Joe Abercrombie has been actively working on a new trilogy set in the First Law World since the publication of Sharp Ends in April 2016. The new series is planned to be a trilogy of nine parts; three books each of three parts.
The plot will pick-up some threads left over from the First Law Trilogy a little more directly than the standalone books have. Thus the bitter rivalry between the Magi Bayaz and Khalul will drive some of the plot, as well as the other powers in the Circle of the World like Zacharus, Shenkt, The Other Side, and now Ferro Maljinn.
The new series takes place maybe 25-30 years after the end of Last Argument of Kings, or 12-17 years after Red Country. It’s set mainly in The Union and The North. The Circle of the World is moving rapidly into the turmoil of early industrialisation; cannons, the printing press, the coal fire piston, and the mobile forge had all been invented already.
At the end of the last standalone:
- The Union: Jezal dan Luthar was puppet-king of the realm. However, Sand dan Glokta was really in control via the Closed Council, albeit as a pawn of the Magus Bayaz.
- The North: Scale was also something of a puppet-king with his brother Calder really in control.
- The Northern Protectorate: the southern region of the North was officially a protectorate within The Union under the control of The Dogman.
- Gurkhul: Uthman-ul-Dosht was emperor in alliance with the Magus Khalul.
- The Old Empire: The empire seemed to have finally found some sort of cohesion under Emperor Goltus in alliance with the Magus Zacharus.
- Styria: the city-states of the island were firmly under the control of Monza Murcatto and her son Jappo; all except for Westport. She was in alliance with the Magus Shenkt.
The series will focus mostly on a new cast of characters, with some old friends featuring in the background. Given what we know of Abercrombie, there seems likely to be six POV characters; he used this format in all his First Law books except for Red Country. It’s highly unlikely that any of the previous POV character will have a POV in the new trilogy. You could speculate that some of the children of main characters may play a significant part: Glokta and Ardee’s child, Monza Murcatto’s son, Jezal and Terez’s children, or Calder’s child.
Joe’s plan with the trilogy is to write a rough draft of all three books first, to get the best and most coherent end product. Then revise the first book thoroughly for publication. This means that there will be a considerable wait for the first book, but then a regular publication schedule thereafter. According to his latest blog, he’s drafted the first and second books, then gone back and revised the first book a little. Now drafting the third. It’s impossible to speculate but mid-2019 is probably the earliest that the first book will be published.