MASTER OF LAW
Lord Grimdark himself, Joe Abercrombie, tells all about his new short story collection
Waiting for the next novel set in the world of The First Law? You’ll have to hang on a little longer. But fans of Joe Abercrombie’s work should be more than satisfied with Sharp Ends – a collection of 13 stories set in the same realm.
“It’s like slipping on a favourite pair of boots,” says Abercrombie of returning to the setting for the first time since 2012’ s Red Country. “It’s nice to be on familiar ground after time away.”
He describes the collection as featuring a “galaxy of different voices” and a wide- range of genres. The backbone, however, is provided by a new pair of characters, “Shev, the best thief in Styria, and Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp”, described as “really my female take on Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser”.
Longest of the 13 tales is the novella- length “Three’s A Crowd”, which Abercrombie says is about Shev trying to put her past behind her. “She wants to start a new life, but when her lover is kidnapped she’s forced to recruit Javre for one last job...”
He also states that the stories act “as background to some of the novels and feature familiar characters, the style of which vary from Italianate crime caper to dried- up Western”. He hopes the book will be accessible to new readers, pointing out that, “all the stories stand alone to some degree.”
Meanwhile, the next novel continues to gestate. “I’m writing a new trilogy,” he promises. “I want to take my time, really develop the voices of the cast and hopefully draft the whole trilogy before I publish the first book, so the whole thing is as coherent and convincing as possible.”
Sharp Ends is published by Gollancz in hardback and ebook versions on 26 April.
Abercrombie says it’s nice to be back on familiar ground after time away.