Tad Williams Writes About Editing Process of New Osten Ard Novels, Hints of More to Come…

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his week, acclaimed Science Fiction and Fantasy author Tad Williams, author of the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn; Otherland; and Shadowmarch series, announced via his official newsletter that he is in rewrite mode on two of his new novels, The Heart of What Was Lost and The Witchwood Crown, both due for publication by DAW Books in 2017. Both novels are set in Osten Ard, in the same universe as his classic Memory, Sorrow and Thorn books. Williams wrote:

I am deep, deep, DEEP in Osten Ard history at the moment.  Having finished the first drafts of both THE WITCHWOOD CROWN and THE HEART OF WHAT WAS LOST — in the first case, most of a year ago — I’m in rewrite mode on both to finalize the stuff I left vague in the first drafts.

Williams began writing The Witchwood Crown in 2014, and had finished the rough draft  back in May 2015. The first draft of The Heart of What Was Lost was completed in November 2015.

Williams has communicated that the writing process for the new Osten Ard novels has been unusual in that although he normally writes very detailed drafts, in this case, he has spent much more time on the worldbuilding, because returning readers already know this world:

I know so much more about my own imaginary environment than I did a year ago, despite the fact that I think it was already one of the more catalogued invented worlds.  I know the name of all the original Scrollbearers (the learned folks who make up the League of the Scroll) when King Ealhstan began it, two hundred years or so before Simon and company.  I know the history of the two great families of immortals, the Hamakha and Sa’onserei, all the way back to the garden, in far more detail than anyone else needs to know.  I know the order in which the Eight Ships came to Osten Ard, and I know what happened to Seni Ohjisá, mentioned only in a song in the first set of books.  I know the names of people’s horses when even the names of the people who ride those horses will remain essentially meaningless trivium in the final story, if they even show up.

Stone of Farewell, book 2 of Memory Sorrow and Thorn

Stone of Farewell (1990) discusses the Hamakha-Sa’onserei feud and the eight ships of the Garden

Williams’ mention of the families Sa’onserei and Hamakha refers to the ruling dynasties of the Sithi and the Norns, two of the immortal (and ever-feuding) races in the classic Osten Ard novels, with Queen Amerasu no’e-Sa’onserei presiding over the mortal-hating Sithi, and Queen Utuk’ku seyt-Hamakha ruling over the even-more-mortal-hating Norns.The two families’ bitter, centuries-long feud is a central plotline in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, and lies at the heart of the conflict in the series.

Williams’ reference to the “Eight Ships [that] came to Osten Ard” harkens back to the legendarium of the Gardenborn, the immortal clans exiled from the Lost Garden, which the author only briefly hinted at in passages of the classic Osten Ard novels, written in the 1980s and 1990s. Stone of Farewell (1990) mentions the eight ships, as the protagonists Simon and Aditu enter the Gardenborn city of Jao e-Tinukai’i, and pass by the woven cord art at the edge of the city:

They crossed a bridge over one of the river-forks, then turned and followed the watercourse down a long corridor of willows. A ribbon of white cloth wound in and out among the trees on their left, wrapped about trunks and looped over branches. As they passed farther down the row of willow sentries, the initial ribbon was joined by another. These two snaked in and out, crossing behind and before each other as though engaged in a kind of static dance.

Soon more white ribbons of different widths began to appear, woven into the growing pattern in knots of fantastic intricacy. These weavings at first made up only simple forms, but soon Simon and Aditu began to pass increasingly complex pictures that hung in the spaces framed by the willow trunks: blazing suns, cloudy skies overhanging oceans covered with jagged waves, leaping animals, figures in flowing robes or filigreed armor, all formed by interlaced knots. As the first plain pictures became entire tapestries of tangled light and shadow, Simon understood that he watched an unfolding story. The ever-growing tapestry of knotted fabric portrayed people who loved and fought in a gardenlike land of incredible strangeness, a place where plants and creatures thrived whose forms seemed obscure even though precisely rendered by the unknown weaver’s masterful, magical hands.

