Joe Abercrombie

Steven Pacey read all three of Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law series onto unabridged audiobook.

The Blade Itself Before They Are Hanged Last Argument of Kings

More recently, Steven has read Joe’s sequels to The First Law series onto unabridged audiobook.

Best Served Cold The Heroes Red Country

Author, Joe Abercrombie

Image courtesty of;
credit Lou Abercrombie

Joe was tentative about the idea of someone else reading his work, but this was his verdict:

So they’re currently recording the audiobooks of the First Law, due out in June as downloads, and I dropped into the studio on Monday to see how it was going. They’re unabridged, so it’s taking them sixteen full days of recording, and when I got there they were just starting on Before They Are Hanged.

I was expecting it to be more than a little bit cringy, if I’m honest. Just something slightly weird about the whole idea of someone else reading something that’s so personal. I was sure some of the pronunciations would be wrong, and some of the voices would be weird, and to a certain degree some of them were. But I have to say overall I was hugely impressed. It’s being read by Steven Pacey, and I thought on the whole he’d really captured the spirit of it beautifully. The number of different voices he switches effortlessly between seriously is something to behold. He even manages to make my prose sound good. So, as with Chris McGrath’s paintings of the characters, it’s an interpretation, but it seemed like a bloody successful one to me. Actually really looking forward to listening to the rest…

Quote from Joe’s BLOG, 24 February, 2010.

“for the First Law, Orion, my UK publisher, decided to do it themselves. They have a person called Pandora whose job it is to co-ordinate the making of audiobooks, so clearly she has a very in depth knowledge of the UK’s actors and narrators. She’d used Pacey before and suggested him as a good fit with the First Law. If I remember correctly I listened to a bit of something else he’d recorded and said, yeah, for sure. I then went along to a bit of the recording, expecting it to be kind of cringey, and thought he was fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone be negative about his reading which, again, virtually unheard of.”

Joe Abercrombie, 12 September, 2012.

“The reader’s hugely important in these things and I’ve yet to encounter anyone who doesn’t think Steven’s done a great job.”

Joe Abercrombie, 5 December, 2012.

When another reader narrated Joe Abercrombie’s later novels, Best Served Cold and The Heroes, it sparked a huge outcry from fans. Eventually, Steven Pacey was asked to narrate these books in December 2011. However, the editions narrated by Steven are only available in the UK, which has also caused some consternation. Some of the debate is presented on Joe Abercrombie’s BLOG.

The response to fans, and Joe’s reassurance:

“Due to peculiarities of the way rights were divided, Best Served Cold was actually my first book to be recorded as an audiobook, and it was done in the US, read by Michael Page. The Heroes was wrapped into that deal. It wasn’t until some time after that we got round to doing audiobooks of The First Law trilogy, this time in the UK, read by Stephen [sic] Pacey. I actually went along to some of the recording, expecting to be somewhat embarrassed, and was very, very impressed by what he brought to it. I’ve heard plenty of criticism of the books in my time, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything but praise for Pacey’s reading. He is good, versatile, and very well suited to the task. So for some time I’ve been keen to get him to read Best Served Cold and The Heroes in the same style that we might present a consistent feel across all my books and lo! Let lovers of high quality audiobooks rejoice, for it has come to pass.”

Best Served Cold is available now on A Pacey-narrated The Heroes will, I understand, be following in due course, more information as I receive it. Now, hating to crush the dreams of those across the pond, but this version won’t be available in the US, where the audiobooks on offer will continue to be the Page versions, at least for the foreseeable future. I know it’s always a source of frustration when something freely available in one territory isn’t in another, but that’s just how the rights cookie crumbles in this case.

Response from Joe Abercrombie 5 January, 2012.

“… it started to become clear that Pacey’s version was the preferred one, so I urged the UK publisher to re-record Best Served Cold and The Heroes with Pacey, which they eventually agreed to do. This was pretty much above and beyond the call of duty for them since there aren’t that many books that will get the expense of being recorded once let alone twice. The original deal with Tantor media still holds, however, they bought rights to publish audiobooks of Best Served Cold and The Heroes in the US. ”

Response from Joe Abercrombie 5 March, 2012.

Subsequently, Joe was able to secure a reassurance that Red Country would be read by Steven Pacey, and be the only available version.

