In April 2014, best-selling speculative fiction author Tad Williams had announced the titles of three new Osten Ard novels: The Witchwood Crown, Empire of Grass, and The Navigator’s Children; together, the new series is titled “The Last King of Osten Ard”. Readers familiar with Williams’ books know that in the past, he has had great difficulty keeping his “trilogies” to three volumes, with George R.R. Martin famously referring to Williams’ “four-book trilogies”. And most of Williams’ full-length novels have approached or exceeded 1,000 pages each. So there was much speculation from readers and critics that the new Osten Ard series would possibly grow to four volumes. This week, Williams unofficially announced a fourth new Osten Ard novel on his Facebook account.
In stark contrast to the big announcements of the three “The Last King of Osten Ard” novels, which were press releases that were covered in major mainstream newspapers and periodicals worldwide, the references that Williams made to his new book were very casual. But Williams stated that the new short novel will be set between the era of To Green Angel Tower (Spring 1167 After the Founding of Nabban) and The Witchwood Crown (approximately 1194 AF, 30 years later):
One of the nice things about working on big, interlocking projects is that sometimes an idea falls out of one and into the other, solving some irritating problem and enriching both. I was just puzzling about the Osten Ard short novel (set between TGAT and Witchwood Crown) and suddenly it occurred to me that something in the short novel explained something I hadn’t figured out yet about the larger work.
Making a big story is a lot like weaving, I often say. Also like weaving, it may occasionally be tedious working on it from up close, but it’s great when you can finally step back, see it whole, and say, “Hey, I made something!”
The short novel has yet to receive an officially revealed title. Williams later stated:
The Osten Ard short novel has not been announced because we’re still deciding how to sell it, what combination of modern publishing approaches, including the possibility that my regular publishers will handle it. “When” will probably be before The Witchwood Crown, because that’s been pushed back into 2017.
So the new short novel is not yet sold to any publisher (sci-fi/fantasy publisher DAW Books released the original classic volumes, The Dragonbone Chair, Stone of Farewell, and To Green Angel Tower volumes one and two; and is also set to publish the three “The Last King of Osten Ard” novels as well), and it is also likely to be published before The Witchwood Crown, which is set for a March 2017 release date. As soon as we are authorized to reveal more information, such as publication dates, cover arts, and plot details, we will do so.