The Heroes UK MMP

May 7th, 2012

A box full of UK mass market paperbacks of The Heroes have come through my door.  They look a little something like this:

So a good deal smaller than the trade paperback, as one might expect, and though it has 611 pages rather than 502, about the same thickness.  Also a little bit paler, pretty much exactly the same colour as the Best Served Cold cover, in fact, for those afficionados of parchment tones among you (no need to be embarrassed about it).  Some tinkering on the blood spatter, a change to the design of the title (more commercial, was how it was explained to me).  And, of course, the addition of the little Sunday Times Bestselling Author thingy, because, I don’t know whether I mentioned this at all, The Heroes hit the Sunday Times Hardcover Bestseller List when it came out last January.  No.3, not sure whether I mentioned that.  On the bestseller list.  No.3.  Between 2 and 4.  Just sayin’.  Oh, that round white thing is a sticker with a quote from George RR Martin.  I hear he’s quite significant in the field of gritty fantasy at the moment…

Amazon says they’re available from 10th May, so I daresay you’ll see them turning up in your local bricks and mortar around that time as well.


Posted in news by Joe Abercrombie on May 7th, 2012.

31 comments so far

  • Curtis says:

    What are doing, playing about? (Uberfan cracks imaginary whip). By the way Joe, looks good.

  • What’s the thinking behind the tinkering with the blood splatter? The Hardcover is slightly different too I notice. Who decides that anyway? Is the original artist involved, or is it just the publisher making what they consider minor improvements?

    It’s a great cover whatever version you look at.

  • A-drain says:

    I love those covers man.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I guess someone thought it was more realistic without those gooey splatters. Generally these things are decided in meetings involving editor and various sales folk, commercial considerations being uppermost. Editor then briefs designer, and I usually get a look before it’s done.

  • periklis says:

    @Joe Abercrombie, you mentioned a short story (I think the second short you wrote after “The Fool Jobs”) published in a special edition (I think it was for Waterstones ?) of “The Heroes” last year. Will this short ever be reprinted?
    (By ever, I meant before “A Red Country” is published…)

  • FlyMonkey says:

    I have a hardcover with the parchment-y sleeve and i have to say Joe, that your books are some of the nicest ones to hold while reading. just thought I’d throw that out there

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    It’ll certainly be reprinted in an anthology, when that happens, which will be when there are enough stories, so not soon. No other plans to reprint it, as far as I’m aware.

    Not everyone likes the content, but no one ever complains about the FEEL of my books in the hand…

  • Nick C says:

    Nice cover Joe! However, I am far more impressed with the speed that you seem to be consuming your Scotch! I see one bottle at what looks to be 3/4 down. Famed soldier of fortune, diner at the tables of Dukes and ex-captain of the thousand swords Nicomo Costa may have a bit of competition on his hands!

  • Thanks Joe! I find it quite amusing that someone raised the point in a meeting that a more realistic blood smear would be more commercially viable than a gooey splatter. 🙂 It’s nice that they care though, which is apparent in the high standard of covers.

  • ColinJ says:

    Say one thing about Joe Abercrombie, say he has the most handsome books on the shelves.

  • periklis says:

    @Joe Abercrombie, thanks so much for answering, I’ll be looking forward to reading more, grim n’gritty, short stories then!

  • Ravenous says:

    Not to add fuel to the fire, but I actually perfer your work to GRR Martin.
    Mr. Martin spins a fine yarn, however, his stories seem to get larger and more ungainly, right when they should be comming back toward some type of resolution (kind of like this sentence). I like your tighter more focused style.

    P.S. you can blame me if your hats no longer fit.

  • AntMac says:

    I always read in the bus/train, on my way to work, and I have had comments about the covers befopre from people, always favourable. These are the British covers I mean.

  • Thaddeus says:

    How much of hand do you have in the cover design?

  • bta says:

    And the instructions go out to the bookshops – “More shelf space for Mr Abercrombie!”
    They’ll need a lot more come October.

    Something that’s puzzled me, a publishing thing rather than a writing thing and the mention above of the short story reminded me of it. (And damn good it was, too.)

    There was the ‘standard’ ed. of ‘Heroes’ and the ed. with the s/s included, yet they both have the same ISBN. I’d always thought that the whole idea of ISBNs was to distinguish between books of different content/revised eds, etc. Yet this one doesn’t.
    Any idea why?

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Hah. That’s an old bottle. Glencadam 20 cask strength, in case you’re wondering. The other one’s a Bowmore 12.