The Blade Itself

Title: The Blade Itself, The First Law: Book 1
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer, is trapped in a twisted and broken body – not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.

Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain and shallow, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men. And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all – ideally by running away from it. But as he’s discovering, old habits die hard …… especially when Bayaz gets involved. An old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult . . .

Text courtesy of Orion Books
The Blade Itself at Digital Download


3 June, 2010 22 hours and 18 minutes

Praise for Steven Pacey’s reading of The Blade Itself:

“The standout for me was really the narration. I found Steven Pacey’s delivery to be excellent. He fully-voiced the characters with what was close to a radio-drama style. He paced the dramatic moments well and the emotional tenor of each character came through clearly. With a vast array of accents and nicely varied pitch and tone, I was never in doubt as to which character was speaking. I could even tell when the story switched between characters located in the North and those in other regions as the accent and cadence changed just slightly even during the narrative sections. Characters’ internal musings were effectively separated from speech by the use of a slightly softer and more confidential tone. Glokta was voiced with a bit of a lisp which never made the dialogue unclear, was accurate for a man missing his four front teeth, and also had the beneficial effect on me of making a not always admirable character more sympathetic. Despite a slight “drag-queen” aspect to the female voices, I found myself nothing but pleased with the narration.”

Review from The Oddiophile.

“This was the first unabridged Gollancz title we recorded, and it is still one of our best. I don’t think any other reader could balance Abercrombie’s mix of deep and delicate characterisation, elegant phrasing and anarchic violence quite as well as Steven has. All of Abercrombie’s books are available with Steven at the reins – and they’re (literally) bloody brilliant!”

Comments from Gollancz BLOG.

“I’ve listened to many audio books and in my opinion Steven Pacey is in a league of his own. The characters come to life in his voice.”
“… his reading of The Blade Itself was pure delight”
“Steven Pacey really makes the story and especially the characters come alive with his many voices.”
“Narration was excellent!”
“Steven Pacey has dozens of voices, making the many different characters easy to recognize. I thought his lisping inquisitor was perfectly creepy.”
“I also have to give major props to the narrator, Steven Pacey. This is the first book I have heard him read and I would definitely be willing to look for others, based only on his excellent narrative skills. His voices are all distinctive for each character and I am particularly impressed with his voice for the character of Glokta- a man who has lost most of his teeth. Too many narrators seem to try a little too hard for ‘unique’ voices, especially if the character is supposed to be old, or have a lisp, etc. and it can lead to them being difficult to understand. But Steven Pacey makes this voice distinctive and cringe-worthy, with each sentence reminding me of what happened to the character- but always completely understandable.”
“This series and the narrator were made for each other. Steven Pacey does an incredible job of bringing Joe Abercrombie’s world to life.”
“Pacey brings the world to life, each aspect of the story seeming to gain his undivided attention and passion. I have been told other narrators have been used for Abercrombie’s tales, but I am not sure I would be interested in hearing them from anyone else.”
“Steven Pacey does an amazing job narrating all three books in the series, different voices for almost every character, always right on the money with a variety of accents. One of the best performances I’ve ever listened to.”
” … the narration was brilliantly done, excellent dramatization with a vast diversification of the characters voices, there couldn’t have been a better studio recording of same.”
“The narrator, Steven Pacey was exceptional in his reading and all of the voice characterisations. His ability to consistently produce identifiable voices (male and female) for the army of speaking roles and use them correctly in the context of the surrounding description was remarkable and added immeasurably to the experience of the story.”
“I have to also spare a comment for the narrator, whom I had never listened to before this book. He. Is. Outstanding. He does a range of characters and does them all very well. Pacey adds so much to the novel.”
“It was a good story, but the narrator is the best I’ve ever heard. It’s hard to believe there’s just one person reading.”
“I loved reading the books, and sometimes don’t enjoy the audio versions as well. Steven Pacey, however, really brings the characters to life. I think this is even better than the book, thanks to the reader … I’m now a follower of Mr. Pacey’s work. More please!”
“Steven Pacey is perfect”
“This is only aided further by the narrator, who is nothing short of astounding. The characters come to life especially during the dialog, and you will not have any problem working out who is speaking. The creepy lisp of the crippled torturer or the broad accent of his masked assistant are two that really stand out in my mind.”
“Steven Pacey’s ability to create over 20 unique characters with individual accents is amazing!”
“I can’t wait to hear book two because Pacey’s characterizations are that fabulous.”
“However, I feel it even more important to give props to Mr. Pacey, the narrator … The narration hear [sic] is truly amazing. Character voices distinct and unique without going over the top. Inflection and pacing is perfect. Best example is his rendering of the character Glokta. It almost makes the novel. I could be wrong, but I don’t remember in the text of the book that Glokta had a lisp. Missing teeth, yes, but I don’t remember the mention of a lisp. The narrator decided to add/include this to the character. Brilliant.”
“Steven Pacey is surely my new favorite narrator”
“Steven Pacey’s reading of The Blade Itself is actually what made me sign up to Audible.”

