cover image The Heart of What Was Lost: A Novel of Osten Ard

The Heart of What Was Lost: A Novel of Osten Ard

Tad Williams. DAW, $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1248-7

After two decades, Williams (Sleeping Late on Judgement Day) returns to the epic fantasy world of Osten Ard, made famous by his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy. It picks up after the events of 1993’s To Green Angel Tower with the Storm King’s defeat. The remnants of the Norn armies attempt to fall back to their ancestral mountain stronghold of Nakkiga. However, the battle-weary forces of Duke Isgrimnur pursue them, intent on preventing any further threat to the human kingdoms, which have only just begun to rebuild. As the story unfolds, seen through multiple perspectives from both sides of the conflict, it becomes clear that this is, in some ways, a tragedy: the last gasp of a dying older race unable to withstand mortal perseverance and vengeance. With protagonists ranging from lowly soldiers to ancient generals, Williams grants equal time and empathy to both factions, imbuing the usual good-vs.-evil clash with more depth and complexity. This work is unusually brief for Williams, and it relies on prior knowledge of the series, but it’s a satisfying reintroduction to his setting and a tasty appetizer before the forthcoming The Witchwood Crown. Agent: Matthew Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Jan.)