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In 1986, speculative fiction writer Tad Williams (author of Tailchaser’s Song) would begin writing a landmark epic fantasy series, “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, beginning with The Dragonbone Chair (1988), continuing with Stone of Farewell (1990), and concluding with To Green Angel Tower (1993). The series sold millions of copies worldwide and has been translated into twenty-five languages. Locus called the series “The fantasy equivalent of War and Peace“.”Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” became quite influential, and would eventually inspire such authors as George R.R. Martin, Christopher Paolini, and Patrick Rothfuss to write their own novels.
Since the release of this classic trilogy, Williams has authored a large number of science fiction and fantasy novels, short stories, and comic books, including the “Otherland”, “Shadowmarch”, “Bobby Dollar”, and (with wife Deborah Beale) “The Dragons of Ordinary Farm” series, and several stand-alone novels, including Child of an Ancient City, Caliban’s Hour and The War of the Flowers. Readers always wondered if Williams would return to his Osten Ard stories, but no sequels were written at that time.
In the late 1990s, Williams wrote a novella called “The Burning Man”; the short story was published in the Legends anthology, edited by Robert Silverberg. Set in Williams’ mysterious world of Osten Ard, the novella would for many years be the last work set in that realm; for although an Osten Ard short story collection called A Chronicle in Stone was announced in 1998, that story collection unfortunately never came to fruition. Williams continued writing in his other worlds, and did not return to Osten Ard for nearly 20 years.
In April 2014, Williams at last announced he was writing a sequel trilogy called “The Last King of Osten Ard”, which would take place in the same world as “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, and which would feature some of the same characters.
An additional Osten Ard novel, The Heart of What Was Lost, was also announced. The first new Osten Ard novel since 1993’s To Green Angel Tower, it was released in January 2017 to rave reviews. National Public Radio (NPR) stated the novel balanced “warmth with grimness, and gentle bits of humor with violence and vengeance. Williams has tapped back into the dynamic that made “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” so absorbing.” Barnes and Noble called The Heart of What Was Lost a “glorious return to a landmark work of epic fantasy”.
Reviews for The Witchwood Crown were also positive, with Sarah McCarry of Tor.com writing, “I read the whole thing in three days (I have a long commute). I inhaled it. I want the next one!” while Fantasy Book Review said “There’s no reason not to make this your next fantasy read”. Positive reviews continued with Empire of Grass; Barnes and Noble called it “a sprawling, melancholic epic exploring themes of post-war colonialism, aging, regret, and responsibility” and “one of the year’s best books”. Kirkus Reviews praised the novel’s “deep character development, impressive plot intricacy, and rich worldbuilding.”
Since the release of the first three new novels, additional novel and story ideas have come to light, including The Veils of Heaven, The Shadow of Things to Come, The Lady of the Wood, and possibly some kind of an Osten Ard companion book.
Williams’ considerable output of epic fantasy and epic science fiction series, urban fantasy novels, comics, and scripts have strongly influenced a generation of writers. Tad Williams, his wife Deborah Beale, and their family live in the Santa Cruz mountains of California in a suitably strange and beautiful house.