Reviews from

“A quick word on Steven Pacey’s narration. The word is: awesome. His voice choices for the characters are masterfully edging towards stereotypical without being cheesy, making them instantly memorable and thus recognisable. His use of UK regional accents created easily recognisable groups in a way that artificial accents would never have achieved. His narration pulls you along, never obtrusive, no sharp verbal edges to snag you go.”

Review from Robert Harkness’s BLOG.

“The dialogue reads like you’re sitting in on the conversation, especially under the standout narration by Steven Pacey.”
“Steven Pacey is equal to the task of narrating such an ambitious work. His narration walks the fine balance of capturing the characters’ voices–literally and figuratively–without calling too much attention to them and thereby detracting from the story. The toothless Glokta, for instance, speaks with just a hint of a lisp, a slight slurring.”

Review from SFFaudio.

“And that’s not even the best thing. The best thing is the guy that reads it. Steven Pacey. OK so when he started talking I was taken aback by his, well, voice. Not at all what I expected. He made me chuckle in the right places as he read and I was drawn into the book immediately. Then he started doing the voices. A lot of people can’t do voices when they read to people … but Steven Pacey hits the mark every time. When he did his Glokta voice it was Glokta speaking, not Steven Pacey. It was better than anything I could hear in my head whilst reading a book and far more amusing at times.
“I for one highly recommend this book, audio or otherwise (though you don’t get Steven Pacey with the regular book), and I can’t wait to start listening again!”

Review from Jess Wiles’ BLOG.

“The narrator of the book, Steven Pacey, did such an incredible job with distinct voices and accents for every character that I was completely hooked and ended up listening to the entire series in audio form. You know an audiobook is firing on all cylinders when you can immediately tell which character is talking by the sound of the narrator’s voice.”

Review from Full of Words.

“I’d argue that some books only truly come alive when you hear them read aloud; humor comes across more clearly, characters become more vivid, and good books transform into great ones … Steven Pacey’s performance blew me away. Like many epic fantasy series, The First Law has a huge cast of characters, and Pacey accomplishes the rare feat of giving each character a unique voice and accent that makes them immediately stand out. After a certain point, Abercrombie could have forgone character identification and I would always have known which character was speaking.”

Review from Full of Words.

“Stephen [sic] Pacey is the best narrator I have heard. His character voices are so good, some of them sound like it is someone else reading those parts.”

Review from

“I have to agree with everyone else, Glokta’s internal voice is some of my favorite internal dialogue ever. The audible version really makes it that much better. Steven Pacey, the voice actor goes so far as to make Glokta’s internal and external voices different.”

Review from Joe Abercrombie’s BLOG.

“Blade Itself. Brilliant! The guy that reads the book does great voices and there is music also which makes it feel like you are listening to a movie (If that makes sense…?) If you loved the character of Tyrion I bet you will love Inquisitor Glokta…sarcastic, jaded criple and torturer! Recommend.”
Reply: “Yes x100000. The voice actor for all the Joe Abercrombie books, Steven Pacey, is *unreal*. He makes the characters jump off the page, and makes almost every one entirely different. He does dialogue brilliantly and also does the action scenes exactly right – really captures the randomness and chaos. The only thing I don’t like is the way he does Nicomo Cosca- Cosca is Falstaff, an upper class drunken rouge. But everything else is so very very good, I forgive him.”

From Sherdog Forum Audiobook Thread, 18 August 204.

