The Heroes

August 25th, 2009

With Best Served Cold already three months out (can it really be so long?), perhaps the time has come to talk a little about my next book. Like Best Served Cold it’s intended to be a semi-standalone, which can be read on its own (hopefully) but has a few characters and settings in common with the First Law.

It is called:

The Heroes

Both because the action centres around a ring of standing stones called the Heroes, and because it’s about heroism and that (meant semi-ironically, of course). It mostly takes place over the course of three days, and is the story of a single battle for control of the North. Think Lord of the Rings meets A Bridge Too Far, with a sprinkling of Band of Brothers and Generation Kill. It’s about war, you get me? Principally it follows the (mis)adventures of six assorted persons on both sides and different levels of command, whose paths intersect during the course of the battle in various fateful, horrible, wonderful, surprisingly violent, surprisingly unviolent, and hilarious ways. With the Northmen: a veteran losing his nerve who just wants to keep his crew alive, an ex-Prince determined to claw his way back to power by any means necessary, a young lad determined to win a place in the songs for himself. With the Union: A depressive swordsman who used to be the king’s bodyguard, a profiteering standard-bearer, and the venomously ambitious daughter of the Marshal in command. But of course a fair few familiar faces show up on both sides…

I’m just finishing up the first draft of the second part of five, so two fifths of the way through, about 85,000 words in. Which means the whole thing is looking like about 220,000 words – similar length to Best Served Cold and Last Argument of Kings. Really want to write some shorter books one of these days. REALLY want to. Provided I keep writing relatively smoothly (which is by no means a certainty given that we’ve got a massive building project starting over the next few months), the whole first draft will hopefully be done spring next year. A fair bit of editing will no doubt be required, though, meaning that an October publication is just too tight. For small fry like me November through January is pretty much the zone of death, which means February 2011 is probably the soonest you guys can expect to see it lighting up the shelves, alas.

That’ll mean 20 months between books, which is a fair bit more than I’d like in general but, hey, maybe I’ll be able to get a head start on the next thing (yeah, right). It also means no book from me in 2010, though I’ll have a short story out in an anthology. So, the headlines:

The Heroes. It’s about War. February 2011 (hopefully).

Posted in announcements, news, process, progress by Joe Abercrombie on August 25th, 2009. Tags: , ,

46 comments so far

  • Neth says:

    which anthology? Is it the one from Pyr about sword and socerery?

    I'm listening to a Quentin Tarrintino interview in the background, and as I read the description of your next book I kept thinking: 'Abercrombie does a fantasy book about war, Tarantino-style'. That is a book I really want to read.

  • Tobi A says:

    YOU ARE SUCH A BIG TEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Why tell us about this now if the earliest we could ever have it is Feb 2009? I'm going to die of anxiety attacks way before then now.
    I feel sick waiting for it already 🙁

  • Ceberuss says:

    Yay! Very good news 🙂
    I've read the first law trilogy in one stretch and I loved it! And i still have Best Served Cold on my to read pile. I'm trying to save it a bit …
    But waiting 'till februari 2011 will be loooong 😉 'u have to be realistic about some things' (hehe)

    greeting from a Belgian fan!

  • Anonymous says:

    The Best Served Cold finally made it to our library, so I am picking it up tonight, and now this bit of awsome news! Wow, an Abercrombie day for me!

  • Renai LeMay says:

    Looking forward to it!

  • Anonymous says:

    I swear to God, Buddha, Allah, Brahma and the Big Bang, if we don't find out what happened to Nine-Fingers I am going to KILL SOMETHING! (Sorry, just finished re-reading Best Served Cold, got the Norse blood going).

  • Miche says:

    Send it to Brandon Sanderson. Tell him what you want and it should be done in about three weeks, then everyone's happy

  • Patrick says:

    I can haz map yet?

    Also, is there a name to your fantasy world? The Big Circle? The First Law? What is the entire book series going to be called?

    Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth, Song of Ice and Fire, Tales of the Malazan, etc. etc.

    What's yours?

  • Anonymous says:

    Don't listen to that other anonymous person! Listen to me, the good one two secretive to put a fake name down!! If you reveal whether or not Logen survives that drop, I will punch a kitten in the face. One of the best parts of that book is the friggen ambiguity of the ending. But I'm sure you knew that.

    Anyhow, The Heroes sounds awesome. I must say that Shivers' role in Best Served Cold was a little too similar to the Bloody Nine's for me (sorry), and I'm glad to see that there are no characters quite like what we've seen from you already in this new one (from what you say).

    Happy writing, and good luck with this project!

  • Neth,
    The anthology is from Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan, but I don't think it's actually Pyr publishing it.

    Tobi A,
    It's all part of my plan to kill you with anxiety. Just imagine – I might miss the deadline…

    Greetings from a British writer.

