In the inaugural episode of the Fantasy Faction podcast, Fantasy Faction’s Marc Aplin and Paul Wiseall interviewed Joe Abercrombie, author of the First Law trilogy, two stand-alone novels in that same universe, and the forthcoming A Red Country, the final stand-alone volume before Abercrombie writes another trilogy, presumably a large-scale follow-up to The First Law. Abercrombie mentions the interview himself on his blog.
Details on the trilogy have been thin, in no small part because Abercrombie himself doesn’t seem to know exactly where he’s going with the story, but the author game some details to Fantasy Faction in the podcast interview that I hadn’t heard before.
Abercrombie told Aplin and Wiseall that the new trilogy will probably feature a “next generation of characters” taking the major roles. A Red Country apparently picks up about fifteen years after the end of The First Law, and the new trilogy will start five or ten years after A Red Country, meaning we can expect the new trilogy to begin at least 20 years after the end of The First Law. The main characters from The First Law will therefore become the older generation, and will most likely appear as secondary characters (though Abercrombie notes that this is subject to change). Jezal Luthar, for example, will likely remain in the background as “the old king,” probably much as he has done in Best Served Cold and The Heroes.
The main plot will probably be a “political civil war style plot based around the Union.”
Aplin and Wiseall tried to push him a little bit toward revealing how likely it was that characters from The First Law would return in major roles, and Abercrombie took the opportunity to discuss the “fine line,” as an author, “between giving people what they want and being bored.” He seemed in general ready to move on from focusing primarily on the First Law characters, ready to take the series in a new direction. But he was also definitely aware of fans’ desire to see a return to characters they know and love.
When discussion finally turned to the elephant in the room — the question of when we will find out what happened to Logen Ninefingers and if and when we will see the Bloody-Nine again — Abercrombie responded predictably (and understandably; it’s not as if we really want him to spoil the surprise): he said that he really “can’t ever answer that question [in an interview]” and that fans who want to find out should keep buying his books. There’s an implicit promise there, and one thing I think we can be certain about is that, one way or another, Logen’s story isn’t finished. Otherwise it would be cruel and unusual punishment for Mr. Abercrombie to keep playing coy.