    I have a fair bit of input, especially into the UK covers. If you click on the artwork category you’ll probably come up with a set of posts about the Heroes cover, and I daresay I’ll do some about the Red Country cover in due course.

    That’s a very interesting question. The whole area of ISBNs is quite a complex one, so it may take me a while to fully answer:

    I’ve no idea.

  • Michael says:

    How many copies is a ‘box full’ and what do you usually do with them?

  • Thaddeus says:

    Ah, thanks, Mr. Abercrombie. I’ll check that link when I’ve got a bit more time.

    It must be a bit weird to write the entire thing almost solo (I know you get feedback from readers, but the writing is down to you) and then someone else, probably a stranger, does the front cover [which many people will judge it by, despite the saying].

  • Chevi 77 says:

    Got my copy on Saturday with the lovely GRR Martin sticker on!! Amazon made my Bank Holiday weekend!!
    I have to admit, I don’t know if for “A/Red Country” I will wait for the paperback version. Damned good writing of yours to blame, Joe…

  • Weedypants says:

    “afficionados of parchment tones” (!!!) …

    Joe, is your wit sort of like a bucket that only gets more and more full the more you empty it? Sort of, a magic bucket?

    As an aspiring writer I occasionally panic … and then I remind myself, ‘You don’t have to be as funny as Joe Abercrombie to be successful.’

  • Jacob says:

    Grah! Here in America we had to settle for the less artistic version. Even the new Locke Lamora cover is dull compared to the original hardcover…

    To E-Bay!

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I get 20. I usually give a few away but I’ve still got some hardcovers and trade paperbacks of the Heroes hanging around. Last year we auctioned off a load of books for charity. We’ll probably do the same towards the end of this year too.

    I know the designer pretty well, the map artist not at all and the sword/axe artist a little bit. It’s generally exciting seeing what artists come up with, since I have very little artistic talent myself.

    I’m a magic funny-bucket.

  • Ripper says:

    Is there any way to get this in the US, or do I need to order it from Amazon UK? I have all the sweet covers of the First Law, as well as my UK version of Best Served Cold (graciously signed by Lord Abercrombie!), and I’m vain enough to want them all to match.

  • Ravenous says:

    The sword/axe artisted did a great job depicting the weapons. Much better than the way fantasy weapons are often portrayed. They are a lot closer to the weapons that were historically used by the cultures that seem to be the inspiration of countries/characters.

    The bearded axe for the Northmen

    The side sword for Monza

    And unless I am mistaken, it appears to be a bastardsword, with an Oakeshott type xvii or xviii blade.

  • Ravenous says:

    On the Heros cover

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Book depository may work out cheaper once you factor in delivery. But yes, you’d have to import the UK editions.

    For the UK covers the artist’s name is Didier Graffet and he’s something of a weapons expert. We give him a very detailed brief, and one element of that is that the weapons need to look like they mean business…

  • Ravenous says:

    Well he did a great job! Especially with Monza’s Calvez, it fits her perfectly. So many times people overlook the difference between a sidesword (or cut and thrust sword) and a Rapier. The sideswords were military swords that also could be worn in public. Rapiers were civilian swords often more flash than substance, generally only good for duels or posturing, if anything at all.

    Looks like he based his drawing on Windlass’ Sidesword model, a very good entry level sword.

  • Jacob says:


    How much does an intricate cover design for the likes of BSC and The Heroes cost the author/publisher/whomever pays for it ultimately?

  • Doug says:

    Ordered my copy of Red County for the UK. I can’t wait the extra month for it to come out in the US.

  • Iain says:


    I am ashamed to say it but after being on release and on my bookshelf for the past 17 months I have only just got around to reading The Heroes. Quite brilliant. And what an utter shit Bayaz is! Yes, I know he is centuries old and views all mankind as his plaything to be used for his own ends in an eternal-ish war, but boy is he one smugly annoying gobshite.

    By the way have you ever read a book called The Killer Amgels about Gettysburg? I read it years ago and it kept popping into my head as Inwas reading The Heroes.

    Finally, you really should try a good Irish whiskey such as Bushmills. The 21 year old malt is wonderful.

  • Alexander says:


    I am currently reading ” The Heroes” and I have to say it is a remarkably good read. The character development is superb, the fight sequences are vivid and suspenseful and overall the book has a great feeling to it. In fact I am attempting to write my first novel right now and your writing had a large part in motivating me to start my own novel.

    I know this is a bit of a long shot but I was wondering if you had any advice to give me on writing a successful and cohesive fantasy novel and creating a world for it to take place in.

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