Before They Are Hanged

Title: Before They Are Hanged, The First Law: Book 2
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Bitter and merciless war is coming to the frozen north. It’s bloody and dangerous, and the Union army, split by politics and hamstrung by incompetence, is unprepared for the slaughter that’s coming. Lacking experience, training, and in some cases even weapons, the army is scarcely equipped to repel Bethod’s scouts, let alone his elite forces.

In the heat-ravaged south, the Gurkish are massing to assault the city of Dagoska, defended by Inquisitor Glokta. The city is braced for the inevitable defeat and massacre to come… but a plot is festering to hand the city to its besiegers without a fight, and the previous Inquisitor of Dagoska vanished without trace. Threatened from within and without the city, Glokta needs answers, and he needs them soon.

And to the east, a small band of malefactors travel to the edge of the world to reclaim a device from history – a Seed, hidden for generations – with tremendous destructive potential. A device which could put a end to war, to the army of Eaters in the South, to the invasion of Shanka from the North – but only if it can be found, and only if its power can be controlled.

Text courtesy of Orion Books
Before They Are Hanged at Digital Download 3 June, 2010 22 hours and 37 minutes

Praise for Steven Pacey’s reading of Before They Are Hanged:

“The narration is fantastic (as in the first book) … The narrator does a great job with the dialogue and infusing different character into each of the voices”
“Steven Pacey is superb. I’ve recommended this trilogy to friends, and the audio version is a must.”
“GREAT narrator”
“It is hard to do so many different voices from different places both male and female but Steven Pacey did a wonderful job.”
“To the narrator – a solid good job, various voices, believable, with good pacing.”
“The Narrator was was outstanding.”
“And the narration is top notch – there is no way this could be performed any better than Steven Pacey’s incredible voice talent.”
“Narrator Steven Pacey is brilliant!”
“… the Narrator Steven Pacey does a great job of bring it all to life with his various voices and inflections.”
“Steven Pacey is flawless.”
“Love Steven Pacey as well, he is a great reader, I look for more books that he reads.”

Reviews from

“the reader of the audiobooks, Steven Pacey, is BRILLIANT! He has different voices for every single character, no matter how minor (and for Glokta, he manages TWO voices), and not just voices but individual accents as well. I don’t know how he keeps them all straight and seamlessly flows between them all. His performance is flawless and a perfect match to the text. They need to contract him to read all of Abercrombie’s work.”
“Steven Pacey is an awesome reader and adds to the appeal of this series.”

Review from

“Steven Pacey (the cute curly-haired guy from Blake’s Seven) gives an awesome performance in reading the book … Pacey is brilliant, investing both the internal and external voice of each character with distinctive mannerisms and motivations. His reading is a masterful interpretation of the menacing and mysterious world Abercrombie has created.”

Review from Cannonball Reads 5, loulamacs

Last Argument of Kings

Title: Last Argument of Kings, The First Law: Book 3
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
The end is coming.

Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him, but it’s going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm and there’s only one man who can top him. His oldest friend and his oldest enemy. It’s time for the Bloody-Nine to come home.

With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war – a secret struggle in which no-one is safe and no-one can be trusted. His days with a sword are far behind him. It’s a good thing blackmail, threats, and torture still work well enough.

Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is too painful, and turned his back on soldiering for a life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too, and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on someone.

While the King of the Union lies on his death bed, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No-one believes that the shadow of war is falling across the very heart of the Union. The First of the Magi has a plan to save the world. But there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, after all, than to break the First Law.

Text courtesy of Orion Books
Last Argument of Kings at Digital Download 3 June, 2010 27 hours and 1 minute

Praise for Steven Pacey’s reading of Last Argument of Kings
… and the entire First Law Series:

