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.

The Dragonbone Chair Now Available on Audiobook

The Dragonbone Chair: Memory, Sorrow & Thorn, Book 1 | [Tad Williams]Hodder Books has announced that Tad WilliamsThe Dragonbone Chair, Book One of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” is now available for pre-order on audible.com. The audiobook is the first novel in Tad Williams’ classic fantasy series “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, first published in 1988 and now available as an unabridged audiobook for the first time.

Kitchen-boy Simon is bored, restless and 14 years old – a dangerous combination. It seems, however, that his life has just taken a turn for the better when he’s apprenticed to his castle’s resident wizard. As Simon is learning to read and write under Doctor Morgenes’ tutelage, forces greater than he could possibly imagine are gathering: forces which will change Simon’s life – and his world – forever.

Following the death of Good King John, Osten Ard is plunged into civil war as his sons battle for control of the fabled Dragonbone Chair – the country’s throne as well as the symbol of its power. Simon is forced to flee the only home he has ever known, a journey which will test him beyond his worst nightmares.

With The Dragonbone Chair, Tad Williams introduced readers to the incredible, complex fantasy world of Osten Ard and kicked off the beloved, internationally best-selling series “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”. Later Osten Ard works include Stone of Farewell (1990), To Green Angel Tower (1993), The Burning Man (1998), and The Witchwood Crown (forthcoming). The audiobook release for Stone of Farewell is set for November; the audiobook for To Green Angel Tower will follow sometime thereafter. The audiobook for The Witchwood Crown is expected around the time of the release of the new novel.

The beloved fantasy classic, praised by George R. R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Christopher Paolini (among others) has been unavailable in audiobook format before now, at least in the English language. The book will be narrated by Andrew Wincott, an English actor with over 100 audiobooks to his credit.

Tad Williams announces completion of first draft of “The Witchwood Crown”!

Tad Williams (and Frankie Williams).

Tad Williams (and Frankie Beale-Williams).

On Facebook this weekend, Tad Williams, bestselling author of more than a dozen speculative fiction novels, including the classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” series, announced the completion of the first draft of The Witchwood Crown, the first novel in the upcoming sequel series, “The Last King of Osten Ard”.

On the social media platform, Williams wrote:

I’ve finished the (tidied and revised) version of the first draft of The Witchwood Crown. Currently it’s 1071 pages, about 311K words. Yes, I’ve written another not-small book. Surprise!

The writing process has been very fast, with the announcement of the highly-anticipated new series only being made in April of last year. The Witchwood Crown is expected to be published in Spring 2016, with subsequent volumes, tentatively titled Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children, published sometime thereafter. Negotiations for foreign-language translations have already been inked.

News of Williams’ return to Osten Ard has readers and critics alike excited, with Daniel Kaszor of The National Post writing that “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” “redefined what traditional fantasy could be”, while Google calls the series “the trilogy that launched one of the most important fantasy writers of our time.”

“Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” audiobooks in the works

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’ novels have long been available as audiobooks in Germany. Now “The Dragonbone Chair”, “Stone of Farewell” and “To Green Angel Tower” will get English-language audiobooks.

In Part 4 of our interview with Science Fiction/Fantasy author Tad Williams, Williams revealed plans for audio books for his classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” series. In the US and the UK, the “MS&T” books have never been transferred to audio, other than an edition for sight-impaired readers that was released on audio-cassette in the 1990s. Requests for English-language audiobooks of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” have been made for many years, to no avail. German-language audiobooks have been available for a long time.

Today, Deborah Beale, wife and business partner of Tad Williams, just tweeted news that casting for the audiobooks for “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” has commenced. It is presumed that the English-language audiobooks will be released in time for the release of the sequel to “MS&T”, called “The Last King of Osten Ard”. The first volume of the new series, called The Witchwood Crown, is expected in April 2016.

Publishers Line Up for “The Last King of Osten Ard”

Stone of Farewell, book 2 of Memory Sorrow and ThornGood news for readers of Tad Williams’ books in Europe!

Following last year’s press releases that DAW Books in the US and Hodder and Stoughton in the UK will publish “The Last King of Osten Ard” is news this month that the as-yet unpublished book will be translated into German and Dutch for overseas readers.

Dutch publisher Luitingh has acquired the publishing rights to the new series in the Netherlands. Luitingh has previous translated Williams’ four-volume “Shadowmarch” series as well as the single-volume entry, The War of the Flowers.

