine over the years. I am also on board with Steven Pacey – the man knows how to narrate.

  • Xavier says:

    Really appreciate the way of handling a trilogy you mentioned, “cohesive and well-finished”. Wish you could find the balance there and get the best result out of it.

  • Doris says:

    Thanks for the update, seriously, Take all the time you need and do not worry we will be here.

  • Doris says:

    Oh, forgot to ask was there any games at E3 this year that got your attention? Thanks!

  • CrazyDreams says:

    I couldn’t be more excited for the next trilogy!

    Echoing the sentiments of a few other comments here, I’d also like to beg for a Steven Pacey audio version ASAP! His skills compliment your excellent work so well, it’s a real privilege to experience.

  • Nathan says:

    I would wait 100 years (biology permitting) for another trilogy as good, or better, than the First Law. Take you time, man, and keep being realistic about these things.

  • vminnear says:

    Hey Joe! I’m re-reading TFL and was reminded of just how awesome the world and characters are, so I thought I’d pop by and see what you’ve been up to. Thanks for keeping us updated. Looking forward to another series, no matter how long it may be until the next one 🙂

  • Martijn says:

    The first law trilogy gripped me like nothing did in a long while. I am waiting with anticipation for new stories in this brutal world. But take your time. No rush 😀

  • Georgia says:

    I’m rereading the First Law at the moment, 6 years after I last read it, and enjoying it just as much now as I did then (I’ve reread the stand alones several times, but only now got round to the trilogy). I don’t mind waiting for more. Over the years I’ve found other books to fall in love with, but you’re still one of my most favourite authors, and I doubt that will change even in another 6 years. “Patience is the chief of virtues.” ~ Joe Abercrombie, Before They Are Hanged.

  • Richard says:

    I am really looking forward to this series and what has become of the world of the First Law. I would love to see something from you right away, but I am more than willing to wait for a new series that you are happy with.

    I totally agree with Craig, please have Steven Pacey as narrator. I have listened to all your books on audio and he is excellent.

  • Dolores says:

    Hey Joe,(shades of Jimi Hendrix and AI)
    I am finishing up, The Blade Itself, and I love it so much; plus I know that I will love ALL the other books you’ve written because I know. I am that terrible(Not) thing a voracious reader and you are my new favorite author, I have many.You also have Rothfuss,Lynch, Barclay,David Gemmell,RIP, and GRRM,listed on your space and you buy books from Subterranean Press my favorite online bookstore for year’s.
    You’re likable and no one can say different in my hearing.
    You were suggested to me by a favorite young librarian friend of mine , Jake hutton, who loves your books too.
    I’m spreading the word.Oh! I’m also waiting with baited breath for your new books but since I’m a newbie I have all Summer, Fall and Winter to finish all you’ve written. (along with the other books I’m reading which are serious non-fiction works and old lovely favorites for peace–Joan Aiken and Diana Wynne Jones. I recommend them to your children and to you and miss Lou; her photos are more than awesome…). Thanks, I haven’t been this excited since I discovered Patrick Rothfuss and Diana Wynne Jones.

  • Lord Ruler says:

    I think he said Union and old faces in background, but all I heard was GLOKTA!

  • Philip Brandes says:

    I have to thank you, I’ve read every one of your books. Most I’ve read twice. I can’t get enough of the stories and characters you’ve created. I have recommended your work to countless friends and family, always my first when giving out reading idea’s. I even went as far as naming my child Logen. It makes me a little sad to know that I won’t be reading anything new by you for a long time but I’ll stay excited knowing something great is to come.

  • Sonofhades says:

    To be honest, I am patient to wait for anything you will publish in the future. First Law Trilogy started as a pretty generic fantasy story (wizard + sidekicks on a quest to save the realm), but it was well written and the story had some interesting characters.

    So I read the first book that had been translated into my native language. Unfortunately the next books of the trilogy had not been translated at the time. By mistake, I borrowed a copy (in English) of The Heroes from my local library since the nice librarian thought it was the 2nd of the series. Well, that book just blew my mind – especially the chapter “The Casualties”. That must have been the first time in my 44 years of existence (so far) that I had to return to the beginning of the chapter to read it again.

    Since then I’ve read every book you’ve published and intend to do so in the future as well. Take care.

  • RickyPee says:

    RR Martin stopped producing after Book 5…4 years ago? Then I found your works and gobbled up all 9…then oblivion! Hopefully, HBO isn’t planning a series to ruin my life again!