Then, as the tapestry eloquently showed, something began to go wrong. Only ribbons of white were used, but still Simon could almost see the dark stain that began to spread through the people’s lives and hearts, the way it sickened them. Brother fought brother, and what had been a place of unmatched beauty was blighted beyond hope. Some of the people began building ships…

“Here,” Aditu said, startling him. The tapestry had led them to a whirlpool swirl of pale fabric, an inward-leading spiral that appeared to lead up a gentle hill. On the right, beside this odd door, the tapestry leaped away across the river, trembling in the bright air like a bridge of silk. Where the taut ribbons of the tapestry vaulted the splashing stream, the knots portrayed eight magnificent ships at sea, cresting woven waves. The tapestry touched the willows on the far side and turned, winding back up the watercourse in the direction from which Simon and Aditu had come, stretching away from tree to tree until it could no longer be seen.

Williams then writes about the editing happening on both of the new novels, writing that he has received (hopefully useful) feedback from early readers of the manuscripts:

And I’ve also been getting the first feedback from readers of the new manuscripts in the last half-year, so I’m trying to let that wash over me as well, influencing the rewrites in a good way without overwhelming my own natural trust in what I’m doing.

That last part is particularly important, because I chose to let my first readers see a much rougher first draft (at least of TWC) than usual, so of course everyone pointed out the stuff that I would most liked to have fixed first before releasing, like “So-and-so has no personality”.  I mean, it’s true — So-and-so is definitely a stiff at this point, but part of that is because when I was writing it I wasn’t exactly sure how old So-and-so was, or what he or she had experienced in life, or what was going to happen to him or her later on, and which of the character’s traits and what part of his or her life history would be useful and necessary to deepen the character, and so on.

He then reveals that he is considering, down the line, writing an Osten Ard compendium, perhaps something like the Tolkien Companion or George R.R. Martin’s The World of Ice and Fire:

The balance point here, as in any worldbuilding, is knowing how much material you need to know to feel comfortable writing in that world — which will always be less than you’ll actually use.  Even though my worlds are generally long on history and convoluted recitations thereof, I obviously won’t cram everything I’ve figured out into the books themselves (although I am getting more resigned to having to do an Osten Ard Companion someday, with Silmarillion-like tellings of all this background material.  A good project for my old age, shortly before all the dog hair I breathe and cat scratches I suffer from every day finally kill me).

If such a project takes place, the Osten Ard Companion would become the tenth or eleventh Osten Ard book, after The Burning Man, The Dragonbone Chair, Stone of Farewell, To Green Angel Tower (parts one and two), The Heart of What Was Lost, The Witchwood Crown, Empire of Grass, The Navigator’s Children, and The Shadow of Things to Come, the last three of which are expected sometime after the publication of The Witchwood Crown.

Williams’ original newsletter posting can be found here. You can subscribe to the newsletter at this link. Readers can speculate on who “so-and-so” is, and of what import the eight Gardenborn ships might play in the new series, and what role long-dead King Eahlstan has to play, on the Tad Williams Message Board, where there are already speculation threads for The Heart of What Was Lost and The Witchwood Crown.

Title of Fifth New Osten Ard Novel Announced

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he title of Tad Williams’ fifth new Osten Ard novel was made public this week on Facebook. The novel, which will be an interquel rather than a strict sequel, will be named The Shadow of Things to Come.

Williams, an international bestselling author, has hinted about this fifth novel in the past, but the title of the new book has remained under wraps until recently. In a previous Facebook posting, Williams wrote:

I would guess that the second short novel [The Shadow of Things to Come] will come out between The Witchwood Crown and Empire of Grass, but that’s a guess until we work out the schedule with publishers. The story at this stage is one of a number of possibilities, so I think I’ll talk about it next newsletter, or perhaps when actually I’m writing it and it’s jumping like the tree frogs around here whenever we get some rain. All the possibilities are pretty interesting, I have to say.

Tad Williams states that Simon Snowlock is less of a cynic than his wife, Miriamele. Possible plot point?

