Future Treasures: The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams

Future Treasures: The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams

the-heart-of-what-was-lost-tad-williams-smallTad Williams’ massive Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy (The Dragonbone Chair, Stone of Farewell, and the 1,100-page To Green Angel Tower) was one of the biggest fantasy series of the late 80s and early 90s. Set in the world of Osten Ard, the books were enormously influential on an entire generation of fantasy writers. Patrick Rothfuss called it “Groundbreaking… changed how people thought of the genre, and paved the way for so much modern fantasy. Including mine,” and George R. R. Martin said it “Inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy…. It’s one of my favorite fantasy series.”

Tad Williams returns to Osten Ard for the first time in over two decades with The Heart of What Was Lost. It arrives in hardcover next month from DAW, and will be followed by The Witchwood Crown (the opening novel in a brand new series, Last King of Osten Ard) in April 4, 2017.

At the end of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Ineluki the Storm King, an undead spirit of horrifying, demonic power, came within moments of stopping Time itself and obliterating humankind. He was defeated by a coalition of mortal men and women joined by his own deathless descendants, the Sithi.

In the wake of the Storm King’s fall, Ineluki’s loyal minions, the Norns, dark cousins to the Sithi, choose to flee the lands of men and retreat north to Nakkiga, their ancient citadel within the hollow heart of the mountain called Stormspike. But as the defeated Norns make their way to this last haven, the mortal Rimmersman Duke Isgrimnur leads an army in pursuit, determined to end the Norns’ attacks and defeat their ageless Queen Utuk’ku for all time.

Two southern soldiers, Porto and Endri, joined the mortal army to help achieve this ambitious goal — though as they venture farther and farther into the frozen north, braving the fierce resistance and deadly magics of the retreating Norns, they cannot help but wonder what they are doing so very far from home. Meanwhile, the Norns must now confront the prospect of extinction at the hands of Isgrimnur and his mortal army.

Viyeki, a leader of the Norns’ military engineers, the Order of Builders, desperately seeks a way to help his people reach their mountain — and then stave off the destruction of their race. For the two armies will finally clash in a battle to be remembered as the Siege of Nakkiga; a battle so strange and deadly, so wracked with dark enchantment, that it threatens to destroy not just one side but quite possibly all.

Trapped inside the mountain as the mortals batter at Nakkiga’s gates, Viyeki the Builder will discover disturbing secrets about his own people, mysteries both present and past, represented by the priceless gem known as The Heart of What Was Lost.

Our previous coverage of Tad Williams includes:

Demons, Angels, Monsters and Mysteries: A Review of The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Jeremy Erman
November Brings the Final Volume of Tad Williams’ Shadowmarch Series

The Heart of What Was Lost will be published by DAW on January 3, 2017. It is 224 pages, priced at $22 in hardcover and $11.99 for the digital version.

See all of our recent Future Treasures here.

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R.K. Robinson

I loved The Dragonbone Chair and then liked each succeeding book less. I barely got through the last, probably just because the story didn’t go the direction I’d hoped. My problem, I guess. Still this builds on the previous plot lines and I’ll skip.

Thomas Parker

George R. R. Martin said it “Inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy…. It’s one of my favorite fantasy series.”

Now I know who to blame!


“Now I know who to blame!”

LOL! In a similar, sardonic vein, how many “fantasy forests” were clear-cut to print these tomes???

Joe H.

I still have my SFBC hardcovers of the original trilogy, which I last read in, oh, probably 1993 or thereabouts. I do remember liking them; I think Williams has always had a good way with elves (not slavishly copying Tolkien, but making them decidedly unhuman).

Might be time for a reread when the new one comes out.

Thomas Parker

I’ve never read Williams, though I’ve heard he’s a fine fantasist. But why is it that with this kind of book, any summary invariably makes the whole thing sound like a parody?

Joe H.

John/Thomas — Yep, just reading back-of-book copy can make even the best epic fantasy sound like a write-up of someone’s D&D campaign; that’s why I like to check reviews.

And yeah, I was wondering if this book was going to be something more interstitial rather than the start of the actual trilogy. Either way, it’s probably a good excuse.

(And because I’m entirely incapable of helping myself — it hasn’t _quite_ been 20 years — Williams had a Memory, Sorrow & Thorn story in the first Silverberg Legends volume back in, what, 1998?)


“Hugely ambitious, high stakes, big cast, and a dark lord.”

Or in other words, “Star Wars.” :^)

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