British Fiction Focus

Half the World at War

Sometimes a girl is touched by mother war. Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior. Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon. And weapons are made for one purpose…

To decorate the walls of dank taverns, perhaps? To display in glittering glass cases? Or maybe, just maybe… they’re made for murdering.

That sounds rather more like it!

Seems like only yesterday we were talking about Joe Abercrombie’s new novel, Half a King—and now the sequel is nearly here! So very nearly here, indeed, that today I’m able to share with you the sharp cover art teased at the top, some key story details about the second book of The Shattered Sea’s three and a report on the progress of Half a War.

But first, Half the World:

Desperate to avenge her dead father, Thorn lives to fight. But she has been named murderer by the very man who trained her to kill.

Fate traps her in the schemes—and on the ship—of the deep-cunning minister Father Yarvi. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit.

Beside her on her gruelling journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill. A failure in his eyes and hers, he has one chance at redemption.

Will Thorn forever be a tool in the hands of the powerful or can she carve her own path? Is there a place beyond legend for a woman with a blade?

SFX had the pleasure of revealing Half the World’s cover on Monday. Like last time, it’s a much brighter and more detailed variation on the starker art adorning the North American edition of the novel, and I’m a fan. You folks?

Joe Abercrombie Half the World

I certainly prefer it to the alternative, which looks to be trying too hard to capitalise on the erstwhile Lord Grimdark’s adult market.

But enough faffing about with pretty pictures… let’s talk length! Fans of The Shattered Sea series will be pleased to hear that Half the World is in excess of 100,000 words as opposed to Half a King’s sub-80k. That’s fully a fifth more fantasy! Oh, the marvels of math. So… satisfied?

No? Well, I want to be damn sure you all go home happy, so have a shifty at this report on the progress of Half a War:

In spite of a lot of dealmaking distractions which all seem to have come up at once, and a quick trip to the Frankfurt book fair, most of my time has gone into working on the third and final book in the series, Half a War. I’ve drafted the third part and am now well underway with a first draft of the last, so it’s looking good for a finished first draft near the end of November. I’ll then need to spend some time considering what needs to be done, before embarking on some hefty revision and rewriting in December to hopefully produce a coherent second draft by the end of the year. We shall see. Feels like there’s a hell of a lot of rewriting and reshaping to do, right now, and just a fair bit of detail, personality and, you know, good writing to add, but in the past things have come together surprisingly quickly once a first draft is finished. That’s the moment when you know where you’re heading, when you know the paths the characters need to take, and therefore exactly where they need to start. So, fingers crossed that we’ll still be able to get Half a War ready in time for a July 2015 publication as planned.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. For the moment, the date to save in your calendars is February 12th, which is when Harper Voyager mean to release Half the World hereabouts—fully five days ahead of Del Rey’s North American edition.

Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative ScotsmanStrange Horizons, and He’s been known to tweet, twoo.


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