To Green Angel Tower (1993)

In all, five new books set in Williams’ eldritch world of Osten Ard will see worldwide publication over the next few years. Publishers in the US, UK, Germany, and the Netherlands have already been announced. The first new novel, The Heart of What Was Lost, was originally envisioned as a short story, but like many of Williams’ stories, expanded greatly in the telling. The original working title of this novel was The Heart of Regret, but that title has since been changed. The Heart of What Was Lost is set immediately after the events of To Green Angel Tower (published in 1993), and could be seen as a sequel novel to Williams’ original classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” books:

The story [of The Heart of What Was Lost] follows [Duke] Isgrimnur [of Elvritshalla] as he leads an army against the Storm King’s defeated warriors, who are looting and killing as they fall back to Nakkiga, their mountain home in the far north.

The Heart of What Was Lost is expected to be published in January 2017, followed by The Witchwood Crown in late Winter 2017. This second new Osten Ard novel will continue the story some thirty years later. After The Witchwood Crown will come The Shadow of Things to Come, Empire of Grass, and The Navigator’s Children, though not necessarily in that order.

Williams has given several interviews over the last year regarding several of the new Osten Ard books. We will provide more details on OstenArd.com regarding these highly-anticipated new novels when possible; alternately, you can subscribe to Williams’ official newsletter.

 

Reader arranges, performs “Cathyn Dair, by Silversea”, MS&T song

“Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” reader Sebastien Barwinek has posted a YouTube video of his performance and arrangement of “Cathyn Dair, by Silversea”, a song Princess Miriamele sings in To Green Angel Tower, Book 3 of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”. Awesome!

Lyrics:

In Cathyn Dair there lived a maid
In Cathyn Dair, by Silversea,
The fairest girl was ever born
And I loved her and she loved me.
 
By Silversea the wind is cold
The grass is long, the stones are old
And hearts are bought, and love is sold
And time and time the same tale told
In cruel Cathyn Dair.
 
We met when autumn moon was high
In Cathyn Dair, by Silversea,
In silver dress and golden shoon
She danced and gave her smile to me.
 
When winter’s ice was on the roof
In Cathyn Dair. by Silversea,
We sang beside the fiery hearth
She smiled and gave her lips to me.
 
By Silversea the wind is cold
The grass is long, the stones are old
And hearts are bought, and love is sold
And time and time the same tale told
In cruel Cathyn Dair.
 
When spring was dreaming in the fields
In Cathyn Dair, by Siiversea,
In Mircha’s shrine where candles burned
She stood and pledged her troth to me.
 
When summer burned upon the hills
In Cathyn Dair, by Silversea,
The banns were posted in the town
But she came not to marry me.
 
By Silversea the wind is cold
The grass is long, the stones are old
And hearts are bought, and love is sold
And time and time the same tale told
In cruel Cathyn Dair.
 
When Autumn’s moon had come again
In Cathyn Dair, by Silversea,
I saw her dance in silver dress
The man she danced for was not me.
 
When winter showed its cruel claws
In Cathyn Dair, by Silversea,
I walked out from the city walls
No more will that place torment me.
 
By Silversea the wind is cold
The grass is long, the stones are old
And hearts are bought, and love is sold
And time and time the same tale told
In cruel Cathyn Dair …

 

Ein Interview mit Tad Williams, Teil 1

An Interview with Tad Williams, part 1” has been translated into German by OstenArd.com contributor Olaf K. Below is the translation of the first part of the interview, for German-speakers.

28. Februar 2015

Science-Fiction & Fantasy Autor Tad Williams hat mehr als 30 Millionen Bücher verkauft. Seine Bücher wurden in mehr als 25 Sprachen übersetzt. Sein erster High Fantasy Zyklus, „Die Chronik der großen Schwerter“, war ein internationaler Bestsellererfolg und hat Millionen von Fans. Nun kehrt Tad Williams zurück in die Welt der „Chronik der großen Schwerter“ mit einer neuen Reihe, der Fortsetzung „The Last King of Osten Ard (Der letzte König von Osten Ard)“. Eine neue Reihe, die ihn wahrscheinlich wieder zurück auf die Bestsellerlisten katapultieren wird.

