This is the first volume of a sequel trilogy to his classic Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, one of the defining works of modern epic fantasy. According to Williams, the new novel is 340,000 words in length. This is quite hefty (A Game of Thrones, for example, is 298,000 words and A Storm of Swords is 420,000) but it's not Williams's longest novel. That remains To Green Angel Tower, the titanic concluding volume of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn which weighs in at 520,000 words and is probably the longest epic fantasy ever written (The Lord of the Rings, altogether, is about 450,000).
The publishers have prepared a - somewhat undetailed - plot summary as follows:
The first book in The Last King of Osten Ard, the sequel trilogy to the epic Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, which propelled Tad Williams into bestseller status and defined him as one of the most important fantasy writers of our time.
THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR, the first volume of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, was published in hardcover in October, 1988, launching the series that was to become one of the seminal works of modern epic fantasy. When the third book in the trilogy, TO GREEN ANGEL TOWER was published in March, 1993, it remained on the New York and London Times bestseller lists for five weeks. Many of today’s top-selling fantasy authors, from Patrick Rothfuss to George R. R. Martin to Chrisopher Paolini credit Tad with being the inspiration for their own series.
Now, twenty-four years after the conclusion of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Tad returns to his beloved universe and characters with THE WITCHWOOD CROWN, the first novel in the long-awaited sequel trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard. Thirty years have passed since the events of the earlier novels, and the world has reached a critical turning point once again. The realm is threatened by divisive forces, even as old allies are lost, and others are lured down darker paths. Perhaps most terrifying of all, the Norns—the long-vanquished elvish foe—are stirring once again, preparing to reclaim the mortal-ruled lands that once were theirs….
Series Overview: The New York Times-bestselling epic fantasy trilogy Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, about Simon, a young castle servant who saves his kingdom from evil, defined Tad Williams as one of the most important fantasy writers of our time. This series finds Simon, now decades into his reign as King of Osten Ard, facing a dire new threat to the land.
It's worth remembering that The Witchwood Crown will be preceded by a stand-alone Osten Ard novel called The Heart of What Was Lost, which will help bridge the thirty-year gap between Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and The Last King of Osten Ard.
The Heart of What Was Lost will be published on 3 January 2017, with The Witchwood Crown following on 6 April 2017. The Last King of Osten Ard will continue with Empire of Grass and conclude with The Navigator's Children. A second stand-alone novel, The Shadow of Things to Come (working title), will also be released at some point.