For obvious reasons, most of the word these days out of the Brandon Sanderson/Tor camp has been about the upcoming release of The Gathering Storm (you know, the first-volume of the concluding trilogy to the 13-volume long series authored by two authors?), with little being said about Sanderson’s upcoming non-Wheel of Time project, The Way of Kings
Well, Sanderson spilled some of the beans over on the Barnes & Noble forums:
I’ve told Tor that I want to release KINGS on a schedule of two books, followed by one book in another setting, then two more KINGS. The series of KINGS has been named The Stormlight Archive. (The Way of Kings is the name of the first volume.)
So I should be doing plenty of shorter series in between. We’ll see how busy this all keeps me. I think I’d go crazy if I weren’t allowed to do new worlds every now and again.
But, then, KINGS turned out very, very well. (The first book is complete as of yesterday.) What is it about? Well…I’m struggling to find words to explain it. I could easily give a one or two line pitch on my previous books, but the scope of what I’m trying with this novel is such that it defies my attempts to pin it down.
It happens in a world where hurricane-like storms crash over the land every few days. All of plant life and animal life has had to evolve to deal with this. Plants, for instance, have shells they can withdraw into before a storm. Even trees pull in their leaves and branches. There is no soil, just endless fields of rock.
According to the mythology of the world, mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. Well, a group of evil spirits known as the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms, but the Voidbringers chased them there, trying to push them off of Roshar and into Damnation.
The voidbringers came against man a hundred by a hundred times, trying to destroy them or push them away. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, men resisted the Voidbringers ten thousand times, finally winning and finding peace.
Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world, essentially, is at war with itself–and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.
That’s the backstory. Probably too much of it. (Sorry.) The book follows a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn’t understand and doesn’t really want to fight. It will deal with the truth of what happened deep in mankind’s past. Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield?
I’ve been working on this book for ten years now. Rather than making it easier to describe and explain, that has made it more daunting. I’m sure I’ll get better at it as I revise and as people ask me more often.
In typical Sanderson fashion, there are a ton of names and systems and jargon thrown around that’s sure to make a lot more sense once we’ve read 200 pages of the novel. Still, Sanderson’s always been strongest at pulling together big ideas and weaving them together into a decent story.
Being near the end of The Final Empire, I’m paying a lot more attention to Sanderson now, and The Way of Kings seems like something that would be right up my alley. I’m curious to know why he’s planning it to be a ten-volume series. I can’t imagine any series that needs ten volumes to be told.
In any case, it’s nice for those of us who won’t be reading The Gathering Storm to finally find out a bit more about Sanderson’s next project.