Wir sprachen mit Williams kurz nachdem seine Ehefrau und Managerin Deborah Beale verkündet hat, dass er die Rohfassung des ersten Romans der neuen Reihe, „The Witchwood Crown (Die Hexenholz Krone)“ abgeschlossen hat.  In diesem exklusiven Interview stellen wir Williams zahlreiche  Fragen über seine Arbeitsweise beim Entwerfen von ganzen Welten, etwaige Pläne für zukünftige Lesereisen, wie es ist für ihn in eine Welt zurück zu kehren, die er lange nicht betreten hatte, und seine Pläne für zukünftige „Bobby Dollar“ Romane, die er abwechselnd zwischen den Osten Ard Büchern schreiben möchte.

Teil Eins des Interviews direkt im Anschluss. Weitere Teile werden folgen.

OstenArd.com: Vielen Dank, Tad, dass Du diesem Interview zugestimmt hast! Du hast gesagt, dass du die neuen Osten Ard Bücher parallel zu weiteren Bobby Dollar Geschichten schreiben wirst. Obwohl die Geschichten sehr unterschiedlich sind, hast du Probleme damit die verschiedenen Stimmern der Charaktere auseinander zu halten? Oder sind die Unterschiede so groß, dass das nicht passiert?

Tad Williams: Eines der schönsten Dinge an Bobby Dollar ist, dass ich die Geschichten in der ersten Person Singular erzähle. Wenn ich einmal anfange in dieser Stimme zu schreiben, passiert alles sehr natürlich (nicht zuletzt deshalb weil er fast genauso spricht wie ich selbst.) Der Großteil der neuen Osten Ard Bücher wird in der dritten Person erzählt (obwohl es einige Briefabschnitte gibt, die in der ersten Person erzählt sind), daher sind sie sehr verschieden. Nicht zu vergessen, dass Bobby Dollar sehr modern erzählt wird. Wenn ich aber Fantasy schreib, vor allem vor-industrielle Fantasy muss ich den richtigen Ton und das richtige Vokabular finden, dass zu der Geschichte passt. Aber für den „Letzten König“ muss ich etwas finden, dass angemessen ist und zu dem passt, was ich in den ersten Büchern verwendet habe.

OstenArd.com: Du hast viele ergebene Leser, die dich gerne persönlich treffen würden. Plant dein Verleger eine Lesereise vor/während/nach der Veröffentlichung der „Hexenholz Krone“, und falls ja, welche Orte würdest du besuchen? Gibt es Märkte, die du einfach besuchen musst?

Tad Williams: Ich hoffe sehr, und ich würde es sehr gerne tun. Verleger schicken Autoren nicht mehr so oft auf Lesereise, weil der Niedergang des stationären Buchhandels und die Auswirkungen der Finanzkrise seit 2006 dies nicht mehr profitabel machen. Aber ich hoffe sehr, dass die neuen Bücher auch für meinen amerikanischen Verleger ein Ereignis sind, dass eine Lesereise rechtfertigt. Was andere Länder angeht, muss man von Fall zu Fall sehen, was sich ergibt, aber ich bin ziemlich sicher, dass mich mein deutscher Verleger auf Lesereise schicken wird.
OstenArd.com: Sowohl Christopher Paolini als auch George R.R. Martin haben bekundet, dass deine Reihe sie beeinflusst hat, ihre Bücher zu schreiben. Gibt es Pläne die beiden nach einem „Blurb“, einem Werbezitat für das Buchcover von „Die  Hexenholz Krone“ zu fragen?

Tad Williams' novels have long been available as audiobooks in Germany. Now "The Last King of Osten Ard" will get an English-language audiobook.

Tad Williams: Christopher würde es wahrscheinlich sofort tun, da sehe ich kein Problem. Aber es ist immer schwierig George für so etwas zu kriegen, da er immer so viele Anfragen an, die seine Aufmerksamkeit einfordern. Er muss tausend Dingen mehr seine Aufmerksamkeit schenken, als ich dies tun muss, und es gibt noch viele, viele Dinge mehr, die seine Aufmerksamkeit erreichen wollen.

OstenArd.com: Im „Drachenbeinthron“ hast du eine riesengroße Welt erschaffen mit mehr als 100 Städten, Ortschaften und Dörfern, die sich über einen ganzen Kontinent erstrecken. Dann hast du Sprachen, Kulturen und Völker geschaffen, die diese Orte bevölkern. Mit den weiteren Büchern wuchs Osten Ard immer weiter. Planst du nun einige Bereiche jenseits der alten Karten zu erkunden? Die „weißen Flecken“ an den Rändern der Karte? Falls ja, wie wird sich das zusammenfügen mit den bereits bekannten Strukturen und den alten Karten?

