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The official companion guide for Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series will be released in November 2015.

“The story of The Wheel of Time spans fifteen books, but the fantasy world which that story resides within is more complex and detailed than even those books could relate,” describes the official announcement on Tor.com. “Only a fraction of what author Robert Jordan imagined ended up on the page, the rest going into his personal files.”

For those fans still haunted by their experience with Tor Books’ previous Wheel of Time companion, The World of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, you can rest easy. This is a complete, from-the-ground-up overhaul of the companion guide, unrelated to the previous companion published in 2001, and promises to be much more comprehensive, which only covered the first several books in the series.

Included in The Wheel of Time Companion (via Tor.com):

  • An entry for each named character
  • An inclusive dictionary of the Old Tongue
  • New maps of the Last Battle
  • New portraits of many characters
  • Histories and customs of the nations of the world
  • The strength level of many channelers
  • Descriptions of the flora and fauna unique to the world
  • And much more!

In addition to the above, the companion also promises to “[shed] light on some of the most intriguing aspects of the world, including biographies and motivations of many characters that never made it into the books, but helped bring Jordan’s world to life.”

Harriet McDougal, former Editorial Director for Tom Doherty Associates, was Robert Jordan’s wife and editor, and had a major hand in compiling this new companion. Working alongside McDougal on the project are Alan Romanczuk and Maria Simons, Jordan’s editorial assistants throughout the writing of most of the Wheel of Time. Together, they aided Brandon Sanderson as he wrote the final three volumes of the epic series.

The updated snake and wheel logo is by Sam Weber.

With people like that involved, who’s lives have revolved around the Wheel of Time for nearly two decades, fans are sure to be pleased by the final product. (Let’s just hope the artwork in this edition of the companion is better than the regrettable art included in The World of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time.)

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A beautiful cover for what is sure to be one of the more mesmerizing short fiction collections released this year. China Mieville’s Three Moments of an Explosion is the latest collection from the author of Perdido Street Station and Embassytown. It’s due out on July 30th, 2015 from Tor Books UK.

“[Three Moments of an Explosion] is a wonderfully intelligent and engaging collection featuring stories with sentient oil rigs, flying icebergs and a ladder into space,” says the official announcement on the Tor UK blog. Mieville fans know exactly what to expect of the collection, which is to expect nothing at all.

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Most fans agreed that Robin Hobb’s return to Fitz and the Fool in last year’s Fool’s Assassin was a roaring success. Fool’s Quest is the second volume in the trilogy, and it tentatively scheduled for release in August 2015.

This cover is a fantasy book cover. It looks a lot like the last cover, also by Alejandro Colucci. Fitz has an axe, which is good, and he continues to look older and more grizzled (as Hobb points out in her blog post announcing the new cover!) I like that Del Rey has created a natural progression in the artwork that starts off looking somewhat like YA, before traipsing into full-blown moody Fitzdom. Seems suitable, if you’ve read the books.

Standing atop a pile of broken weapons, the detritus of war, is very similar to the covers that appear on Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire Trilogy, so it’s interesting to consider the difference in posture and emotion of the two main characters. Cocky and victorious Jorg Ancartch, and brooding, sorrowful FitzChivaly Farseer. It’s an interesting contrast, though likely unintentional.

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When gamers think of Guild Wars 2, the concept art created by Kekai Kotaki and Richard Andersen (who are also two of the best fantasy/science fiction cover artists working today) comes blazingly to mind. It’s rich and unique, broad and diverse. I’ve never played a minute of Guild Wars 2, but the concept art is so wonderful that I’ve sought it out at every opportunity.

Kotaki is no longer with ArenaNet, so in comes Theo Prins, a new artist to work alongside Richard Andersen and the rest of the Guild Wars 2 art team as they continue to build one of the most vivid and beautiful worlds in gaming. Prins’ loose, impressionistic style fits perfectly alongside the art of Kotaki and Andersen, but he brings a pastel colour palette that those two artists don’t often utilize.

Prins “grew up in the Pacific Northwest and the Netherlands and spent most of his childhood drawing airplanes, cities and dinosaurs,” says his official biography. “As a teenager he financed flying lessons with aviation art commissions but dropped his idea of becoming a pilot when he discovered his passion for digital art.” More of his art can be found on his DeviantArt gallery and his official portfolio.

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Michael Whelan’s official website revealed that the legendary artist, who rarely works on cover art since semi-retiring to focus on fine art in the early 2000s, will be painting the cover art for Tad Williams’ The Last King of Osten Ard, Williams’ sequel trilogy to his modern classic, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

The official back cover blurb provides some hints to what awaits Whelan:

In this new trilogy, Williams journeys back to the magical land of Osten Ard and continues the story of beloved characters King Simon and Queen Miriamele, married now for thirty years, and introduces newcomer Prince Morgan, their heir apparent. Also expanded is the story of the twin babies born to Prince Josua and Lady Vorzheva—a birth heralded by prophecy, which has been the subject of feverish fan speculation since the release of To Green Angel Tower in 1993.

This is tremendous news for fans of Williams and Whelan, as the artist’s work has become synonymous with Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Since the trilogy was released in the 90s, the North American editions have never featured different artwork. Let us hope, however, that we get more inspired work than Whelan’s last cover.

The first volume of The Last King of Osten Ard, The Witchwood Crown, will be released from DAW Books and Hodder and Stoughton in 2016. It is unclear if both publishers will use Whelan’s paintings, though the art that Whelan produced was not used on the Gollancz editions of Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance.