The WARBREAKER paperback is officially out today, though some readers picked it up in places like Walmart starting last week. More on WARBREAKER below, but if you’ve read the book already there’s an additional reason to be excited about this release: the prologue to my next epic fantasy that comes out August 17th, THE WAY OF KINGS, is printed in the back of the book. Here’s how it starts:
Szeth-son-son-Vallano, Truthless of Shinovar, wore white on the day he was to kill a king.
If you went to one of my signings in the past year, chances are good that you heard me read the first half of this prologue (unless I read from THE GATHERING STORM). If you heard it, you probably wanted me to keep reading. Well, now’s your chance to get the whole prologue. And this isn’t a short one-pager like the Elantris prologue; for now, let me just say that if you like the fight scenes in MISTBORN, you’ll most likely enjoy the prologue to THE WAY OF KINGS.
I will eventually be releasing this prologue on the website along with several other preview chapters (I plan to release more chapters than I’ve done with my books in the past), but for now it’s available in the back of the WARBREAKER paperback.
Now, WARBREAKER. If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you probably know that I released the book for free on the website, chapter by chapter, as I wrote it, then posted revised drafts as I finished them–all in an attempt to give readers an insight to the writing process. Here’s a link to the latest creative-commons electronic version of the book, free for download. This is the same as the hardcover print edition. The paperback has a few minor corrections in it; I’ll try to get a PDF of it up soon (but you understand that things have been busy around here the last few weeks, with the WAY OF KINGS deadline looming). If you like the electronic edition, consider grabbing a copy of the hardcover or the paperback. Here is a link to the page where you can find old versions of the book. The most useful things on this page are probably the comparison documents, where I use MS word to compare the old versions with the new versions. There’s a 1.0 to 6.1 comparison document up there. It’s in Word 2007 form, and is well worth finding a copy of Word 2007 to look at it. The document opens three windows within the same frame and ties them together in a very nifty way to let you scroll down and look at the old document, the new document, and a larger version of the book with lines crossed out and and added. It gives you a very clear visual way of inspecting the changes I made to the book during the revision process.
If you’re curious, here’s a video of Dan Dos Santos painting the cover. I’ll post again about this later in the week, but this weekend Dan, the book’s editor Moshe Feder, and I will all be appearing at two events in Minneapolis: a signing at Dreamhaven Books on Thursday and Minicon 45 on Friday through Sunday. The cover painting will be there as well. See the Events page for details.
Here’s a synopsis of the book by my editor: (See reviews at the very bottom of the page.)
The capital of Hallandren is T’telir, a beautiful city by the sea, a center of the dyeing trade where colorfully-dressed crowds mill through the bustling streets, and living gods rule in splendor, confined to the gilded cage known as the Court of Gods. Under the rule of the remote, all-powerful God King, they live in the lap of luxury, basking in the worship of the people, accepting in tribute the gifts of freely-given breath, the life-force that keeps them alive and eternally youthful.
But Hallendren did not reach this halcyon state without a struggle, a revolution that left those who rejected it living in austere exile in the mountain realm of Idris. To keep the peace, the exiled royal family agreed in this generation to the betrothal of a daughter of the royal line to the God King. Vivenna, the eldest daughter, was raised from birth to fulfill this commitment, but at the last minute, her wily father, King Dedelin, sends his youngest daughter, Siri, instead. Vivenna is furious about losing the role that terrified her and yet defined her life, and baffled that her father expects poor Siri to cope with the monstrous God King with no training and less warning. So Vivenna secretly flees their small mountain realm to follow her sister.
Siri, in whom the blood of the old kings runs strong, is no weakling herself, but she is shocked to find the city, the people, and even the royal marriage itself are not at all what she expected. Unaware of Vivenna’s arrival in T’telir, she is forced to take matters into her own hands.
And while this royal drama plays out, another newcomer to the city, Vasher, arrives with a sentient sword named Nightblood, and ambitious plans of his own, plans dependent on the unique BioChromatic magic of Hallandren, which uses color to focus the power of breath, plans which will change the world.
In the tradition of his own acclaimed debut novel, Elantris, in Warbreaker Brandon Sanderson has written a supremely entertaining and endlessly surprising epic fantasy in one volume. It is an adventure, a romance, a witty tale of political intrigue, and even an examination of the ethics of divinity and the power of religion. Like all his novels, Warbreaker breaks the mold of conventional fantasy to create a reading experience you will never forget.
The book is beautiful, with an excellent cover and design. I’m biased, but I think it’d make a great addition to your collection! Here are some reviews.
REVIEWS (As collected by Tor Publicity)
“Epic fantasy heavyweight Sanderson pens a powerful stand-alone tale of unpredictable loyalties, dark intrigue and dangerous magic…Sanderson melds complex, believable characters, a marvelous world and thoughtful, ironic humor into an extraordinary and highly entertaining story.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Sanderson again demonstrates his capacity for handling large and complex themes while creating believable characters…This series opener is essential reading for fantasy fans.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“This very superior stand-alone fantasy proves, among other things, that Sanderson was a good choice to complete the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga. Sanderson is clearly a master of large-scale stories, splendidly depicting worlds as well as strong female characters…May the author write long and prosper.” —Booklist
“A highly readable and compelling stand-alone volume from the acclaimed author of the Mistborn trilogy…Highly recommended to fans of epic fantasy.” —The Romantic Times BOOKreviews 4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK!
“Not only has Sanderson drawn a freshly imagined world and its society, he has also given us a plot full of unexpected twists and turns…Anyone looking for a different and refreshing fantasy novel will be delighted by this exceptional tale of magic, mystery and the politics of divinity.” –Michael Moorcock
Recent Awards & Honors: WARBREAKER is one of five nominees for the 2009 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Epic Fantasy. It has also been nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award (though if you’re going to vote on that, I recommend voting for THE GATHERING STORM instead as I feel that book is a better fit for the award).
Finally, and on a completely different topic, today also marks the U.S. release of my friend Dan Wells’s book I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER. Here’s what I said about the book a year ago:
Some books are exciting. Some books are intriguing. Some are exhilarating, others moving, and still others deeply disturbing. I’ve rarely found a book that fit all of these descriptions at once, and never have I read one that mixes each emotion together as thoroughly as I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER.
While reading this novel, I felt like I did when I first discovered Lovecraft. The beauty of the prose, mixed with the depth of characterization, gave the haunting, first person narrative a human touch that I don’t always discover in horror novels. Yet I savor it when I do, for the finest horror is the most human of all genres.
It’s difficult to tie down I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER. On one hand, it’s a character study that inspects the mind of a teenage sociopath. On the other, it’s an old fashioned murder mystery with a supernatural edge. Neither of those concepts convey the wit of the prose or the brilliance of the story’s great dilemma. Which is more alien? The monster with the heart of a man or the man with the heart of a monster?
In short, I can only say this: Read the book. Regardless of your age or your genre preferences, you will find this story both profound and enthralling.
Sam Weller’s in Salt Lake City is hosting a book launch & signing with Dan tonight at 6:00 PM. For more info, see their flyer.