Tad Williams: Unser Wissen über OstenArd wird ganz gewiss erweitert werden, aber ich habe immer noch eine Menge Material aus den Originalbüchern, dass ich verdeutlichen und erweitern kann, ohne dass ich über die Grenzen der Wüste von Nascadu oder die Troll- bzw. Norn Fjelle hinausgehen muss. Trotzdem werden wir ein wenig mehr über das Gesamtkonzept der Welt lernen und ein paar Orte sehen, die wir in den ersten Büchern nicht gesehen haben. Soviel ist sicher!

Map of Osten Ard, showing the more than a dozen nations which make up the continent.

OstenArd.com: Während der Handlung der „Chronik der großen Schwerter“ konnten die Leser das Reich erkunden und von dampfenden Dschungeln bis hin zu gefrorener Tundra (einer ganzen Menge davon!) viele Orte besuchen.  Gibt es Pläne Bereiche von Osten Ard wieder zu besuchen, die in der klassischen Reihe nicht so viel Aufmerksamkeit erhalten haben? Nascadu? Die Lande der Hyrka? Die Inseln der Westerlinge? Harcha und Naraxi? Ijsgard? Der verlorene Garten?

Tad Williams: Wir werden eine Menge sehen von den Norn Fjellen und Nakkiga. Ebenfalls werden wir viel vom Aldheorte, den Thrithingen und Nabban sehen. Was andere, bislang unbesuchte Orte angeht, bin ich noch nicht sicher, weil das wird davon abhängen wohin das zweite und der Anfang des dritten Buches einige Charaktere führen wird, deren Schritte ich noch nicht komplett durchgeplant habe (Nebenbei, das amüsant-dumme Rechtschreibprogramm meines E-mail Programms möchte immer „Thrithings“ in „Thrashings“ ändern.) Und wir werden mehr über den Verlorenen Garten hören und lernen, eine GANZE Menge über die frühe Geschichte der Nornen und Sithi, sowohl in Osten Ard als auch vorher. Und obwohl ich nicht sagen kann, dass wir den Verlorenen Garten besuchen werden, denn er ist schließen verloren, so werden wir auf alle Fälle mehr über ihn erfahren.

Fortsetzung folgt…

New characters and old familiar friends

Tad Williams recently posted a partial character list for his new novel, The Witchwood Crown, Book One of “The Last King of Osten Ard”. There hasn’t yet been much analysis of this list in the blogosphere, so we at OstenArd.com are going to do some analysis.

Also returning are the Sa'onserei siblings, Jiriki and Aditu.

Also returning are the Sa’onserei siblings, Jiriki and Aditu.

Several of the names that Williams released are returning characters. Among these are Jiriki and Aditu, son and daughter, respectively, of the House Sa’onserei, the ruling house of the immortal Sithi. Conspicuously absent, however, are the names of any of the other Sithi who dwelled in Jao e-Tinukai’i during “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”: there is no mention on the list of Likimeya, the queen of the Zida’ya; her brother, Khendhraja’aro; or Kira’athu, the healer. These three characters played important (albeit secondary) roles in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”. Their absence indicates the possibility that the Sithi city of Jao e-Tinukai’i will not appear in “The Witchwood Crown” (other important Sithi characters included Amerasu, Shima’onari, Ann’ai and Kuroyi of Anvijanya, but these characters had passed on by the end of To Green Angel Tower).

Hakatri, son of Amerasu and Iyu'unigato, may reappear in the new series.

Hakatri, son of Amerasu and Iyu’unigato, may reappear in the new series.

The only other “returning” Sithi character on the list is Hakatri i-Sa’onserei, son of Amerasu Ship-born and Iyu’unigato the Erl King, and brother to Ineluki the Storm King who played a major role in the destruction of the mortal world in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”. It is not certain that Hakatri will return in the new series, or if he is simply a character mentioned in passing. However, even the possibility of Hakatri’s return sets the stage for a possible major conflict between the humans and the Gardenborn once more. Hakatri’s doings were legendary even among the Sithi. But Hakatri was badly burned a thousand (or so) years earlier, and has apparently not set foot in Osten Ard for centuries. Attempts by the Sithi to reach Hakatri via the Master Witnesses have all failed, indicating that he was far away from Osten Ard, or possibly no longer even alive.

