Dragonbone Chair Reissued; Tad Williams Talks About Upcoming Novels

osten ard l

ots of interesting news this week, as DAW Books issues a newly-revised trade paperback edition of Tad Williams’ classic fantasy novel The Dragonbone Chair, book one of “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn”, the same week that they release the book in audiobook format.

U.S. readers have been denied the audiobook for many years, but at long last the audiobook, read by Andrew Wincott, is available to an American audience. The audiobook runs 33 hours and 19 minutes and is available for purchase right now on Amazon.com. A sample file clip is available here.

The-Dragonbone-ChairThe new trade paperback features beautiful new cover art by legendary artist Michael Whelan, who also created the original cover art for The Dragonbone Chair 28 years ago, upon the book’s original 1988 publication.

The new edition runs 652 pages and measures 6 x 9 x 1.5 inches. The cover features a blurb by George R. R. Martin: “Inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy… it’s one of my favorite fantasy series.” The back cover features quotes praising The Dragonbone Chair written by popular fantasy authors Patrick Rothfuss and Christopher Paolini.

Inside, the the book is largely the same as in previous editions. However, there are a few new extras, one being a new introduction by Williams’ longtime editor, Betsy Wollheim, titled “How Tad Came to Write The Dragonbone Chair”, and a new acknowledgement page at the end of the book. (We at Treacherous Paths are extremely pleased to have been included in the acknowledgements).

The book is definitely worth picking up just for the new cover art, which features one of the Great Swords mentioned in The Dragonbone Chair. Sequel novels Stone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower will be re-released later this year, and in audiobook format for the US as well.

Also new this week are a few snippets from Tad Williams’ official message board, where the internationally bestselling author discussed three of his upcoming Osten Ard novels, set in the same world as The Dragonbone Chair. Williams discussed his on-going work writing/revising The Heart of What Was Lost, which will be published in January 2017. He wrote:

As I’ve been going through the copyedited manuscript of HoWWL [The Heart of What Was Lost] this afternoon, I’m realizing I’m going to have to write a Tolkien-ish “On Norns and the Sithi” piece as well as a complete index of characters, because otherwise it will just be too confusing for new readers.  My poor copyeditor is asking about what the differences are with Hikeda’ya/Zida’ya/Norns/Sithi/White Foxes/Keida’ya (a term that will be new to the new books, meaning the race before they split up) and various others, as well as if Rimmersmen are Northmen and if mortals only means them or others…and so on.

I always worried about the fine line between not boring the readers who already knew Osten Ard and those new to the place.

Long-time readers of Williams’ novels will remember that in Williams’ world of Osten Ard, the Gardenborn, the elder elf-like race who came to Osten Ard from the east on eight great ships, were divided into several tribes. These tribes included the proud Sithi (also called “peaceful ones”, Zida’ya, or Dawn Children), as well as the embittered Norns (“white foxes”, Hikeda’ya, or Cloud Children) and the pacifistic Dwarrows and Niskies (variously called “dvernings”, Tinukeda’ya, or Ocean Children).

The Keida’ya is a term not mentioned in the original series. Williams states that the term is new, and refers to (some of?) the Gardenborn before they split into factions.

Williams also wrote about the progress of the novels:

I finished the final draft of HoWWL a while back, but this is the copyedited manuscript, which has comments on it from the copy editor (and others — everybody likes to get in on the Exciting Tad Action).  Then I’ll have one more pass at the proofs stage, which is mostly about looking for mistakes in typesetting, but is also my last chance to kill an infelicitous phrase, or at least bury it in disguising prose.

On a few hundred pages at most it’s not such a big deal, but I’ll be really sick of Osten Ard by the time I’ve been through all the different versions of TWC [The Witchwood Crown].  I’ll also be writing EoG [Empire of Grass] at the same time, so I’ll be doubly or even trebly sick.

Thank God I’m used to this kind of getting-sick-of-my-own-book.

The Witchwood Crown, the first novel in the upcoming “The Last King of Osten Ard” series, is scheduled for publication in April of 2017, with sequel novels Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children following sometime thereafter.

 

New Covers for “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” revealed!

osten ard t

oday, Random House website Suvudu.com revealed three brand-new re-issue covers for international bestselling author Tad Williams‘ classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” dark fantasy series. The covers feature beautiful new cover art by legendary science fiction/fantasy artist Michael Whelan, who painted the original covers for “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” almost thirty years ago.

