Tower Lord – Sample

Tower Lord, Book 2 of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy will be released in the US in ebook, hardcover and audiobook on July 1st 2014. The UK edition will be released on July 3rd 2014. The sample that follows forms the opening to the book:

Verniers’ account

I was raised in luxury. I make no apologies for this, one cannot influence one’s parentage after all. Nor do I find much to regret in a childhood lived amongst opulence with numerous servants and excellent tutors to nurture my ever-curious and talented mind. So there are no tales of hardship from my youth, no epic of struggle against the inequalities and injustices of life. I was born to a family of noble lineage and considerable wealth, received an exceptional education and was thence facilitated into court service via my father’s connections, and although loyal readers will be aware that heartbreak and grief were not absent from my life, I had never known a day of physical exertion in the thirty-six years preceding the events detailed in this narrative. Had I known, of course, that the voyage to the Unified Realm, where I would begin my work on a complete and unbiased history of that terrible but fascinating land, would ensure an end to my previous ignorance of labour, degradation, humiliation and torture, please rest assured I would have happily leapt over the side and endeavoured to swim home through countless miles of shark-enriched waters.

You see, by the advent of the day on which I choose to begin this tale, I had learned pain. I had learned the lessons of the whip and the cudgel, the metallic taste of one’s own blood as it gushes forth taking teeth and resistance with it. I had learned to be a slave. That is what they called me, for that is what I was, and despite whatever nonsense you may have heard or read since, I was never, at any point, a hero.

The Volarian general was younger than I expected, as was his wife, my new owner. “Doesn’t look a scholar, true-heart,” he mused, looking me over from the comfort of his couch. “Bit too young.” He reclined in silk robes of red and black, long-limbed and athletic as befits a soldier of some renown and I was struck by the absence of scars on the pale flesh of his legs and arms. Even his face was smooth and completely unmarked. By now I had endured numerous encounters with warriors from several nations, but this was the first to be entirely unscarred.

“Does seem to have a keen eye though,” the general went on, seeing my scrutiny. I immediately lowered my gaze, bracing for the inevitable cuff or whip-strike from the overseer. During the first day of my enslavement I had seen a captured Realm Guard sergeant flayed and disembowelled for glaring in the direction of a junior officer in the Free Cavalry. It was a quickly learned lesson.

“Honoured husband,” the general’s wife said in her strident, cultured voice. “I present Verniers Alishe Someren, Imperial Chronicler to the Court of the Emperor Aluran Maxtor Selsus.”

“Can this really be him, true-heart?” The general seemed genuinely interested for the first time since my entrance into this finely appointed cabin. The chamber was huge for a ship-berth, richly decorated in carpets and tapestries, tables generously laden with fruits and wine. But for the gentle sway of the huge warship beneath my feet we could have been in a palace. The general rose and approached me, eyes examining my face closely. “The author of the Cantos of Gold and Dust? Chronicler of the Great War of Salvation?” He stepped closer and sniffed me, nostrils twitching in disgust. “Smells like any other Alpiran dog to me. And his gaze is far too direct.”

He moved back, waving idly at the overseer who administered the blow I knew was coming, a single, hard strike to the back with the ivory handle of his whip, delivered with practised economy. I stifled the shout of pain, caged it behind my teeth. Crying out was considered speech, and speaking without consent was a fatal offence.

“Husband, please,” the general’s wife said with a tinge of annoyance. “He was expensive.”

“Oh, I’m sure.” The general held out a hand, a slave scurrying over to fill it with a wine cup. “Don’t worry, honoured wife. I’ll ensure his wits and hands are left intact. Won’t be much use without them will he? So, scribbling-slave, how do you come to be here in our newly acquired province, mmm?”

I answered quickly, blinking away agonised tears, hesitation was always punished. “I came to research a new history, Master.”

“Oh excellent. I’m a great admirer of your work, aren’t I, true-heart?”

“Indeed, husband. You are a scholar yourself.” There was something in her voice when she said the word “scholar,” faint but present. Scorn, I realised. She doesn’t respect this man. And yet she makes him a gift of me.

There was a brief pause before the general spoke again, a slight edge to his voice. He had heard the insult, but chose to tolerate it. Who truly holds power here?

“And what was its subject?” the general enquired. “This new history of yours?”

“The Unified Realm, Master.”

“Ah, then we have done you a service have we not?” He chuckled, delighted with his own humour. “By giving you an ending.”

He laughed again, drinking from his wine cup, and raising his eyebrows in appreciation. “Not bad at all. Make a note, Secretary.” The bald-headed slave in the corner stepped forward, stylus poised over parchment. “Orders for the scouting parties: the vineyards are to be left untouched, and halve the slave quota in the wine-making regions. The skill set should be maintained in the fief of . . .” He paused, looking at me expectantly.

“Cumbrael, Master,” I said.

“Yes, Cumbrael. Can’t say it has much of a ring to it. I’ve a mind to propose a complete renaming of this province to the Council on my return.”

“One must be a Council-man to propose to Council, honoured husband,” his wife said. There was no scorn this time, but I noted how he hid a glare of fury in his wine cup.

“Where would I be without your readiness to remind me, Fornella?” he muttered. “So, Historian, where did we have occasion to welcome you into our family?”

“I was travelling with the Realm Guard, Master. King Malcius had given me permission to accompany his host on its mission to Cumbrael.”

“So you were there? You witnessed my victory?”

I fought down the immediate upsurge of hellish sounds and images that had plagued my dreams ever since that day. “Yes, Master.”

“It seems this gift has more value than you realised, Fornella.” He snapped his fingers at the secretary. “Pen, parchment and a cabin for the historian. Not too comfortable, don’t want him nodding off when he should be writing his, no doubt, eloquent and stirring account of my first major triumph in this campaign.” He came close to me again, smiling fondly. The smile of a child with a new toy. “I expect to be reading it by morning. If I’m not, I’ll take one of your eyes.”

 ◆◆◆

 My hands ached, my back strained from hunching over the short-legged table they had given me. Ink was liberally spattered over my mean slave’s garb and my vision swam with exhaustion. Never before had I produced so many words in such a short time. Parchment littered the cabin, filled with my often stumbling attempts to craft the lie the general wanted. Glorious victory. There had been no glory on that field, fear, pain and slaughter amidst the stink of death and shit, but no glory. Surely the general knew this, he had been the architect of the Realm Guard’s defeat after all, but I had been commanded to produce a lie and, dutiful slave that I was, bent to the task with all the energy I could summon.

Sleep claimed me sometime past the peak of night, dragging me into night- mare freshly stoked by my enforced remembrance of that day . . . The Battle Lord’s face when he knew defeat was imminent, the grim determination as he drew his sword and rode straight at the Volarian line, cut down by the Kuritai before he could strike a single blow . . .

I scrambled to wakefulness at a hard rap on the cabin door, stumbling to my feet as it opened. A house slave entered bearing a tray of bread and grapes, plus a small flask of wine. He placed them on the table and left without a word.

“I thought you might be hungry.” My fearful gaze fixed on the sight of the general’s wife in the doorway. She wore a gown of red silk embroidered with gold thread. It did much to enhance her figure. I switched my gaze to the floor. “Thank you, Mistress.”

She came in, closing the door behind her, taking in the sight of the sheets covered in my feverish script. “Finished then?”

“Yes, Mistress.”

She picked up one of the sheets. “This is in Volarian.”

“I assumed my master would wish it so, Mistress.”

“Your assumption was correct.” Her brows furrowed as she read. “Elegantly phrased too. My husband will be envious. He writes poetry, you know. If you are particularly unfortunate, he may recite it for you. It’s rather like listening to a duck with an unusually annoying quack. But this.” She held up the sheet. “There are Volarian scholars of great reputation who would be shamed in comparison.”

“You are kind, Mistress.”

“No, I’m truthful. It’s my weapon.” She paused then began to read aloud. “‘Foolishly the Realm Guard commander gravely underestimated the guile of his enemy, attempting an obvious and mundane strategy of engaging the Volarian centre whilst his cavalry sought to turn their flank. He reckoned without the sublime tactical acumen of the general Reklar Tokrev, who anticipated his every clumsy move.’” She looked at me with a raised eyebrow. “Clearly, you’re a man who understands his audience.”

“I’m glad it pleases you, Mistress.”

“Pleases me? Oh hardly. But it will please my honoured husband, dullard that he is. This doggerel will be on the fastest ship back to the empire by tomorrow evening, no doubt with instructions to produce a thousand copies for immediate distribution.” She tossed the sheet aside. “Tell me, and I command you to speak honestly, just how did the Realm Guard come to suffer such a defeat at his hands?”