With Jao e-Tinukai’i likely sidelined, the focus of the Gardenborn part of the story seems to be Nakkiga, the frozen city of the Norns, in the far north above Black Rimmersgard. In fact, Williams has stated that the immortal Norns will have an important role to play in the new series. Two of the names on the published character list are Utuk’ku the Norn Queen and Akhenabi, both of whom were antagonists in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”. Utuk’ku is expected to be a major antagonist in the new series, as one of the few major villains left at the end of the original series. The part that Akhenabi will play is as yet unknown; the embittered Norns were defeated and seemingly broken at the end of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, leaving interesting possibilities in the new novels, set thirty years after the end of To Green Angel Tower.

No other previously-seen Gardenborn names appeared on Williams’ new character list. Because the name of the third novel in the new series was announced as The Navigator’s Children, it seems likely that the Dwarrows and Niskies will have some part to play in “The Last King of Osten Ard”, but the names Yis-fidri, Yis-hadra, Sho-vennae, Imai-an and Nin Reisu, all Dwarrow or Niskie characters from “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, do not appear on the new character list.

Many new names on the list, however, do appear to be Gardenborn names. Among these are Nezeru, Takeru, Tsoja/Tsoji, Saojemi, Viyeki, Rinan, Khibi-Ya, and possibly Kulva, Jhesa, Ommu, and Makho. The names Rinan and Khibi-Ya follow formats similar to Niskie and Dwarrow names, respectively. Names ending with a -u and -a are likely to be female Norns. Names ending in -i and -o are likely Norn males. Alternately, the character names ending in vowels may be new Sithi characters. Some, including Kulva, Jhesa, Ommu and Makho, may be non-Gardenborn names.

Simon and Miriamele return in "The Witchwood Crown".

Simon and Miriamele return in “The Witchwood Crown”.

Among the returning mortal characters will be King Simon and Queen Miriamele, who have apparently ruled Osten Ard for the last thirty years. Count Eolair of Hernystir, Duke Isgrimnur of Rimmersgard, Jeremias, Binabik, Sisqinanamook, Tiamak, Prince Josua and Lady Vorzheva also appear on the character list, indicating that they will return in the new series as well. Hyara (Vorzheva’s sister) and Pasevalles (the young boy in Nabban) also appear on the list.

Notably absent are Rachel, Father Strangyeard, Sludig, and Josua’s twin children Derra and Deornoth. However, the original press release has indicated that Derra and Deornoth will have a role to play in the new series. Also not mentioned are Count Streawe, Duke Varellan, Lector Velligis, Queen Inahwen, and March-thane Fikolmij, who were the rulers, respectively, of Perdruin, Nabban, Mother Church, Hernystir, and High Thrithing thirty years earlier. It remains to be seen who now rule these lands.

The names John and Pryrates also appear on the new list. These two characters are likely only mentioned in passing, since they died thirty years earlier.

One “new” name on this list, Morgan, was announced in the press release in April. Morgan is the prince of Erkynland, heir apparent to Osten Ard. He is likely either the son or grandson of Simon and Miriamele. It seems likely that he is their son, named in honor of Doctor Morgenes, Simon’s long-dead mentor.

Little can be deduced from the remaining new names, save that Jarnulf is likely a Rimmersman; Qina and Ommu may be Qanuc; Little Snenneq is definitely Qanuc, and is probably the son of Snenneq, who appeared in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”; Olveris, Drusis, and Saluceris are likely Nabbanai; Tylleth and Etan may be Hernystiri; and Grimbrand and Osric are probably Erkynlanders. Fremur may be a Rimmerman god. The remaining names — Astrian, Drojan, Goh Gam Gar, Hugh, Idela, Lillia, Narvi, Porto, Udrig, and Unver — are hard to classify. It has been revealed that Narvi is a baron, but where he lives has not yet been revealed.