The updated artwork is the first major revamp of the classic covers of The Dragonbone Chair, Stone of Farewell, and To Green Angel Tower since the books first went to print in the late 1980s/early 1990s, at least in America. Whelan, winner of fifteen Hugo Awards and three World Fantasy Awards for best artist, is known for his detailed and painstaking work, which often involves months of research and manuscript reading.

The new covers will appear on updated U.S. DAW Books trade paperback editions of the original trilogy, with a newly-revised edition of The Dragonbone Chair scheduled to appear in July 2016, followed by Stone of Farewell in September 2016, and To Green Angel Tower in November 2016. These volumes will be closely followed by two brand-new Osten Ard novels: The Heart of What Was Lost in January 2017 and The Witchwood Crown in April 2017. Three or four additional novels are planned, with The Witchwood Crown being the first volume in the highly-anticipated sequel series “The Last King of Osten Ard”.

The-Dragonbone-ChairFirst up is the new cover for The Dragonbone Chair, the cardinal volume, which features a blurb by George R. R. Martin, author of the bestselling A Game of Thrones: “Inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy… It’s one of my favorite series.”

Whelan’s artwork accurately depicts the sword Minneyar, also known as “Year of Memory” or simply Memory, one of the Three Great Swords spoken of in the Mad Priest Nisses’ ancient prophecy:

“When frost doth grow on Claves’ bell
And shadows walk upon the road
When water blackens in the well
Three Swords must come again.

“When Bukken from the earth do creep
And Hunën from the heights descend
When Nightmare throttles peaceful sleep
Three Swords must come again.

“To turn the stride of treading Fate
To clear the fogging Mists of Time
If Early shall resist too Late
Three Swords must come again.”

Stone-of-FarewellScheduled for September, the new cover for Stone of Farewell features the Great Sword Sorrow, also known in the Sithi language as Jingizu. Whelan’s illustration accurately portrays the double-hilted sword, which is made of both iron and witchwood, two materials which were considered inimicable, perhaps because neither the iron nor the witchwood are native to the lands of Osten Ard: iron was brought from Ijsgard east to Osten Ard on King Elvrit’s longboat Sotfengsel, while witchwood was brought westward to Osten Ard by the undying Sithi on their eight great ships.

The great sword Sorrow is described in the text: “… in a sheath at [King Elias’] side was the sword with the strange crossed hilt […] there was something queer and unsettling about the blade… [It] had a strange double guard, the cross pieces making; with the hilt, a sort of five-pointed star. Somewhere, deep in Simon’s self, he recognized this last sword. Somewhere, in a memory black as night, deep as a cave, he had seen such a blade…”

The new cover contains a blurb from author Patrick Rothfuss (“The Kingkiller Chronicle”): “Groundbreaking… changed how people thought of the genre, and paved the way for so much modern fantasy. Including mine.”

To-Green-Angel-Tower

The third volume, To Green Angel Tower, is scheduled for a November 2016 re-release. The cover features Michael Whelan’s depiction of the Great Sword named Thorn.

The text describes the sword thusly: “it was a sword like no other he had ever seen: long as a man’s arms spread wide, fingertip to fingertip, and black. The purity of its blackness was unmarred by the colors that sparkled on its edge, as though the blade was so supernaturally sharp that it even sliced the dim light of the cavern into rainbows. Had it not been for the silver cord wrapped around the hilt as a handgrip— leaving the uncovered guard and pommel as pitchy as the rest of its length— it would have seemed to bear no relationship to mankind at all. Rather, despite its symmetry, it would have seemed some natural growth, some pure essence of nature’s blackness extruded by chance in the form of an exquisite sword.”

The cover features a blurb from author Christopher Paolini (Eragon): “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is one of the great fantasy epics of all time.” We at Treacherous Paths can’t disagree.

We will keep readers up to date on more news as soon as we’re authorized to release it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

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.

31 similarities between “A Song of Ice and Fire” and “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”

dragonbone_chair_a_game_of_thrones

The cover of The Dragonbone Chair features Simon Snowlock and the dwarfish Binabik, as well as the wolf Qantaqa (on back cover). The cover of A Game of Thrones features Jon Snow and the dwarf Tyrion, and the direwolf Ghost.