” … thouroughly enjoyed the Narrator and was entirely enthralled throughout the series.”
“Steven Pacey spoiled me with a masterful performance. Every other audio book does not come close to how well done this one was.”
“Great narrator”
“Narration is absolutely incredible and is one of the greatest strengths in the series.”
“… the narration by Steven made this series and brought the characters to life in a way like no other could, unsurpassible [sic], and provided a required continuity between these great works.”
“Steven Pacey does a masterful job bringing Abercrombie’s world to life and considering how detailed, gritty and messy that world is this is no mean feat. Pacey’s narration captures the dark humor of Abercrombie’s observations, the quick, brutal, often surprising pacing of his battle scenes and lends another dimension to already incredibly vivid characters. If you like your fantasy more than a little dark, your humor on the black side and your morality uneasy at best, Abercrombie’s world is a place you want to visit and Pacey is a fine guide.”
“The narration is wonderful, a true performance. It was often hard to believe that some of the voices were really the same person.”
“I give 5 stars to the narrator.”
“I will be listening more to Steven Pacey”
“Steven Pacey’s narration is first rate”
“… best narrated audio book I’ve ever listened to in the fantasy genre.”
“I really don’t see anyone doing even close to better. No one has yet…and I have listened to many, many books. He truly is a gem. He makes this story live and breath [sic].”
“Steven Pacey is awesome! I’m now looking for other books on audible that he has narrated.”
“Steven Pacey is OUTSTANDING as a reader!!! Loved his narration in all 3 books!”
“Steven Pacey’s reading of the books really keep you engaged, he’s an amazing voice talent bouncing from character to character without a pause, he alone would make this audio book worth the buy.”
“… his narration is excellent; being very distinct between the characters throughout each book and consistent across the books.”
“Steven Pacey is an excellent reader, maintaining consistency over all the books.”

Reviews from

“The audiobooks read by Pacey were brilliant. I thought his interpretation of Gloktor was amazing- he added the lisp without making it a mockery.”
“I have to say Pacey did a marvelous job of bringing your characters alive”
“Love his reading! I was really impressed by how different the character’s sounded”
“Steven Pacey’s Glokta was amazing BTW. I’m chuckling thinking about it.”
“Just finished the First Law and Pacey was brilliant, brought it all back and sounded just as I imagined.”
“The First Law trilogy and Best Served Cold are among some of the best I’ve read. Sometimes listening to an audiobook can really ruin a good story, this is not the case with The First Law trilogy. The accents fit the characters and I thought Glokta’s lisp was perfect. I laughed, sighed and groaned out loud as I listened to Steven read one of my top favorite trilogies out there. Good choice, Mr Abercrombie.”
“I am listening to Last Argument of Kings and must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, both the writing of Joe and the reading by Steven Pacey. He did an excellent job with the various character voices, especially Glokta.”
“Pacey does a fantastic job, it makes SUCH a difference with audiobooks.”
“There’s no doubt that Steven Pacey did an outstanding job narrating the First Law trilogy.”
“Pacey’s Black Dow and Bayaz were two of the highlights of listening to the trilogy for me”
“Stephen [sic] Pacey is probably the best narrator i’ve had the pleasure of listening to. I wasn’t even sure I liked ‘The First Law’ trilogy at first but his reading was so superb that I kept listening until I’d realised just how brilliantly refreshing the series was.”
“Pacey’s reading of The First Law trilogy is epic. I am having as much fun listening to this as I had reading the books.”
“Pacey is an amazing narrator, his work on the First Law series and Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
are my favorite audio books.”
“Pacey’s reading of The First Law series was absolutely brilliant.”
“Pacey’s narration of the First Law trilogy was absolutely fantastic”
“I listened to the books instead of read them and Stephen [sic] Pacey, who in mho is possibly the most talented narrator working in audio books, blew me away.”

Comments from Joe Abercrombie’s BLOG.

“I’ve just finished listening to Joe Abercrombie’s “First Law” series read by Steven Pacey and although I liked the books when I read them, the audio version was just brilliantly done.”

Comments from

“I just loved Stephen Pacey’s narration.”
“Another win for Steven Pacey, the narrator. It’s hard to believe it’s the same guy doing all the different voices. They are all so distinguished and easy to tell who the character is.”

Review from

“I’m so glad I’m actually conversing with someone else who rated so highly the work of Stephen [sic] Pacey on the First Law series…’you can say one thing about Stephen [sic] Pacey, he’s got it all going on with narration!’ My favourite characterisation was Glokta. The way he toggled between his dialogue, complete with the lisp, and then his perfectly formed speech while thinking, was excellent. It made what could otherwise have been quite a depressing character, be the most entertaining!”
“The whole of the First Law series by Joe Abercrombie, was read by, in my humble opion, possibly the best audiobook reader around today…Stephen [sic] Pacey … I feel sure that anyone who reads the First Law series will agree that he does a magnificent job.”
“never mind just how good Mr Pacey was”
“all the excellent accents and voices that were one of the highlights of the First Law series.”
“Steven Pacey is the best narrator I’ve ever heard. The first law series is my favorite audio book I’ve ever listened to. Honestly I think you could tell the story in 20 minutes. What makes the series amazing is the characterization, dialog, purely amazing story telling, and last but definitely not least is the narration.”