In Germany, a major market for Williams’ books, Klett-Cotta has acquired the rights to publication in Germany, according to PublishersMarketplace.com (registration required). Klett-Cotta has previously published translations of most of Williams’ books, including “Shadowmarch”, a four-volume edition of “Das Geheimnis der Großen Schwerter” (“Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”), Traumjäger und Goldpfote (Tailchaser’s Song), the “Tinkerfarm” books (“Ordinary Farm”), Der Blumenkrieg (The War of the Flowers), “Otherland” and Der brennende Mann (The Burning Man).

The Witchwood Crown, the first volume of Williams’s upcoming “The Last King of Osten Ard” trilogy, is expected in the US and the UK in Spring 2016. Foreign-language editions will be published sometime afterwards. The Witchwood Crown will be followed by Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children.

 

An Interview with Tad Williams, Part 1

Speculative fiction writer Tad Williams has sold over 30 million copies of his books, which have been translated into more than 25 languages. His first epic fantasy trilogy, “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn”, became an international bestselling series beloved by millions. And now Tad Williams returns to the world of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” with a new sequel series called “The Last King of Osten Ard”, a series which seems likely to catapult him back once more onto the bestseller lists.

We talked with Williams shortly after he and his wife and business partner Deborah Beale announced that he had just completed the rough draft of the first book in the new series, The Witchwood Crown. In this exclusive interview, we asked Williams some questions about his world-building, plans for book tours, what it’s like to return to a world he hasn’t been to in ages, and his plans to continue to write “Bobby Dollar” books in between Osten Ard novels. Below is Part One of the interview. Further portions of the interview will be published later this week.

OstenArd.com: Thanks, Tad, for agreeing to do this interview! You have stated that you are writing the new Osten Ard novels at the same time as Bobby Dollar stories. Even though they are very different stories, do you ever find yourself confusing the characters’ voices? Or are they just too different for that to happen?

Tad Williams: One of the nicest things about Bobby Dollar is that I tell it in the first person. Once I start writing that voice, it comes pretty naturally (in part because he talks more than a bit like me.) Most of TLK is third-person past tense (there are some epistolary sections in first-person present) so it’s actually quite different. Not to mention that BD is modern in style of speech, so it’s like turning off the tape-delay. When I’m writing fantasy, especially pre-industrial fantasy, I have to find a proper tone and vocabulary to go with the story. But with TLK, I just have to come up with something that feels appropriate to what I used in the first books.

Cover of part 1 of the Japanese edition of The Dragonbone Chair, one of more than 25 language editions of the book.

Cover of part 1 of the Japanese edition of The Dragonbone Chair, one of more than 25 translations of the book.

OA.com: You have a devoted fan base who would love to meet you. Does your publisher plan a major book tour before/during/after the launch of The Witchwood Crown, and if so, where might you go? Are there markets that you absolutely know you’ll have to visit?

Tad: I hope so, and I would love to do it. Publishers haven’t been touring writers as much because of a) the loss of profitability in brick-and-mortar publishing and the 2006-present economic ructions. But I hope this is enough of an event to warrant my American publishers touring me again. As far as other countries, that’s always catch as catch can, although I’m pretty sure my German publishers will tour me.

OA.com: Both Christopher Paolini and George R. R. Martin have acknowledged that you inspired them to write their own series. Are there plans afoot to ask them to provide a blurb for The Witchwood Crown?

Tad: Christopher would probably do it, no problem. It’s always hard to get George to do stuff like that just because there’s so many demands on his time. He’s like me times a thousand, probably, in terms of how many things he can pay attention to out of however many are seeking his attention.

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

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

OA.com: In The Dragonbone Chair, you built a massive world with more than 100 cities, towns and villages spread out over a continent. Then you created languages, cultures, and peoples to fill those places. As you added more books, Osten Ard grew further. Are you planning to do any exploring of areas outside the old maps? The “blank areas at the edges of the maps”? If so, how will that mesh with the existing infrastructure and the old maps?

Tad: There will definitely be some expansion of what we know about O. Ard., but I’ve got plenty of stuff from the originals to elucidate and expand upon without going beyond the Nascadu desert or the northern Trollfells or Nornfells. However, we will learn a bit more about the -conceptual- map of the world, and also see some places we never saw in the first books, that’s for sure.