    For me, every day is an Abercrombie day. Just imagine how great MY life is…

    You will not be disappointed (I hope).

    That's exactly what I am doing, but the guy's got a hell of a queue now.

    Rereading best served cold already? I like you.

    Rob Barret
    DAMN. HOT.

    The Circle of the World. The overarching series title is "The Song of the Sword of Time of the Fallen."

    I punch a kitten in the face every morning. Makes me feel like a big man.

  • Anonymous says:

    Nice 🙂 I was hoping for an update on your new book! BSC is sooo 2009…
    You say you'd like to write more, but really considering the move and baby and promotionstuff, i think it's amazing your at 2/5th of the rough draft already

    grts, ErikNL

  • Stephen says:

    I held out as long as I could, and finally cracked open my signed copy of Best Served Cold this week. 2011 until the next one? Write faster!!! Please?

    Any chance we'll get to see more of Black Dow?

  • red snow says:

    How are you going to win awards in 2010? "Best author who hasn't published of the year"? There's probably gonna be a lot of competetion for that one 😉

    Thanks for the info on the next book though. Is this set after BSC or concurrent with it?

  • Anonymous says:

    Cheers for telling us about the new book, it does sound awesome! The whole message was good except the typo at the bottom about 2011, obviously you had got confused and put vodka over your cereal this morning (i understand completely) now if we can just have a brief moment of clarity, it's 2010 you mean isn't it?
    Yep i thought so.
    And stop putting your spirits next to the milk in the fridge man!

    On a serious note, cheers for introducing me to a whole new type of book, i had genuinly never read a fantasy book before yours and it has changed my whole way of thinking on the genre!

  • brian says:

    I hate you Joe. I hate your books and what they do to me. I hate that I put off reading "Best Served Cold" b/c I knew that once I started I was that much closer to the end. I hate that once I started, each page brought me that much closer to being done and then having nothing more.

    But thanks for the news – something to look forward to. I mean, it's only 1.5 years away (lets see, if I only re-read 3 pages/day from "the first law"…)

  • preita says:

    Already I am drooling with anticipation. DROOLING (Yeah, I should probably get that looked at).


  • Anonymous says:

    loved the first law trilogy and best served cold. can't wait for heroes to come out. but i have to ask, when are we gonna have some character POV's from all those guys down south in the Gurkish empire. I guess Ferro could count as one but mostly the POV's we get are from characters in the Union or from the North. Regardless, love all the books. keep writing.

  • Anonymous says:

    Is the bodyguard Bremer dan Gorst?

  • Slynt says:

    I have almost finished 'Best Served Cold' .. trying to not finish it too fast, as I haven't savoured a book this way since, well, 'A Feast for Crows'. What an awesome book – I must say, the new characters – Monza, Friendly, Morveer – are better than any character from 'The First Law'; but it also cool to see Shivers, the King of the Union, Vitari and the great Nicomo Cosca … … although I found that it was maybe too many cameos .. but congratulations none the less, the combination humor / violence in these books RAWKS my CAWK.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow that sounds really cool! Your description really gets me pumped.
    However, and I hope you don't take this the wrong way, your working title seems bland and uninspired. All your other titles have a certain ring to them, but "The Heroes"? I dunno.

  • Yulwei says:

    I must say I agree with Anonymous as much as I enjoy reading about the Northmen, Unionists and recently the Styrians I'd like to get inside the head of the Gurkish. We never got inside Ferro's head and if we did it certainly wasn't to the same degree as we did other members of the Fellowship of the Seed

  • Alex says:

    Very pleased to hear that you are at least keeping yourself out of mischief with a new book. I would just like to agree with what people said regarding the Gurkish, would love a book set down there and get inside the heads and systems of the Gurkish empire. But this up and coming look very interesting!

  • Isis says:

    I look forward to reading your short story. 🙂

    And why are there so many frikkin anonymous people here? Boooo!

  • Sudhana says:

    Wonderful, looking forward to it. Will console myself by re reading best served cold, I think I whipped through it too fast in my hunger for Monza!

  • David Wagner says:

    Sweet news. Look forward to it. I look forward to reading it after it's released in 2011, sighing with great satisfaction, and then getting back to my hobby of wondering if Dance with Dragons will ever be finished… lol…

  • Katherine says:

    This is good news for me. I've been able to resist buying and being distracted by BSC just long enough to finish my current classes and just in time to be unable to afford it. By the time I will be able to afford it again, the next class will have started and I'll be too busy to read again. Oh well. This is probably the beginning of a pattern, so 2011 for The Heroes sounds just fine. I'll be just about done with my degree by then and can have a long string of happy Abercrombie days.