Williams has stated that more may be revealed soon, sometime after he begins the second draft of The Witchwood Crown. At some point, he will conduct chapter readings for fans. The book is tentatively slated for a Spring 2016 release.

 

Tad Williams completes 800 pages of “The Witchwood Crown”, releases partial character list

On his official message board today, bestselling speculative fiction author Tad Williams (The Dragonbone Chair, Tailchaser’s Song) posted a progress update on his manuscript of The Witchwood Crown, volume one of his planned three-book return to Osten Ard, “The Last King of Osten Ard”, sequel to the classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” series.

Williams revealed that he will have completed 800 pages of the manuscript this weekend. “I’ll crest 800 pages this weekend, I think, God willing and the river don’t rise,” he wrote, after much flooding in the Bay Area. The page count likely refers to manuscript pages rather than published book pages.

Williams, one of the most respected names in speculative fiction and whose fans include Christopher Paolini and George R. R. Martin, also released a partial character list for the new series, 34 of which are new characters, and the remaining 18 are characters who originally appeared in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”. Several of these 18 listed characters died in the original series, so they are likely only mentioned in passing in the new book, rather than zombie resurrections, although Williams has been known to resurrect characters who were long thought dead, as fans of his work well know.

Cover of The Dragonbone Chair, book 1 of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

Simon, Binabik and Miriamele will be returning in “The Witchwood Crown”, Book One of “The Last King of Osten Ard”.

Returning characters include fan favorites Simon, Miriamele, Binabik, Aditu and Jiriki. Also apparently returning, at least as mentions in the book, are Duke Isgrimnur, Prince Josua, Tiamak, Lady Vorzheva, Pasevalles, Akhenabi, Jeremias, Count Eolair, Prince Hakatri, Sisqinanamook, and of course everyone’s favorite 10,000-year-old ice queen Utuk’ku Seyt-Hamakha, who is believed to be a major antagonist in the new series.

Unmentioned in this announcement are Derra and Deornoth, the twins whose respective prophesies caused over 20 years of fan speculation while Williams wrote other novels. Williams has confirmed in previous announcements that Derra and Deornoth will appear in the new series.

Williams also wrote of his plans for the new book, including his intention that The Witchwood Crown will move a little faster than the beginning of The Dragonbone Chair, stating, “[T]his one moves a little faster and jumps into multi-person [point-of-view] pretty much immediately.  The “moves faster” part may not be so obvious after I revise and put in some of the detail I skipped over in the heat of first-drafting, but I think it will probably still feel this way.  (Thus, for returning readers, I will have to make sure it still feels pretty similar in terms of depth of character and background).”

Also returning are the Sa'onserei siblings, Jiriki and Aditu.

Also returning are the Sa’onserei siblings, Jiriki and Aditu.

The Witchwood Crown, the highly-anticipated first book in the new Osten Ard sequel series, is tentatively scheduled for a Spring 2016 release by DAW Books, publisher in the United States, and Hodder and Stoughton, the publisher in the United Kingdom. This will give the publishers time to edit what promises to be a lengthy manuscript, promote the book in international markets, and commission appropriate cover art on both sides of the Atlantic. An official release date for the first volume has not yet been set.

Tad Williams Does AMA Interview on Reddit

International bestselling speculative fiction author Tad Williams conducted an Ask Me Anything (AMA) interview with fans on entertainment site Reddit.com on Thursday September 18th. Fans were invited to ask questions, which Williams would later answer.

Many of the questions regarded Williams’ upcoming Fantasy series “The Last King of Osten Ard”, a sequel to his bestselling classic trilogy “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”. The first volume of the new series, The Witchwood Crown, is expected to be published sometime late in 2015.

Here are some of the answers Williams provided for fans during the AMA interview:

Drojan: On reread I noticed how young the protagonists were, especially Simon and Miriamele. Will the new series focus on young protagonists, or focus more on the (now) older cast?
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Tad_Williams: Both. We will see many of the old characters, who will be middle-aged, but there will be a ton of new protagonists (and antagonists) as well.

Jay239: Tad, after the Lord Of The Rings films became huge did Hollywood approach you about making Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn into a film series?

