Tad Williams’ “The Heart of What Was Lost” available for pre-order on Amazon

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ig news today, as Amazon has added Tad Williams’ The Heart of What Was Lost to its website as an item which may now be pre-ordered from Amazon. The new novel, a sequel to the original classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” books, takes place sometime shortly after the events of the original series.

Amazon gives the length of the novel as 368 pages in hardcover, with a publication date of January 3rd, 2017. Amazon also lists the Kindle edition as available for pre-order. Williams, the international bestselling author of more than twenty speculative fiction novels, including The War of the Flowers, Caliban’s Hour, and the “Otherland”, “Shadowmarch”, and “Bobby Dollar” series, talked a bit about some of the plot details of the new novel, including a few spoilers:

[R]eturning characters from MS&T are Isgrimnur and Sludig […] There are also a few others such as Akhenabi (a Norn magician) who had brief appearances in MS&T.

So two of the characters will be the returning Rimmersmen Isgrimnur and Sludig; readers of the original series will recall Isgrimnur, the aging Duke of Rimmergard in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, a major point-of-view character who throws his lot in with the rebel Prince Josua Lackhand of Erkynland in their quest to remove Josua’s brother, the treacherous King Elias, from the Dragonbone Chair.

Sludig was Isgrimnur’s lieutenant, and he was a dynamic and important character in the original trilogy. It is Sludig who accompanies Simon, Binabik and Binabik’s wolf companion Qantaqa north from Naglimund Castle, skirting around the western and northern sides of Aldheorte Forest in a desperate, cold attempt to retrieve the lost sword  Thorn from the “Rhymer’s Greate Tree.” Sludig and Binabik eventually return to Prince Josua with the Great Sword Thorn, but it is Simon who is knighted by the prince.

The Heart of What Was Lost is Williams’ first new Osten Ard novel since 1993’s bestselling To Green Angel Tower, and this first new novel will be followed by four additional novels. The second novel, The Witchwood Crown, is already scheduled for an April 2017 release.

 

 

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.)

Tad Williams upcoming tour dates – London, SF Bay Area

Cover of Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, third volume in Tad Williams' "Bobby Dollar" books.

Cover of Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, third volume in Tad Williams’ “Bobby Dollar” books.

Speculative fiction author Tad Williams will be in London at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore (179 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8JR) on Tuesday, July 21st, from 6-7 PM. He will be signing Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, his third Bobby Dollar novel. Further details are here.

Williams will also appear at Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park, California, (1010 El Camino Real) on Monday, August 24th at 7:30 PM. The event is called “John Scalzi in conversation with Tad Williams”, and Williams will be chatting with Hugo-award winning author John Scalzi. This is a ticketed event. More information is available here.

More tour dates will be posted here as we hear of them.

Tad Williams updates readers with the chapter titles for “The Witchwood Crown”

Tad Williams, author of the “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” books, today posted an update on his progress with The Witchwood Crown, volume one of “The Last King of Osten Ard”, sequel series to “MS&T”

The current manuscript is over 1,000 pages, comprised of 54 chapters. (Williams is no stranger to very long manuscripts, many of his novels clocking in at around the same size. The third “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” book, To Green Angel Tower, is one of the longest novels in the English language.)

Williams wrote:

Here are my much-delayed revised chapter titles.  These are still subject to change, but they all have something to do with their chapters now.  (Often I will start a chapter with a title, but decide to deal with something different instead of my original plan for that chapter, then forget to change the title.)

Anyway, make of them what you will.  It will be a while until I have a good cast list to share.

THE WITCHWOOD CROWN
Volume One of THE LAST KING OF OSTEN ARD

Foreword

PART ONE: WIDOWS

Ch. 1 – The Glorious
Ch. 2 – Conversation with a Corpse-Giant
Ch. 3 – Brother Monarchs
Ch. 4 – Island of Bones
Ch. 5 – An Aversion to Widows
Ch. 6 – The Finest Tent on the Frostmarch
Ch. 7 – Audience with the Ever-Living
Ch. 8 – A Meeting On Lantern Bridge
Ch. 9 – Heart of the Kynswood
Ch. 10 – The Third Duke
Ch. 11 – Ghosts of the Garden
Ch. 12 – Baroness Alva’s Tale

Ch. 13 – Hymns of the Lightless
Ch. 14 – At the Top of the Holy Tree
Ch. 15 –  A Passage of Arms
Ch. 16 – A Hand In The Snow
Ch. 17 – No Shadow
Ch. 18 – A Bad Book
Ch. 19 – Unnatural Birth
Ch. 20 – His Bright Gem
Ch. 21 – Crossroad
Ch. 22 – Death Songs
Ch. 23 – Testament of the White Hand

PART TWO: ORPHANS

Ch. 24 – Terrible Flame
Ch. 25 – Example of a Dead Hedgehog
Ch. 26 – The Small Council
Ch. 27 – Noontide At The Quarely Maid
Ch. 28 – Cradle Songs of Red Pig Lagoon
Ch. 29 – Bones and Black Statues
Ch. 30 – The Slow Game
Ch. 31 – A High, Dark Place
Ch. 32 – Rosewater and Balsam
Ch. 33 – Secrets and Promises
Ch. 34 – Feeding The Familiar
Ch. 35 – The Man with the Odd Smile
Ch. 36 – A Foolish Dream
Ch. 37 – Two Bedroom Conversations
Ch. 38 – The Factor’s Ship
Ch. 39 – A Grassland Wedding
Ch. 40 – Watching Like God

