Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie portrait image to appear alongside the Joe Abercrombie biography.

Joe Abercrombie was born in the famous English town of Lancaster, England, on the 31st of December 1974. He was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School before studying Psychology at Manchester University. He then moved to London, finding work at a TV Post-Production company. Two years later he left to become a freelance film editor, and worked documentaries, awards shows, music videos, and concerts for artists ranging from Barry White to Coldplay.

In 2002 Joe Abercrombie began the writing of a fantasy trilogy based around the adventures of Logan Ninefingers. Completed with the help and the support of his family in 2004, and after initial rejections, The First Law trilogy (The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings) was taken onboard by Gillian Redfearn at Gollancz in 2005.

Joe now lives in North London with his wife, Lou, and his daughter, Grace. He splits his time between film editing and writing fantasy novels.

"I think the world of publishing, let alone genre publishing, is a great deal less glamorous than most people imagine. Of course the names that spring to mind are your Rowlings, Pullmans and Pratchetts, but they’re very much the exceptions. For your average sf/f release 5,000 sales might be considered a good run. Thanks to the fates, my excellent editor and publisher, and my family’s unstinting support, I’ve done a good deal better than that, and the trilogy has steadily gained ground with each book, but even so it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve even been able to consider writing as my main occupation, and I’m in a lucky minority to be able to do so."
Joe Abercrombie when interviewed by us in 2009

Joe Abercrombie books reviewed

Bibliography

  • Best Served Cold (2009)
    Springtime in Styria. And that means war. There have been nineteen years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king. War may be hell but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso's employ, it's a damn good way of making money too. Her victories have made her popular - a shade too popular for her employer's taste. Betrayed, thrown down a mountain and left for dead, Murcatto's reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die. Her allies include Styria's least reliable drunkard, Styria's most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murderer obsessed with numbers and a Northman who just wants to do the right thing. Her enemies number the better half of the nation. And that's all before the most dangerous man in the world is dispatched to hunt her down and finish the job Duke Orso started... Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.
  • The Heroes (2011)
    They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them. Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he's far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it's his own. Prince Calder isn't interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he'll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn't have to fight for it himself. Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him? Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail. Three men. One battle. No Heroes.
  • Red Country (2012)
    They burned her home. They stole her brother and sister. But vengeance is following. Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she'll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she's not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old stepfather Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb's buried a bloody past of his own, and out in the lawless Far Country, the past never stays buried. Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts. Even worse, it will force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust... The past never stays buried...

The First Law Trilogy

  • The Blade Itself (2007)
    Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers. Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men. And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up in a hole in the snow with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all - ideally by running away from it. But as he's discovering, old habits die really, really hard indeed... especially when Bayaz gets involved. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult...
  • Before They Are Hanged (2008)
    Bitter and merciless war is coming to the frozen north. It's bloody and dangerous and the Union army, split by politics and hamstrung by incompetence, is utterly unprepared for the slaughter that's coming. Lacking experience, training, and in some cases even weapons the army is scarcely equipped to repel Bethod's scouts, let alone the cream of his forces.And to the east a small band of malefactors travel to the edge of the world to reclaim a device from history - a Seed, hidden for generations - with tremendous destructive potential. A device which could put a end to war, to the army of Eaters in the South, to the invasion of Shanka from the North - but only if it can be found, and only if its power can be controlled...
  • Last Argument of Kings (2008)
    The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him but its going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm, and theres only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy. Its time for the Bloody-Nine to come home. With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no-one is safe, and no-one can be trusted. His days with a sword are far behind him. Its a good thing blackmail, threats and torture still work well enough. Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is too painful, and turned his back on soldiering for a life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too, and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on someone...While the King of the Union lies on his deathbead, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No-one believes that the shadow of war is falling across the very heart of the Union. The First of the Magi has a plan to save the world. But there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, after all, than to break the First Law...

Critical acclaim

"Dark, deeply ironic and full of character gems that will appeal to your cynical side." SFRevu

"Delightfully twisted and evil" Guardian