OA.com: During the events of MS&T, readers got to explore the realm, visiting everything from steaming jungles to frozen tundra (LOTS of frozen tundra!). Any plans to revisit areas of Osten Ard which didn’t get much attention in the classic series? Nascadu? The Hyrkalands? The Westerling Islands? Harcha and Naraxi? Ijsgard? The Lost Garden?

Tad: We’re going to see a LOT of the Nornfells and Nakkiga. We’re also going to see a lot of Aldheorte and the Thrithings and Nabban. As far as other, previously unvisited places, I’m not sure — that will depend on where the second volume and the beginning of the third takes some characters whose steps I haven’t completely mapped yet. (By the way, the amusingly stupid spellchecker on this email keeps trying to change “the Thrithings” to “the Thrashings”.) And we will learn and hear more about the Lost Garden as well — a LOT about the early history of the Norns and Sithi, both in Osten Ard and before. So while I can’t say we’re going to visit the Lost Garden — it is lost, after all — we’re definitely going to learn and hear more about it.

To be continued…

Part Two

Tad Williams completes first draft of “The Witchwood Crown”, new Osten Ard book

Bestselling international fantasy/sci-fi author Tad Williams was set to complete the first draft of The Witchwood Crown on Tuesday, his wife and business partner, Deborah Beale, announced on Twitter on Tuesday morning.

The Witchwood Crown is the first volume of “The Last King of Osten Ard”, a sequel trilogy to the original classic epic fantasy series “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, set thirty years after the original books. Beale and Williams have kept fans up to date on a regular basis (a list of monthly page counts can be found here), with news of progress happening nearly every week.

The Dragonbone Chair, book 1 of Memory Sorrow and Thorn

Cover of The Dragonbone Chair, the first volume of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”.

Reaction to the news of a new Osten Ard series has been very positive, with Daniel Kaszor of The National Post writing, “The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series […] redefined what traditional fantasy could be. Williams took the basics of Tolkien, deconstructed the story and put it back together in his own image, one fit for modern times.” Kaszor also points out the influences that “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” had on “Game of Thrones”. Meanwhile, Charlie Jane Anders of io9.com writes that “it’s great news that Williams is returning to the series that made his name”.

“The Witchwood Crown” is expected to be published in Spring 2016, and will be followed by Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children. The books will be illustrated by Michael Whelan, who painted the original covers of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”.

Updates about Tad Williams’ The Witchwood Crown released

Deborah Beale, wife and business partner of Tad Williams, has revealed a few new details on Twitter about Williams’ progress writing The Witchwood Crown, the first novel in the sequel to Williams’ classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” series, “The Last King of Osten Ard”. The Witchwood Crown will be followed by Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children.

Beale tweeted several of Williams’ comments about the manuscript:

I’ve about 70pp to go to finish first draft which will then grow again in revision…
The finished thing will come in at about 1000 to 1100 pp. about 330 words per page
I’ll know much better what I’ve got when I sit down to read it before rewrite
I’ll probably release chapter titles in the next few weeks #TheWitchwoodCrown

(The original tweets can be found here, here, here and here).

During the writing of The Witchwood Crown, Williams has kept fans up to date regularly on page counts and some plot elements, including character lists and settings. The last update, in mid-December, mentioned that almost 800 pages had been written at that point, so about 200 to 300 pages have been written over the holidays. Williams is making rapid progress on the writing of the novel, which is expected to be published in Spring 2016.

Michael Whelan agrees to illustrate “The Witchwood Crown”

Michael Whelan painted the covers for the US and UK editions of "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn".

Michael Whelan painted the covers for the US and UK editions of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”.

Legendary sci-fi/fantasy illustrator Michael Whelan has agreed to illustrate the cover of Tad Williams’ latest Osten Ard novel, The Witchwood Crown. This is exciting news for fans of both Tad Williams and Michael Whelan. Whelan created the original beautiful covers for The Dragonbone Chair (in 1988), Stone of Farewell (1990), and New York Times bestseller To Green Angel Tower (1993).

Whelan’s paintings have appeared on more than 350 books, including those of Stephen King, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Heinlein, and Piers Anthony. His work on Tad Williams books included all four volumes of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, all four volumes of “Otherland”, and the first three volumes of “Shadowmarch”, including several alternate covers.

The announcement and further details of the new commission can be found on Michael Whelan’s official site.

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.