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Joe Abercrombie update and Sharp Ends cover reveal

Fantasy-Faction is a huge fan of Joe Abercrombie. He has spent a great deal of time at the top of our ‘Most Anticipated’ and ‘Best Novel’ lists over the years and based on the quality of his Young Adult novels this isn’t going to change anytime soon.

It’s not just us though, one of the most common questions we get over Twitter and Facebook is “Do you know when Joe Abercrombie is writing a new First Law book?” Well, Joe’s spoken quite openly about his future writing plans via his blog and Reddit, but this week’s release of the Sharp Ends cover gives us an opportunity to share that very fine cover with you and point you towards some Joe Abercrombie quotes that let you know his plans now that he has finished his (awesome!) Young Adult trilogy.

Here’s the Sharp Ends cover to get us started:


So, as you will guess by the fact that this cover features one of those iconic maps, this is Joe’s return to the world of the First Law. This isn’t actually a new First Law novel though, Sharp Ends will instead be a collection of short stories.

Of these short stories, some have been published in other anthologies (and picked up awards in doing so), some were in special editions of the novel sold at only specific locations or at certain times (for example, Waterstones had an exclusive Hardback edition of Heroes with a short story), and others are entirely new. Fitting with this, the content of the stories will vary too: some will follow characters we’ve not met before, some will feature those familiar to us and others will fill in gaps and give us more details about past events.

Here’s the table of contents:

A Beautiful Bastard: The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one big enough to think he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Made a Monster: After years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion.

Small Kindnesses: The hopes of Shevedieh, the best thief in Westport, to turn her back on crime, come crashing down when she finds a huge drunkard sleeping in her doorway. Doing the right thing always comes at a price…

The Fool Jobs: Curnden Craw has been sent with his dozen to recover a thing from beyond the Crinna. One small problem. No one seems to know what the thing is.

Skipping Town: Shevedieh and Javre, ill-matched adventurers, find themselves forced to flee yet another self-made disaster.

Hell: ‘I have seen hell, and it is a great city under siege.’ The fall of Dagoska through the eyes of a young acolyte.

Two’s Company: Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp, runs into Cracknut Whirrun on a bridge over a remote canyon. Can Shevedieh persuade either of these proud heroes to step aside?

Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Three not entirely innocent bystanders are sucked into the  chaos of Monzcarro Murcatto’s vengeance.

Some Desperado: There is no honour among thieves when the outlaw Smoke finds herself being hunted down by her own comrades.

Yesterday, Near a Village Called Barden: Royal Observer Bremer dan Gorst reports to the king on another ugly little skirmish as summer dies in the North.

Three’s a Crowd: It’s a foolish man who steals from the best thief in Styria, and when Horald the Finger steals her lover, it’s time for Shevedieh to stop running and start fighting. For those who work in the shadows, though, few things are ever quite as they seem…

Freedom: Being an absolutely true account of the liberation of the town of Averstock from the grip of the incorrigible rebel menace by the famous Nicomo Cosca.

Tough Times all Over: All Carcolf wants is to take her package from here to there, but in the city of fogs and whispers, there are always a dozen other rogues with their own ideas.

Joe Abercrombie (detail)Joe has spoke quite openly about this break away from writing a First Law novel being much needed for him as an author. Joe’s First Law novels are actually quite varied in terms of the genre they’ve drawn their style from (Fantasy, Revenge, Military, Western), but Joe has revealed that the shorter, tighter style the Young Adult novels he has just finished gave him the kind of pace change that he needed and it seems Sharp Ends is the final part of that break (if that’s what you call writing a bestselling, highly regarded YA trilogy and collection of award winning short stories!).

For those desperate to return to the First Law Universe and begin making some forward momentum in that timeline, fear not – it’s coming. Joe has said: “I’m not a huge fan of the concept of prequels on the whole – it’s hard for me to think of one that really needed to be done. Generally speaking, with novels, I think I’d prefer to move things forward” and fitting with that, “I will return to the First Law world, probably with a trilogy, probably set 10-15 years after Red Country, probably more directly leading on from the First Law, with a new generation of younger characters in the central roles with Some of the secondary characters will undoubtedly have been ones we’ve followed closely in the past…” . Based on the fact Joe has never before written two storylines in the same genre, I do wonder if Joe will take the opportunity to explore the Flintlock/Gun Powder Fantasy genre in this new series. I know in real life there was a lot longer than 10-15 years between cannons (as seen in The Heroes) and functional firearms, but (A) Red Country seemed to suggest that was the direction Joe was heading. We don’t actually have too long to find out anyway… When Joe was asked for a date he said it would be “very provisionally 2017.”

Alien with Zap GunSo, there you have it. You’re now up-to-date with Joe Abercrombie’s plans through until about 2020. Where will he go from there? Well, we are not sure, but after Fantasy, Revenge, Military, Western and Young Adult it seems only logical that Joe takes the First Law forward about 1000 years or so, bring in a few spaceships, a ton of ray-guns,  an alien invasion or two and go full Sci-Fi on us! Right?

Sharp Ends
 will be published in hardbackeBook and audio download on the 26th April 2016.


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