PART THREE: EXILES

Ch. 41 – Hern’s Horde
Ch. 42 – Forest Music
Ch. 43 – Into Deeper Shadows
Ch. 44 – Charms and Tokens
Ch. 45 – A Nighttime Sun
Ch. 46 – River Man
Ch. 47 – Hidden Chambers
Ch. 48 – The Little Boats
Ch. 49 – Blood As Black As Night
Ch. 50 – Stolen Scales
Ch. 51 – Several Matters of State
Ch. 52 – Homecoming
Ch. 53 – The Queen’s Pleasure
Ch. 54 – Voices Unheard, Faces Unseen

There are some inconsistencies with the chapter titles; for example, Chapter 27’s title, referring to the Quarely Maid, is not the name of the inn chosen by readers on the official message board last year. But of course, these chapter titles are subject to change or revision. The Witchwood Crown is expected to be released in Spring 2016, followed sometime thereafter by Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children.

New covers for British “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”

Hodder Books announced last week that Tad Williams‘ classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” series, as well as Tailchaser’s Song, will be getting new cover art.

The new black and white cover art was created by Ben Summers (who previously created the cover art for the UK edition of Sleeping Late on Judgement Day). The cover art includes only one cover for To Green Angel Tower, so it seems as though publication of To Green Angel Tower will be in one volume instead of two.

The new “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” covers appear to show the fabled chair of dragon’s bones (book one), Binabik’s wolf companion Qantaqa (book two), and a vulture (book three).

Along with the announcement was word that Hodder will publish e-books of the classic series, which will go on sale on August 6th of this year:

The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series will be available (for the first time ever in the UK) as ebooks from August 6th and Tailchaser’s Song will be available in print and as an ebook on August 20th. And don’t forget – we’ll be publishing the the first sequel to Memory, Sorrow and Thorn next year…

It is hoped that the e-books will contain fewer mistakes than the current US e-books, which are riddled with typos.

After the release of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” and Tailchaser’s Song, Hodder is set to release The Witchwood Crown, volume one of “The Last King of Osten Ard“, a sequel series to Williams’ beloved original series. The Witchwood Crown is scheduled for a Spring 2016 release date.

An Interview with Tad Williams, part 4

Like Tad Williams, we tried to keep it to three parts, but it ended up being four. Below is Part Four of OstenArd.com’s interview with internationally bestselling speculative fiction 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, called “The Last King of Osten Ard“. The Witchwood Crown is tentatively slated for a Spring 2016 release.

Part OnePart TwoPart Three

The below questions were asked by readers on the Tad Williams Message Board and by OstenArd.com contributors. In this part of the interview, we asked Williams about publication plans for print and audiobooks, plans for re-releases of the classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” books, and what, if anything, he has found challenging about writing a much-older Simon, Miriamele, Binabik, and the rest of the crew.

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 Last King of Osten Ard” will get an English-language audiobook, Williams reveals.

OstenArd.com: Tad, the new series will certainly be a major publishing event, and deals have been announced for the US and the UK. Are there any other deals in place that you can talk about? Have plans been put in place on how the new books are going to be published and/or marketed? Will there be audiobooks?

Tad Williams: I’m sure there will be audiobooks in English and German, although I don’t know any details yet. All other stuff, I really don’t know. Deb [Tad’s wife and business partner Deborah Beale] probably knows more than I do, because I’m doing my best just to get the books written.

OA.com: Will there be re-issues of the original trilogy? Hardcover reprint? Audiobooks? Any news on that front?

Tad: Same answer. But, yes, we’re pushing for a re-release.

OA.com: In the “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” reread on the Tad Williams Message Board, we had a lot of fun tracking down references to mythology/history/other books – can we expect more of that in “The Last King of Osten Ard”? Is there a reference you particularly liked in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” and that no one mentioned to you yet? Any still hidden Easter-egg?

Tad: I honestly have no idea if there are any Easter eggs that have escaped the laser-focus-bunnies of the message board. I’ll keep an eye open when I do another re-read (which I think I’ll have to do before I commit to the first volume as finalized), and if I see something, I’ll let you know. Besides, it’s better when you guys find these things on your own, because then even if I never intended it, I can look wise and nod my head: “Ah, yes, that. Very clever, wasn’t I?”

Simon and Miriamele gained a throne thirty years ago... How have their experiences changed them over the decades?

Simon and Miriamele gained a throne thirty years ago… How have their experiences changed them over the decades?

OA.com: Were there any aspects of writing a 30-years-older Simon or Miriamele (or any other character from “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” who reappears in “The Last King of Osten Ard” for that matter) that you found surprising or challenging or surprisingly challenging?

Tad: Too early to say, really, because a lot of this will be not just who the characters are at the beginning, but how they change during these books, as they did during MS&T. But it’s all challenging, because we know these characters as young people. The difference between a teenager and a middle-aged adult is almost like two different people. But I think I’ll be able to tell you more when I’m actually done — rewrites and all — with this first volume, because it’s in rereading Witchwood Crown AS A NOVEL that will tell me a lot about whether Simon and Miriamele’s older selves feel real and appropriate.

 

[Ed.: This concludes our multi-part interview with Tad Williams. We’d like to take a moment to thank Tad Williams and Deborah Beale for their time, and all the friendly folks on the Tad Williams message board, who asked a lot of great questions.]

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