No, winter is not coming… not in 2018, at least. You’re going to have to keep waiting for THE WINDS OF WINTER.
You will, however, be able to return to Westeros this year, as I suggested back over on Live Journal.
Archmaester Gyldayn has at last completed and delivered the first half of his monumental history of the Targaryen kings of Westeros, FIRE & BLOOD, and Bantam Spectra and HarperCollins Voyager will be releasing the hardcover on November 20, I am thrilled to say.
I’ve seen the archmaester’s manuscript. Since it was handwritten on vellum with a quill pen, he required my help in transcribing the text to a more modern format: WordStar 4.0, on a DOS computer. Took a while, but a few weeks ago I was able to ship it off to my editors on both sides of the Atlantic, and to my foreign representatives for all my publishers around the world. Some of my foreign publishers will be releasing their editions simultaneously with the US and UK hardbacks; others may need to wait for translation from the Common Tongue.
It’s a hefty book, almost a thousand manuscript pages (okay, 989, if you want to be precise). That’s not quite as long as A GAME OF THRONES or any of the later volumes in A SONG FOR ICE AND FIRE, but there’s a lot of reading there, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. This first volume covers all the Targaryen kings from Aegon I (the Conquerer) to the regency of Aegon III (the Dragonbane), along with their wives, wars, siblings, children, friends, rivals, laws, travels, and sundry other matters. For those not up on your Westerosi history, that’s Aegon I, Aenys, Maegor the Cruel, Jaehaerys I (the Conciliator), Viserys I, Aegon II (and Rhaenyra), and Aegon III (the regency). Oh, and there are dragons too.
Lots of dragons.
Of course, the story doesn’t end with the regents of Aegon III. There is a lot more history to come, and Archmaester Gyldayn will get to all that too, in FIRE & BLOOD, Volume Two. But that one is a few years down the pike. So don’t get impatient. Gyldayn will get to it eventually, but he’s old, and so am I, and we both have other projects to tend to as well. The Citadel puts a lot of demands on an archmaester’s time.
Oh, and I almost forgot the best part: FIRE AND BLOOD will be illustrated throughout. No, it won’t be a huge coffee table book with art on every page, like A WORLD OF ICE & FIRE… but there will be lots of lots of interior artwork. Think more along the lines of the special anniversary edition of A GAME OF THRONES that we did a few years ago, or the gorgeous hardcover of A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS, the Dunk & Egg collection. We’ll have more than 75 black & white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley.
And here’s a peek at the US cover, plus an illustration by Doug Wheatley:
And if I may set down Archmaester Gyldayn’s quill for a while…
Long-time fans and readers of my Not A Blog know the entire history of FIRE & BLOOD, but there may be some of you out there who do not. This is the book that I used to jokingly refer to as the GRRMarillion (or the first half of it, at least); that is to say, my version of Tolkien’s mammoth history of Middle Earth. In my case, the focus is on the Targaryens, from Aegon’s Conquest to Robert’s Rebellion (so, unlike JRRT, I will not be covering the creation of the world and any wars amongst the angels). These histories began a few years back as a series of sidebars intended for THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE, our huge illustrated concordance, but I got carried away (as I tend to do) and before long the sidebars got so long they were threatening to overwhelm the entire book, so we pulled them out of that volume… and saved them for this one.
Portions of the book have previously appeared here and there. The chapter about Aegon’s Conquest was published, pretty much as written, in THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE. The section about the reigns of Aegon’s sons Aenys and Maegor came out last year as “Sons of the Dragon,” in Gardner Dozois’s anthology THE BOOK OF SWORDS, and an abridged version of same was in THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE. Material from the chapters about the struggle for succession after Jaehaerys I and the Dance of the Dragons after Viserys I was published in an abridged form as “The Rogue Prince” (in ROGUES) and “The Princess and the Queen” (in DANGEROUS WOMEN), and in a much more severely abridged form in THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE… but FIRE & BLOOD will mark the first time that full, unabridged texts of Archmaester Gyldayn’s histories have been published. In addition, of course, there are hundreds of pages of new material which has never appeared before in any form, abridged or unabridged.
I do want to stress… indeed, I want to shout… that FIRE & BLOOD is not a novel. This is not a traditional narrative and was never intended to be. Some of my fans have objected to the term “fake history” that I’ve bandied about in past blog posts and announcements in reference to “The Princess and the Queen” and “Sons of the Dragon” and the like. Very well; let’s call this one “imaginary history” instead. The essential point being the “history” part. I love reading popular histories myself, and that’s what I was aiming for here. Not historical fiction, not fantasy, no… but something more akin to Thomas B. Costain’s monumental (and wonderfully entertaining) four-volume history of the Plantagenets. (But with dragons. Did I mention the dragons?)
So: not a novel. Everyone clear on that? (Though there are enough stories here for twenty novels. Battles, bloodshed, betrayals, love, lust, horror, religious wars, politics, incest, historical revisionism, all the fun stuff).
Oh, and I should also say… as most of you know, HBO is presently developing a number of different prequels to GAME OF THRONES. I know I am going to be asked whether those shows are going to be based on material from FIRE & BLOOD. It’s a logical question. The only answer I can give is… ah, well, no one is sure yet, and anyway, I am not allowed to say. So let’s move that to the side.
The important thing is: NOVEMBER 20. Mark it down on your calendars. (If you enjoy imaginary history).
Archmaester Gyldayn is hanging up his quill for a while. As for me, I’m returning once again to THE WINDS OF WINTER.
For the retailer links to FIRE & BLOOD, click here.
Current Mood: creative
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