  • Say one thing for... says:

    Very excited about this – best of luck with the writing!

  • Gartrel says:

    Man, you have written some great stories-write faster please.

    This is my youngest boys web address.

  • James Daly says:

    Hello Joe,
    Totally loved the Half Trilogy. Looking forward to reading the new books in Ninefingers’ world. I really enjoyed the spin-off The Heroes as it was gritty, with lots of humour and a good view of the world from another perspective.

  • Alba says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated! In love with your characters and writing skills, I read all your books and I’m really glad to hear there’s going to be a new trilogy. I also believe that finishing to write it before starting the publishing is a great idea, so I don’t mind waiting now and having them all later in a shorter time. Good luck for this new project Mr Abercrombie, looking forward to it! Hope you’ll keep us updated on the progress, take care.

  • Tobias Rohde says:

    F***k Yeah.
    I am so looking forward to it.
    Loved all your Stand Alones, nur i am Really curious to hear more of the war of the magi and the bigger Picture… will there ever be a Book wehre Khalul and the Second magi Play a telling Charachter role?
    I Really would like to hear an UnBIASed Version of the war of the magi…

  • George says:

    Mr Abercrombie, I just want to say that you are marvelous writer and First Law universe is so great and tempting
    I hope this new trilogy will bring me as much emotions as gave me another six books.
    I hope Sand,logen,Monza,Cole and others will be in those books widely and also new interesting characters

    Wish you all the best

  • Shamul says:

    “There’s no point writing brilliant books if you lose the support of publishers, the interest of booksellers and the attention of readers.”

    Hear, hear. Hopefully someone down in New Mexico is paying attention.

  • brandon says:

    This is great news! I can’t wait! Steven Pacey for the audio again, Please Sir!

  • misomiso says:


    How about a different end to the shattered Sea trilogy?

    Skara goes to Vansterland, claims the queendom in the wake of Grom’s death, and with Scaer’s blessing creates a title Champion of Vansterland, decided by trial by combat, the winner of which gains the rule ship of Vansterland and commander of ALL the Queen’s army.

    King Druin becomes king of Getland, Stekenhouse and the Fens etc.

    Skara could then work on producing a daughter to marry Druin, and thus unite the Shattered Sea under one throne.

    The real power structure would be, champion of Vantersland as leader of the armies, the golden Queen as the economic powerhouse, Skara as the figurehead, and Yarvi as intelligence ‘secretary of State’.

    Pretty neat huh?

  • Drew says:

    “move into a more industrial era” — absolutely brilliant evolution for the series. Stoked!!!!

  • ColinJ says:

    I’m re-reading The First Law at the moment and have just started LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS. I’m enjoying it much more the second time, picking up so many details and moments I kind of missed before when I was just trying to get through it.

    My hopes for this new trilogy? That we get more of Shev and Javre in there. I absolutely loved those characters.

  • Dan Tobias says:

    Take your time. Cause i know it will be worf it.

  • Chris Lilford says:

    Cannot wait for your next trilogy, have loved all your first law books to date. High time a film or TV company started putting your books on film, I think they would be a serious contender to the game of thrones series.

  • Pete Walker says:

    Take your time. Just make sure it’s finished before I go back to the mud.

  • Greg says:

    Your books/story telling altogether are fantastic ! With Steven pacey narrating, it makes your audio books 2nd to none ! I love all you characters for many reasons and want to know what happens with many characters but most of all I want to know what is to come off ferro, yulwe, shankt and of course the general scenario between bayaz and calul ! Sorry for any misspelled words. I like reading books but listening to books like Abercrombies, read by pacey, is a rare treat, similar to others like the walking drum, city of thieves, the last Cornwell’s saxson and Grail quest series, happens and Leonard, Robert e Howard’s ( brekenridge Elkins ) short stories and a few others I just can’t remember now. Thanks to such authors and the complimenting narrators, an art of story telling is reborn, that may have died in this visual era.

  • Greg says:

    I ment the audio books of hap and Leonard series the narrator of the century trilogy and Robert e Howard’s Bear Creek collection s, volumes 1&2. I’m sure there are others that I left out and have yet to find but these are a few of the best! I’m so appreciative of these narrators and the critters as well. Can’t wait for the second 1st law trilogy

Add Your Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *