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.