  • Susanne says:

    Aieee! Ohboyohboyohboy that's– that's…a looong way off. You monstrous tease.

    Also, I can haz Nicomo Cosca, plz? Kthxbai.

  • Theology Jen says:

    See, now you've let me down and I'm going to have to break in another author for my June 2010 holiday read. You realise, once I'm gone I might never come back.

    And if I do end up loving them more than I love you, then you've only got yourself to blame, now haven't you.


  • Will says:

    Can't wait for the new book. The bad thing about your books is I read them way too fast. I always say: "okay, only two chapters, today" but I end up breezing through the whole thing in one night then bemoaning my lack of restraint. Hopefully we'll see Carlot dan Eider again, and maybe she'll even catch a break this time! …probably not 🙂 Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    Fantastic news, Joe. And your time between books beats George R.R. all to hell, so no worries.


  • Anonymous says:

    I know what I will like best about it will be all the elves!

  • nath says:

    Good to hear that you're progressing on the next book. I'm only in the middle of "Before they are hanged", so I still got something to read in the next weeks.

    Too bad there won't be anything in 2010 but then there maybe will be "A Dance with Dragons" out that year…

  • Waaaaay too far off for me to get excited (yet), but I'm certainly looking forward to it.

  • Geir says:

    Gotta say I love Shivers in Best Served Cold:) Thanks for writing such gritty and wonderful books!

    Best regards from Norway.

  • JA says:

    This book sounds awesome!

    Can't wait.

    You've become one of my top fav writers.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hmm, the "ex-prince detirmined to claw his way back to power by any means necessary" can only be either Calder or Scale, and the other two Northmen – Black Dow? The Dogman? Red Hat? Shivers? Not Ninefingers, surely? As for the Union, the "depressive swordsman who used to be the king's bodyguard" HAS to be Bremer dan Gorst, I have no idea who the "venomously ambitious daughter of the Marshall in command" could be, but the "profiteering standard bearer", could that be Brint or Jalenhorm?

  • Anonymous says:

    2010 just got a little bit longer.

  • Scottish Graeme says:

    You, sir, are single-handedly responsible for me not getting nearly drunk enough on holiday last year. How can I drink and read at the same time?

    Anyway, I'm reading "The First Law" trilogy again and I just wanted to say it's even better second time around. You and George RR have to be the two best fantasy writers around. Keep it up!

  • Anonymous says:

    I am certainly looking forward to the new book!

    I loved the first law trilogy and BSC, I read all four back to back over the course of a month. I literally couldn't wait to start on the next book after I finished one.

    Now I am at a loss trying to find something to quench my thirst for a dark, gritty and sadistictly twisted fantasy that Mr Abercrombie has excellently provided us with. 🙁

    I shall however prevail untill 2011. but it shall be hard work!
    It looks like a reread of the First Law and BSC, which I am sure will be just as entertaining the second time around.

  • Murry says:

    I can’t wait to hold a new book from you in my hands!
    I know till 2011 is still a long time, but I’m sure you will give us a story that will let us forget this lean period.
    I love “The First Law” trilogy and “Best Served Cold”. As far as I can interpret the information you gave Ninefingers will not appear as one of the main characters. But I hope he and Glokta will return in the future 😉

    And I also hope that Hollywood will soon knock on your door! I think if a capable director would bring The First Law trilogy to life it could outrun everything in this genre. Even the Lord of the Rings!

    Greetings from Germany, Murry.

  • mower says:

    it`s a long stretch till feb nxt year just reading through first law again.Is there any chance that you are going to reveal any of the fates of characters such as nine fingers and ferro, we only get snippets of this sort of thing in best served cold. It would seem you like holding people in suspense on all levels, Im not arsed though because your books are shit hot and worth the wait.

  • mower says:

    As for making the first law books into a movie I dont think they should , one reason being is the books lack of heroic characters(not a bad thing). Hollywood would completely ruin the feel of the the book by making characters like nine fingers heroic, directors nowadays havn`t got the imagination to bring a book like this to life, the characters are just to complex to bring to the screen without serious cutting.The first law trilogy is a classic book, lets keep it that way, a book not a movie.

  • I haven’t yet read Best Served Cold, but already I’m excited about the idea of The Heroes coming out. Is that weird? Probably, but I don’t care.

    Also, I kind of do and kind of don’t want Hollywood to knock on Joe’s door. I don’t because, as mentioned above, some lame producer/director combo would butcher these amazing stories. I do because I have, constantly swirling around my tiny brain, the most incredible opening sequence for The Blade Itself, and I wanna see if Hollywood sees it the same way I do 🙂

    Keep up the great work, Joe. You quite clearly rule.

  • tony says:

    i can not wait for the heroes , has to be my favorite books , keep on writing joe .

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