Comments from discussion forum.

“Some of the best narration I’ve ever heard honestly, Steven Pacey was brilliant”

Comments from A Forum of Ice & Fire.

“awesome narration by Steven Pacey”

From The Guilded Earlobe.

Best Served Cold

Title: Best Served Cold
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Springtime in Styria. And that means war. There have been nineteen years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white.

While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king. War may be hell but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso’s employ, it’s a damn good way of making money too. Her victories have made her popular – a shade too popular for her employer’s taste.

Betrayed, thrown down a mountain and left for dead, Murcatto’s reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die.

Text courtesy of Orion Books
Best Served Cold Digital Download 19 August, 2010 26 hours and 32 minutes

Praise for Steven Pacey’s reading of Best Served Cold:

“Steven Pacey’s visceral reading brings this brilliant, fresh fantasy book to life with vivid sardonic character …”
“… the publisher has taken note and re-recorded this title and the following book with Steven Pacey. If you bought this with the other narrator you can re-download the title and it will be the new version with Steven Pacey. Excellant news given his brilliant performance.”
“Hoorah for Steven Pacey. Imagine my delight upon just starting to listen to this book with a different narrator, suddenly I find that it is now Steven Pacey!”
“Steven Pacey’s readings of the “First Law” series were probably the most enjoyable audiobooks I have come across, and although I was enjoying this title, it inevitably suffered in comparison. Now, having eagerly downloaded the new Pacey version, I may well start again from the beginning! I wouldn’t normally give 5 stars to something I haven’t actually heard, but having listend to half the old version and all of “First Law”, Pacey would have to be having a very off day for it not to deserve them.”
“The highlight for me was the narration – Steven Pacey has a superb range of voices and his characterisation of ‘Friendly’ always made me laugh.”
“All brought off the page and into your ears by the unrivalled Steven Pacey.” Customer Reviews, last updated 21 October, 2012

“Best Served Cold is very well read”
“Steven pacey [sic] is another really good narrater [sic]”

Comments from

“The First Law trilogy and Best Served Cold are among some of the best I’ve read. Sometimes listening to an audiobook can really ruin a good story, this is not the case with The First Law trilogy. The accents fit the characters and I thought Glokta’s lisp was perfect. I laughed, sighed and groaned out loud as I listened to Steven read one of my top favorite trilogies out there. Good choice, Mr Abercrombie.”
” … future books should be Pacey no questions asked … we were spoiled by Pacey”
“Steven Pacey has done a mighty fine job with your material Joe”
“Pacey is really something special and I didn’t want someone else.”
“It’s always amazing how much a good reader can add to a book”

Comments from Joe Abercrombie’s BLOG.

“I can highly recommend the audio version of Best Served Cold. If you do make sure its the one with Steven Pacey as narrator.”


The Heroes

Title: The Heroes
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
They say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they’ve brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts or even the strongest arms that prevail.

Three men. One battle. No Heroes.

Text courtesy of Orion Books
The Heroes Digital Download 25 February, 2011 23 hours and 10 minutes

Praise for Steven Pacey’s reading of The Heroes:

“The enjoyment is hugely enhanced by the masterful narration from the man with a hundred accents, Mr Steven Pacey.”
“Steven Pacey brings the whole story to life, and swears brillantly, especially as Black Dow. I have enjoyed Pacey reading all of the Abercrombie books, and am hoping he has been resigned for ‘A Red Country’.”
“Steven Pacey’s reading of The Blade Itself (another book by Abercrombie) is actually what made me sign up to Audible. I had already red all the books but after hearing him read The Blade on a friend’s phone I instantly signed up to hear him bring the fascinating characters of Abercrombie’s other books to life.”
“This gives the narrator the chance to shine as he brings them all to life with an astonishing range of voices and accents.”
“Very good narration too with differing voices for the characters. ”

“I wish Stephen [sic] Pacey read all audiobooks.”
“Stephen [sic] Pacey is a great reader up there with Neil Gaiman and Stephen Briggs as my favourites”
“I can’t wait for this redone audiobook of The Heroes.”

