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

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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…

An Interview with Tad Williams, part 2

Below is Part Two of OstenArd.com’s interview with Science Fiction/Fantasy writer Tad Williams, author of the “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, “Otherland”, “Shadowmarch” and “Bobby Dollar” books, and who recently announced the completion of the first draft of The Witchwood Crown, the first volume of a series of sequel novels to his classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” trilogy.

(Part One of the interview can be found here).

In this interview, we asked Williams what it’s like to return to the world of Osten Ard, how he’s reacted to the announcement that Michael Whelan will be illustrating the covers, and what he’s been researching while working on 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”.

OstenArd.com: It’s been recently announced that Michael Whelan will be doing the covers for the new Osten Ard books, just as he did for the classic MS&T series. When I spoke to him in person in November, he was excited and proud to be asked to create the new cover art for your books. How excited are you to know that his amazing work will be on the new books?

Tad Williams: I think it’s wonderful. It’s hard to imagine what anyone else could do with them, since Michael put his stamp on them so authoritatively. And I’ve always loved Michael’s work, since long before he intersected my career, or I even had a career to intersect. So, yes, thrilled to see what he’ll come up with, proud that he wants another go.

OA.com: On the TadWilliams.com message board, you revealed a partial character list. Any plans to reveal a more detailed or more extensive character list? Or would that be too spoilery?

Tad: I intend at some point — probably closing of rewrite of first draft — to update and correct that list. Also, I may very well release the chapter titles, which won’t necessarily give anything away conclusively, but will certainly inspire some guesswork.

OA.com: When MS&T was first published the initial critical reaction was disappointing since critics only read it as a generic fantasy trilogy and failed to see more than that. Only a few critics (like Roz Kaveney) saw beneath the surface and recognized it as a revisionist fantasy. But 30 years on, a new generation of writers is acknowledging their debt to MS&T (Brandon Sanderson, Christopher Paolini, even GRRM), and MS&T is widely regarded as “classic”. Are you still disappointed over the lack of critical appreciation? Do you think that the new trilogy will change that?

Tad: I’m kind of resigned to the fact that for whatever reason, I will remain one of those weird tastes, like some odd ice cream flavor, that some people will be passionate about, and others won’t quite get the fuss. And, in all fairness, I’m just writing fantasy and science fiction books that I’d like to read. It’s not like I think I’m all that important myself in the first place. But, yes, it’s heartening when people DO understand that I put a lot of thought and care into this, that I’m not just writing extra-long role playing adventures, that I bring a few other skills and interests to the table. My wife says, “Don’t worry, they (critics and trendsetters) will kiss your ass after you’re dead”, to which I usually reply, “That doesn’t sound like it will be all that much fun for either of us.”

OA.com: Has Osten Ard society changed in the last 30 years? Does Simon’s upbringing have lasting influence on his kingship and if so was he able to change things? Did he want to?

Tad: That’s one of the things that will definitely be a part of the story, so It’s hard to discuss without giving things away. But, yes, Simon and Miri and the lessons their lives have brought them will have a lot to do with the future of Osten Ard, and they both want to be “good” rulers, so they’ve spent a lot of time since the end of TGAT trying to figure out what that means and how to accomplish it, with mixed success (as is true with all of us with just about anything).

OA.com: How difficult is it to “collaborate with yourself”, as it were, in writing a sequel to a story you wrapped up over twenty years ago? Are you trying to match the style and mood of the original, or are you just trusting yourself that it will come out right? Do you find yourself remembering any of the feelings or thoughts you had when writing MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN, even things you’d forgotten until now?

Tad: I won’t really know until I’ve finished, because when I’m writing things they are always composed of dangly bits and rough edges that have to be fixed, and that’s where I am right now — all dangly bits.

Some of the process is easier than a first-time novel, because for instance I already feel I know who Simon and Miriamele are in a deep sense, and can guess which things would be appropriate to their adult selves, and which wouldn’t be. But of course I’m not just trying to match a style, or match older characters to their younger selves, I’m also trying to match an -impact- as well, because I’m messing with material that in some ways means more to readers than it does to me. While I know I will never be able to write new stories which have the same impact for the older fans, I want them to feel appropriate, and that I took the best possible care of old favorites while justifying a sequel by adding new material. And of course, I can’t forget about all the people who may read this without having read the first books. I don’t want to freeze them out and make it some kind of nostalgia fest. So it’s a very interesting, occasionally terrifying thing to do.

OA.com: For the Shadowmarch series, you mentioned doing research on geology, iirc. What sort of research did you do (are doing) for TLKOOA?

Tad: Ohmigod, what amn’t I researching? I’ll pick some bookmarks at random:

The Morrigan
Battle of Walcourt
List of Anglo-Saxon place names
Ice Cave Picture
3D plans for Skipton Castle
Tetraplegia
Traditional Gaelic Names
Monasticism in Western Europe
The Male and Female Names of Animals
History of the Wool Trade
Crows roosting
Proto-Indo-European
Akasha (name)
Entheogens of Antiquity
Parthenocarpy
Central Asian Steppes
Mythical Thule
Sami People

and so on and so on, to the tune of about five hundred bookmarks. Not to mention the fact that I’ve got about forty or so research books that I have out and in use just for this story alone, as well as copious notes from the first book and various other bits and bobs. (Message Board conversations, Maps, etc.) So, yeah, there’s research in all my stuff, but I think this one is second only to OTHERLAND in terms of how much material I’m using.

(To be continued…)

Part Three

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