It is no secret that George R. R. Martin drew inspiration for his A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels from the best-selling Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series by Tad Williams. Martin has stated repeatedly that Williams inspired him to write ASOIAF:

Tad’s fantasy series, The Dragonbone Chair and the rest of his famous four-book trilogy was one of the things that inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy. I read Tad and was impressed by him, but the imitators that followed — well, fantasy got a bad rep for being very formulaic and ritual. And I read The Dragonbone Chair and said, “My god, they can do something with this form,” and it’s Tad doing it. It’s one of my favorite fantasy series.

In fact, Martin purposely buried some homages to MS&T in ASOIAF, while at other points, he seems to reuse the same plot elements, often to a surprisingly detailed degree. Here are 25 similarities between the two book series [contains spoilers for both series of novels]:

1) A high-born girl named (M)arya disguises herself as a boy, and learns to fight with a sword as she travels throughout the lands. She travels from one end of the world to the other, fleeing danger everywhere, while disguised as a boy. Despite the fact that many people see through her flimsy ‘disguise’, she keeps wearing it.

2) Two princely brothers who hate each other fight over the royal throne. The country is torn apart as various factions choose sides. But the side that plays dirty will win…

3) A red-robed advisor to the new king convinces the king that he needs to sacrifice his hated younger brother; this sacrifice, the red-robed advisor says, will make the kingdom whole once more.

4) A tailed star appears in the sky, portending doom/change.

5) Feuding brothers named Elias/Elyas and Josua appear in the story.

6) Strange, otherworldly creatures who live in the far north appear, and although they have been inactive for centuries, they plot to take over the world. They have been exiled at the northern edge of the world for many years, but will soon take it all back, manchild.

7) It is foretold of the coming of an unusual winter which will last a very long time, at the same time as the otherworldly invasion. Only the northerners take these old legends seriously. Everyone else laughs at such absurd tales. But the people of the north never forget.

8) A very unusual throne lies at the center of the human dispute for the kingdom, but it is only a distraction for the real conflict.

9) A major noble character, a close relative of the king, loses his hand.

10) A wolf character plays a major role.

11) A character that is the ‘Hand’ figures prominently.

12) A slender sword named ‘Needle’/’Naidel’ is wielded by a main character, who can’t use a heavier sword.

13) Everybody laughs at the idea of ice giants in the north… until they see them for themselves.

14) Young, noble children are cruelly thrust out into the cold, cruel world by evil adults, slowly learning to fend for themselves as they grow into young men and women.

15) A crown made to resemble antlers appears as a plot element.

16) A very short yet intelligent character has a betrothal as part of his storyline. But he is soon put on trial, where the penalty is death, and everyone seems set on killing him… even his own lover.

17) The story begins shortly before the death of the old king, whose reign was peaceful, and kept the kingdoms safe. The king brought peace and prosperity to the lands, but now his death has thrown the empire into conflict, with factions fighting.

18) The Children of the Dawn/Forest, who once lived throughout the realm, but who are now living in hiding, will have a part to play. They appear to be at odds with the otherworldly creatures in the far north.

19) A character whose name is Snow(lock), who is forced to journey into the north, is a main character. He appears to be a nobody, but his secret lineage is important. No one knows the truth…

20) A guilt-tormented knight, Sir Camaris/Ser Connington, spends years in exile in the south, only to return, where he is at last revealed as still being alive.

21) A major character lives thousands of miles from the rest of the other main characters, for over a thousand pages having no real interaction with the main group. But eventually, Danaerys/Tiamak will have a role to play.

22) The series was meant to be a trilogy, but got out of hand.

23) A major young male character likes to climb his castle’s walls and turrets, and can do so with ease. Eventually, he will be forced to leave his childhood home, no longer able to climb the castle’s walls and turrets.

24) This same character is plagued by prophetic, spooky dreams.

25) A new god, the Red God, demands blood sacrifice. His adherents are more than willing to do the Red God’s bidding, no matter how awful the sacrifice is. Once blood is spilled, the spell is created, and shadowy figures appear…

26) A servant of evil wearing a hound’s head helmet.

27) An important character of very short size. 26&27 thanks to

28) A fierce people of nomadic grasslanders.

29) Birds are used as messengers between intellectuals.

30) A battle on a frozen lake (not yet canonical in ASoIaF but still).
28-30  thanks to

31) Miriamele/Arya shoots/stabbes the Storm/Night King.