Comments from Joe Abercrombie’s BLOG.

Red Country

Title: Red Country
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Shy South comes home to her farm to find a blackened shell; her brother and sister have been stolen and she’s going to have to return to her bad old ways if she’s ever going to see them again. She sets off in grim pursuit with only her cowardly old step-father Lamb for company. But it turns out he’s hiding a bloody past of his own. None bloodier.

Their journey will take them across the lawless plains, to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feuds, duels and massacres, and high into unmapped mountains to a reckoning with ancient enemies, and force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune…and a man no one should ever have to trust…

Text courtesy of Orion Books
Red Country Digital Download 18 October, 2012 19 hours and 56 minutes

Praise for Steven Pacey’s reading of Red Country:

“As ever Steven Paceys narration is glorious, bringing already solid characters to life.”
“The narration by Pacey gives further life to the already colourful characters”
“I heartilly congratulate Stephen Pacey on his usual wonderful interpretation.”

“I’m pleased as punch that Pacey’s back, as much affection as I do have for Michael Page, it’s hard to detach a great narration from the story, and for me Pacey is simply the voice of Abercrombie’s epic fantasy world … Abercrombie and Pacey reach the bar they set together with The First Law … Two final notes on the narration: continuity of voice across The First Law and Red Country is fantastic, to the point that I could recognize recurring characters before the prose more properly introduced them, and that’s a fantastic thing. But, I thought the narration was a notch too slow, and so I hope Pacey’s, er, pace, gets the tiniest boost if Abercrombie returns to the world of The First Law. Which I hope he does.”

Review from The AudioBookaneers

“Looking forward to Red Country and the return of Pacey as the narrator.”

Comment from A Forum of Ice & Fire.

“This time however I “read” it via the audio-book, narrated by Steven Pacey, and what a pleasure it was, too. I wish all audio-book narrators were as talented.”


“… superbly narrated by Steven Pacey. Just wanted to give him a mention, too. The best narrator in town.”


Steven’s reading of Red Country was longlisted for the 2013 Sounds of Crime Awards.

“Every time the question of audiobook suggestions comes around I always get super excited to recommend Steven Pacey. I think a lot of my love for the First Law trilogy comes from the combination of Abercrombie and Pacey.
I actually got Red Country (which is the only standalone read by Pacey for the US) in an audible sale and immediately went and bought the trilogy afterwards.
All in all it is a series that gets better with every book read by a narrator that is one of the best.”
“I always come out to post in fantasy audiobook threads about Steven Pacey’s excellent rendition of Joe Abercrombie’s books. While not my absolute favorite series (still in my top 10), he is far and away the best multi-pov narrator I’ve yet to come across!”

From, December 2013.

“Pacey’s narration truly brought it to life.”

From Leslie’s Psyche BLOG.
Customer Reviews last updated: 5 December, 2012

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There are 5 Comments to "Joe Abercrombie"

  • admin says:

    Wonderful news. Orion have re-recorded Best Served Cold and The Heroes with Steven doing the narration. More info:

  • Volund says:

    When is Mr. Pacey going to record Best Served Cold and The Heroes so we can hear them done properly?

  • admin says:

    I’m so glad you were brave enough to leave a message! Thanks, Ian.

  • Ian says:

    I’ve never left a message like this before but I just had to acknowledge what an amazing job Steven has done with the Joe Abercrombie books. The range of characterisations and expressiveness of the reading have combined to make them the best audio books I have listened to. They’ve enhanced them to something better than the novels were originally. Thanks for the experiences.

  • RobG says:

    I just wanted to say Steve Pacey is simply Brilliant in Joe Abercrombie audio books. I am simply astonished at how many voices he can do and of course his acting is impeccable. I have no idea if he has certain characters cut in audio at separate time or if he can really go from such radically different sounding character voices all of which in some scenes have massive amounts of varied emotions to intone as well. But either way, its astonishing. the man is a vocal gymnast with an amazing feel for breathing life into the characters. simply insane. BRAVO

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