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.

 

Tad Williams reveals “Heart of Regret”, new Osten Ard novel

ver the last few years, speculative fiction author Tad Williams has been writing new stories set in Osten Ard, the mysterious world of his now-classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” books. In April 2014, Williams announced “The Last King of Osten Ard”, a sequel trilogy to “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”; the first volume of the new series, The Witchwood Crown, is expected in March 2017, with subsequent volumes Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children published sometime thereafter.

Last week came the news, leaked by Tad Williams on his Facebook account, that another Osten Ard novel, in addition to the three already announced, is already in the works. This week, Williams revealed the working title of the fourth new Osten Ard novel on his message board; the title is Heart of Regret.

Williams stated that the book started out as a novella, but (as is typical with his writing) grew in the writing process:

The short novel is no longer a novella, which was how it started.  I’ve just finished the first draft and the current page length is 213 manuscript pages, which is something in the order of 70K words.

This is certainly no surprise. Nearly all of Tad Williams’ novels have been lengthy, with To Green Angel Tower being one of the longest English-language novels ever written. The 70,000 words of Heart of Regret works out to about 280 pages, according to one word-count website. Williams goes on to explain that the Heart of Regret title is only a working title, and may well change by the time of publication. He also reveals many new details about the new story, including quite a few spoilers:

The original title was “Heart of Regret”, and I still lean toward that, although Deborah is worried that it’s too much of a downer and would rather have something about the Battle of Nakkiga in the title.  (The Heart of Regret is a symbolic jewel belonging to an important Norn character, but the words also say much about the nature of the story and its events.)  It takes place in the half-year after the end of [To Green Angel Tower], and tells of the attempt by Isgrimnur and a force largely made up of Rimmersgard soldiers to destroy the remaining Norns as they flee back to their homeland and their mountain.  Of course, it gets a bit more complicated than that.  It also answers some questions about what actually happened in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Green Angel Tower.

osten-ard-mapSo the main characters will be the returning Rimmersmen characters Isgrimnur and Sludig; Isgrimnur is the Duke of Rimmergard in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, a point-of-view character. Sludig was his lieutenant, and a dynamic and important character in the original trilogy; he accompanies Simon, Binabik and Qantaqa north from Naglimund Castle, skirting around the western and northern sides of Aldheorte Forest in their long, cold quest to retrieve the Great Sword Thorn from the “Rhymer’s Greate Tree”. He then travels south with Binabik and Qantaqa around the eastern edge of Aldheorte to the Stone of Farewell, where he becomes Prince Josua’s Man Friday, accompanying the prince south to Nabban and then back north to Hayholt Castle.

According to Williams’ announcement, Heart of Regret will continue almost directly from the ending of To Green Angel Tower, though it’s unclear what this exactly means for the story. The fall of Green Angel Tower happens one year before the ending of the classic series, as the Afterword, after Chapter 60, takes place one year after the fall of the tower.

Williams also revealed more about the plot of Heart of Regret, including these juicy details:

The only real returning characters from MS&T are Isgrimnur and Sludig, but there are several prominent characters from “The Witchwood Crown” as well, including the Norn lord and engineer, Viyeki, and Sir Porto, a Perdruinese man who is young in the short novel but pretty old by the time Witchwood Crown begins.  There are also a few others such as Akehnabi (a Norn magician, very important in the new books) who had brief appearances in MS&T.

Williams had previously revealed the names Viyeki and Porto last year on his message board (along with about 40 other names), and these names had been identified, correctly as it can now be said, by readers on the Smarch forums as belonging to a Norn man and a Perdruinese man, respectively, through careful guesswork.

The third name on Williams’ announcement, Akhenabi, appeared in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” as the embittered spokesman at the ruins of Naglimund, the “nail-fort” in the northern part of Erkynland. It was Akhenabi who caused the corpses of the dead of Naglimund to rise once more in a macabre display of eldritch power.

Williams then announced some details on the publication of Heart of Regret:

Deb and I are still considering options as far as how it will be published, in part because we would like to see it come out when “Witchwood Crown” was originally scheduled, i.e. Spring of 2016.  When I have more information — and there WILL be more information — I promise I will tell you immediately.

I will be happy to answer other questions, but of course I will be very conservative with any more story information than I’ve already given here.  Without giving anything away, there will be threads in this story that will become very important in the trilogy to come, so it’s probably not safe to ignore if you want to stay up with the Canonical Osten Ard.  (I am grinning at my own self-indulgence here.)

Fourth Osten Ard novel unofficially announced

Part 1 of the Japanese edition of The Dragonbone Chair

Part 1 of the Japanese edition of The Dragonbone Chair.

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.

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.