Joe Abercrombie, born on December 31, 1974, in Lancaster, is a British fantasy author. After studying Psychology at Manchester University, he began a career in film editing, but his passion for storytelling soon guided him towards writing. In 2006, Abercrombie debuted with “The Blade Itself,” the first book in ‘The First Law’ trilogy, quickly earning recognition for his distinctive dark and gritty style. His approach to fantasy is characterized by its complex characters and intricate plots, often defying traditional genre conventions.
Over the years, he has expanded his literary universe, producing standalone novels and additional series set in the world of ‘The First Law’. Abercrombie’s consistent output and innovative narratives have earned him a significant position in contemporary fantasy literature.
See also: Grishaverse Series by Leigh Bardugo.
Joe Abercrombie Books in Order
The First Law Series
- The Blade Itself (2006)
- Before They Are Hanged (2007)
- Last Argument Of Kings (2008)
- Best Served Cold (2009)
- The Heroes (2011)
- Red Country (2012)
- Sharp Ends (2016)
The Age of Madness Series
Shattered Sea Series
- “The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch – A thrilling tale of a skilled thief and his band of con artists navigating a dangerous city.
- “The Black Company” by Glen Cook – A military fantasy series following a group of mercenaries as they navigate a war-torn world.
See also: Brandon Sanderson Books in Order.
Most Recommended Books
- The Wisdom of Crowds (The Age of Madness Series, #3) (4.60 Goodreads score)
- A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness Series, #1) (4.45 Goodreads score)
- Before They Are Hanged (The First Law Series, #2) (4.34 Goodreads score)
- Last Argument Of Kings (The First Law Series, #3) (4.33 Goodreads score)
- The Blade Itself (The First Law Series, #1) (4.20 Goodreads score)
Joe Abercrombie received two Locus Awards in 2014, one for Half a King in the Young Adult category and another for Tough Times All Over in the Novelette category.
The most recent release by Joe Abercrombie is “The Devils,” which is set to be published in 2025.
The Blade Itself
"The Blade Itself" follows the lives of three main characters. Inquisitor Glokta, a bitter and crippled war veteran, spends his days torturing smugglers. Captain Jezal dan Luthar, a nobleman and fencing champion, cheats his friends at cards and leads a shallow life. Logen Ninefingers, a notorious warrior, wakes up in the snow with plans to settle a blood feud. Their lives become even more complicated when they cross paths with Bayaz, a mysterious old man with a temper, who may or may not be a powerful magician.
Before They Are Hanged
"Before They Are Hanged" is set in a frozen northern region where a brutal war is about to take place. The Union army is ill-prepared and lacking in experience, training, and weapons to defend against the enemy forces. In the south, the city of Dagoska is under threat from the Gurkish, and Inquisitor Glokta must find a way to protect the city. Meanwhile, a group of outcasts embarks on a dangerous journey to retrieve a powerful device that could potentially end the war.
Last Argument Of Kings
Logen Ninefingers, a seasoned warrior, prepares for his final battle to save the North. Meanwhile, Superior Glokta, a former swordsman, engages in a dangerous secret struggle where trust is scarce. Jezal dan Luthar, tired of war, seeks a peaceful life with his love, but finds himself unexpectedly drawn back into the fight for glory. As the King of the Union nears death, chaos ensues with peasants revolting and nobles vying for power. Amidst it all, the First of the Magi devises a plan to save the world, but breaking the First Law comes with dire consequences.
Best Served Cold
"Best Served Cold" is set in the land of Styria during a time of war. The Grand Duke Orso and the League of Eight have been fighting for nineteen years, causing devastation and bloodshed. In the midst of this chaos, Monza Murcatto, a renowned mercenary, finds herself betrayed and left for dead. Determined to seek revenge, she forms an unlikely alliance with a group of unreliable individuals, including a drunkard and a poisoner. With enemies all around her, including the most dangerous man in the world, Monza sets out on a mission to make her enemies pay.
"The Heroes" is set in the North, where Black Dow, a notorious killer, is determined to rise to power. The King of the Union, feeling threatened, sends armies to stop him. Amidst the chaos, Bremer dan Gorst seeks redemption through violence, Prince Calder pursues power at any cost, and Curnden Craw struggles to do what's right. As the battle unfolds over three days, the fate of the North hangs in the balance, but with deceit and rivalries on both sides, it's uncertain who will emerge victorious.
In "Red Country" Shy South's home is burned and her brother and sister are kidnapped. Seeking vengeance, she sets off on a journey with her stepfather Lamb. Along the way, they encounter a lawless frontier town, gold fever, and dangerous alliances. As they face their own bloody pasts, they must confront the Ghosts and learn that the past never truly stays buried.
The story follows various characters, including Colonel Sand dan Glokta, who believes he can save the day against the Gurkish army. Curnden Craw and his group embark on a mission to retrieve a mysterious item, despite not knowing what it is. Shevedieh, a skilled thief, faces numerous challenges alongside her friend and enemy, Javre. Lastly, the chieftain Bethod seeks peace in the North, but must confront his own champion, the feared Bloody-Nine.
A Little Hatred
The story follows a new generation of heroes who are making the same mistakes as their predecessors. In a world where machines are becoming more prevalent, magic still holds its power. The book explores the curse of the Long Eye, which allows glimpses into the future but changing it proves to be a challenge. As industry and cities thrive, the slums are filled with anger that is ready to explode.
The Trouble With Peace
In this fantasy novel, unrest spreads throughout society, affecting people from all walks of life. The Breakers, a secretive group, plan to liberate the common man, while former heroes hold grudges and noblemen engage in petty arguments. The King of the Union faces the challenge of navigating treacherous political waters, as his enemies and debts continue to grow. As the old ways crumble, those who seek power will discover that alliances, friendships, and peace are fleeting.
The Wisdom of Crowds
Set in a time of revolution, the Breakers and Burners have taken control, replacing industry with riots. The characters, including Citizen Brock and Citizeness Savine, must adapt to survive in this new world. Meanwhile, Orso, a monarch, realizes that no one is safe when everything is turned upside down. In the North, Rikke and her Protectorate are running out of allies, while Black Calder seeks revenge. As the banks fall and the Union crumbles, the Weaver's plan begins to unfold in the shadows.
Half a King
"Half a King" is a tale of Prince Yarvi's journey to reclaim a throne he never desired. Despite being born weak and with only one good hand, Yarvi must navigate a world ruled by strength and cruelty. With the help of a diverse group of outcasts, he learns that his mind can be his greatest weapon. However, even with loyal friends by his side, Yarvi's path is filled with unexpected turns and heartbreaking losses.
Half the World
"Half the World" is an action-packed adventure about Thorn, a fierce fighter who is accused of murder by her own mentor. She is forced by fate to join forces with Father Yarvi and travel across the world to find allies against a cruel king. Along the way, she meets Brand, a young warrior who despises killing. Together, they must find redemption and determine their own destinies.
Half a War
"Half a War" is a tale of Princess Skara, who has lost everything she holds dear and is left with only her words. In a world where words can be as deadly as swords, Skara must use her wit and cunning to survive. Meanwhile, Father Yarvi, a former slave turned king's minister, must confront a powerful army that threatens to bring darkness to the Shattered Sea.
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Eleven
"The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Eleven" is an anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan. This 11th volume showcases the finest science fiction and fantasy stories, written by both renowned authors and emerging talents. The collection explores imaginative worlds, from the far reaches of space to the depths of human existence.