Pitched Battle: Joe Abercrombie Gets Personal with "The Heroes"


Prolific and critically acclaimed writer Joe Abercrombie has garnered a wide readership for his First Law series and other fantasy novels in a relatively short time. Abercrombie has established a reputation for inhabiting complex characters whose actions aren’t always morally or ethically sound. In a sense, he’s been mapping out for fantasy a path toward gritty realism, and proven that exploring shades of gray isn’t just interesting but also vastly entertaining for readers.

His latest novel, The Heroes, takes all of the elements that characterize his other books, and places them in the microcosm of three days of pitched battles. For me, reading The Heroes was fascinating--a little like watching the brilliant battle scenes from Orson Welles’ movie Chimes at Midnight (Falstaff) combined with David G. Chandler’s classic The Campaigns of Napoleon (still the best book on the subject, in my opinion, and now available for the Kindle). The Heroes has been well-received, including a starred review in Publishers Weekly that noted "Abercrombie never glosses over a moment of the madness, passion, and horror of war, nor the tribulations that turn ordinary people into the titular heroes."

I caught up with Abercrombie via email to discuss mud, guts, blood, battle plans, and, of course, heroes...

Amazon.com: Do you study much real-world military history before writing a novel like The Heroes? Even just as a refresher course?

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