A glorious return to Osten Ard

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do not start this review the usual way with the book but with myself. I was one of the first human beings in the whole wide world who knew that Tad would return to Osten Ard. The thought that there would be more stories in my favourite parallel universe overwhelmed and excited me in a fashion I never thought news about fiction could.
Later I was one of the first readers of The Witchwood Crown, giving comprehensive feedback on each new version. Now I write a review on the ARC I got from the publishers. I still feel like in a dream – this is surreal.

All this shall make transparent where I come from. Expect a eulogy.

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So. The long awaited and highly anticipated sequel to Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. News from the vast world I keep going back to for 25 years now because I love it so much. It features a mind-swirling amount of characters: old and new, awesome and annoying, funny and frightening. And multiple places: familiar yet changed like the Hayholt. Others described in much more detail like Nabban. Those that never before had featured like Elvritshalla. And of course Nakkiga where the old enemy stirs again.

Tad masterfully manages to revive the old heroes although it took me a few chapters to feel close to them again. Simon and Miriamele, Eolair and Tiamak after all are not the same people I know – 33 years of story time have passed since I last met them.

A reunion scene brought tears of joy to my eyes, and from that moment on I was emotionally engaged with The Witchwood Crown as I am with Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

The multiple plots burble along like mountain spring creeks: there are trade wars, unrest in the west, fights for power and territory in the South, the occasional bloody fight – all the stuff expected from a civilisation on the brink of enlightenment and it is a joy to see it unfold in Osten Ard. Plus fearsome monsters and fairies, demons and a hilarious troll. All this is wonderful to behold while the real mysteries are slowly growing in a few passing paragraphs and the occasional subclause. A beautifully composed set-up for a great story. I would have been perfectly happy with that book and would have praised Tad über den grünen Klee for it. And I did not notice that it did not truly accelerated my heart rate for page after fast turned page… until it did.

The last 200+ had me reading until dawn. Tad shifts gears and… major stuff starts happening. The thing is hitting the other thing. Like big time.

This showdown had me respectively gasping in surprise, shouting: Finally!, laughing with joy, holding my breath for two pages straight, slapping my head, shedding more tears and smiling woefully at the very end. An incredible rollercoaster ride that made me crave for more the moment I turned the very last page. I’ve said it elsewhere and I say it again: I have not read a final act that exciting and surprising since George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords.

And I mean that literally.

A lot has been said about the similarities between MS&T and GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Martin himself names the former a major inspiration for his own epic.

While he was writing TWC in 2014 I talked to Tad about stories and tropes influencing each other in general and these two in particular and he said he “would like to keep the conversation going.” And darn, he fricking did. Iconic scenes from A Song of Ice and Fire are mirrored in The Witchwood Crown and I yayed every single one of them. This seesaw between two masters of story telling is an additional treat in this awesome book.

I am so much looking forward to reading the final version of The Witchwood Crown come June 27th. At last it will be a beautiful proper hardcover book with a shiny envelope. We’re all in for such a treat!

Tad Williams’ “The Witchwood Crown” Delayed

The Witchwood Crown, first volume of the highly-anticipated sequel to Tad Williams’ “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” has been delayed, and unfortunately does not appear in DAW Books’ Spring 2016 catalog.

Deborah Beale, wife and business partner of Tad Williams, has released this statement:

“Book one of Tad Williams’ ‘The Last King of Osten Ard’ isn’t in in the DAW spring schedule owing to pressures arising from the integration of Penguin/Random House.  We will know more about that after Tad’s September meeting with his publishers.

“Beyond this, we have been focussed on a number of projects related to ’The Last King’.  The road to volume one, ‘The Witchwood Crown’, will be dotted with many Easter eggs, some of which will be announced after that September meeting.  This is a trilogy that is expanding from the front end of things!”

The Witchwood Crown is the first volume of “The Last King of Osten Ard“. This sequel to Williams’ classic 1980s fantasy trilogy/tetralogy was set to be released in Spring 2016, though no definite date had yet been set. The announcement of “a number of projects related to “The Last King of Osten Ard” is intriguing. Williams has written of several possibilities on his official message board over the years.

More news will come from Tad Williams or Deborah Beale when it is available; hopefully in September. Meanwhile, Hodder Books in the UK has released The Dragonbone Chair on audiobook, via Audible.com/Amazon.co.uk, the first time MS&T has been available as an audiobook for the general public. A review of the reading from this site is forthcoming.