Tad_Williams: Nobody’s actually come to me with a solid idea of making a film about MS&T. I’ve had an option and lots of nibbles for various projects, but no real progress except for the Tailchaser animated film, which is still under construction but I feel sure will happen.

I’m ready to sell out, damn it! Why won’t anyone tempt me?

Tgho: When’s the MS&T film coming out, and who should be in it? Also, how many books will be in the sequel? And is it set immediately after?

Tad_Williams: I never know enough young actors to suggest Simon and Miri, but Tobias Menzies (Outlander) would make either an excellent Elias or a wonderful Josua. I’d also be happy to have Hiddleston. Beyond that, I’m not sure. Probably Mark Strong would be an easy bet for one of the brothers, or else as Pryrates.

There will be three books (don’t laugh). The titles will be:

The Witchwood Crown Sea of Grass The Navigator’s Children

[Editor’s note: in previous discussions, the title of the second book has been called Empire of Grass; it’s unclear if the title has changed, or Williams misspoke during the AMA.]

Gathrin: Is there any specific line or scene in the series, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, that you are especially proud of. A line or paragraph that made you step back and shake your head in wonder and pride? I was always on the edge of my seat during Dragonbone Chair, always wondering if things would turn out well for the characters!

Tad_Williams: I think I’ve said it before, but my own favorite parts are ephemeral things, Simon’s journey through the underground and his discovery of the monk’s bible in St. Hoderund’s. That’s the stuff I work hardest to capture, things that can’t quite be put into words, but we try to do it anyway.

Ylvs: Hi Tad, here are some related questions from the TLK-thread on your board: do Sithi have baby teeth and if yes when do they lose them? Do Sithi women have periods or more broadly: how do they reproduce?

Tad_Williams: I haven’t thought too much about Sithi baby teeth, to be absolutely honest. However, Sithi reproduce very much like humans, albeit they conceive much less frequently, and the gestation is probably a bit longer. Now you’ve got me worried about baby teeth…

The full interview is available on Reddit.

Updates on “The Last King of Osten Ard”

Over the summer, a number of fans have visited with Tad Williams, and coaxed out some details about his new fantasy series, The Last King of Osten Ard. The first volume in this highly-anticipated new series, The Witchwood Crown, is expected in 2015. Reader alert: there are spoilers in the news listed below.

New characters and old
The original press release mentioned familiar characters Simon Snowlock and Miriamele, the granddaughter of old King Presbyter John. The pair have now been king and queen of Erkynland, respectively, during the last thirty years.

In addition to these two beloved characters, the press release also mentioned Miriamele’s cousins, Prince Josua and Lady Vorzheva’s children, Derra and Deornoth. Other confirmed returning characters include Utuk’ku Seyt-Hamakha, Queen of the Norns, who is expected to be a major antagonist in the new series; and Akhenabi, the Norns’ spokesman at Naglimund. Both Utuk’ku and Akhenabi were antagonists in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”.

Among the returning mortal characters will be Eolair, Count of Nad Mullach; Isgrimnur, Duke of Elvritshalla; Tiamak, a Wranna scholar; and Binabik, the Singing Man of Mintahoq Mountain; and presumably his wife, Sisqinanamook.

Among the new characters will be a female Wranna servant, and a female Norn; neither characters’ names have been revealed. Other new characters include Binabik and Sisqi’s daughter and son-in-law (whose names also have not been released); and Prince Morgan, Simon and Miriamele’s “heir apparent”. In addition to Binabik’s new family, Binabik will be riding a new wolf, after the death of Qantaqa.

More news will be published when it’s available.

The Sa’onserei Family Tree

Here is an infographic showing the family tree of House Year-dancing, also known as House Sa’onserei, the ruling house of the Sithi.

Sa'onserei family tree

Sa’onserei family tree.

Notes:
[1] The text indicates that Shima’onari and Likimeya may be siblings in addition to being husband and wife. This may be an error in the appendix.

[2] Jiriki describes Kira’athu as his cousin on page 682 of To Green Angel Tower, part one, but her parentage is not clear.

[3] Jiriki refers to An’nai as his kinsman, but An’nai’s relationship to House Sa’onserei remains unclear.