I swallowed hard. She could command truth from me, but what protection could she offer if she carried such truth back to the marriage bed? “Mistress, I may have used some colourful phrasing …”

“The truth, I said!” Strident tones again, full of authority. The voice of a woman who had owned slaves all her life.

“The Realm Guard fell to weight of numbers and betrayal. They fought hard but were too few.”

“I see. Did you fight with them?”

Fight? When it became obvious the tide of battle had turned I flogged my horse bloody to escape to the rear, except there was no rear, the Volarians were everywhere, killing everyone. I found a convenient pile of bodies to hide in, emerging in darkness to immediate capture by the slave hunters. They were an efficient lot, keen to assess the value of every captive and my worth had become apparent after the first beating extracted my real name. She had bought me at the camp enclosure, plucked from the shuffling, chained mob. It seemed they had instructions to bring any scholars to her. From the handsome purse she handed the overseer, it seemed I was a considerable prize.

“I am no warrior, Mistress.”

“I should hope not, I didn’t buy you for your martial prowess.” She stood, regarding me in silence for a moment. “You hide it well, but I can see it, Lord Verniers. You hate us. We may have beaten you to obedience but it’s still there, like dry tinder waiting for a spark.”

My gaze remained firmly on the floor, concentrating on the swirling knots in the planking, fresh sweat beading my palms. Her hand cupped my face, lifting my chin. I closed my eyes, fighting down a fearful whimper as she kissed me, one soft, brush of her lips.

“In the morning,” she said. “He’ll want you to witness the final assault on the city, now the breaches are in place. Make sure your account is sufficiently lurid, won’t you? Volarians expect some colour to their tales of slaughter.”

“I shall, Mistress.”

“Very well.” She moved back, opening the door. “With any luck our busi- ness in this damp land will be concluded soon. I should like you to see my library in Volar. More than ten thousand volumes, some so old there are none who can translate them. Would you like that?”

“Very much, Mistress.”

She sighed a laugh before leaving the cabin without a further word. I stared at the closed door for a long time, ignoring the food on the table despite the growling emptiness in my stomach. For some reason my hands had stopped sweating. Dry tinder waiting for a spark.

◆◆◆

 True to her prediction the general had me brought to the foredeck in the morning to watch the Volarians finally take the city of Alltor, under siege now for more than two months. It was an impressive sight, the twin spires of the World Father’s Cathedral rising from the closely packed mass of housing within the great walled island, linked to the mainland by a single causeway. I knew from my various researches that this city had never been taken, not by Janus during the Wars of Unification, or any other previous aspirant to Kingship. Three hundred years of successful resistance to all conquerors, now about to end thanks to the two breaches torn into the walls by the massive ship-borne ballista barely two hundred yards offshore. They were still at work, casting their great stones at the breaches, though the rents pounded into the walls seemed fairly complete to my unmilitary eye.

“Magnificent aren’t they, Historian?” the general asked. He was dressed in full armour today, a richly adorned red enamel breastplate and thigh-length cavalry boots, a short sword strapped to his belt, every inch the Volarian commander. I noticed there was another slave seated nearby, a stick-thin old man with unusually bright eyes, a charcoal stub in his hand moving over a broad canvas to capture the general’s image. The general pointed at one of the ballista, holding the pose and glancing over his shoulder at the old slave.

“Only ever used on land before, but I saw their potential for bringing us victory here. A successful marriage of land and sea warfare. Write that down.” I wrote it down on the sheaf of parchment I had been given.

The old man stopped sketching and gave the general a grave bow. He relaxed from his pose and went to a nearby map table. “Read your account,” he told me. “Clever of you, being so restrained in your flattery.”

A fresh spasm of fear lurched in my breast and I briefly wondered if he would let me choose which eye he would pluck out.

“But an overly complimentary account would arouse suspicion amongst those at home keen to read of my exploits,” he went on. “They might think I had exaggerated my achievements somewhat. Clever of you to know this.”

“Thank you, Master.”

“Not a compliment, merely an observation. Look here.” He beckoned me closer, gesturing at the map on the table. I knew Volarian cartographers to be renowned for their accuracy but this was an extraordinarily detailed plan of Alltor, each street rendered with a clarity and precision that shamed the best efforts of the Emperor’s Guild of Surveyors. It made me wonder just how long the Volarians had been planning their invasion, and how much help had they enjoyed in doing so.

“The breaches are here and here.” His finger picked out two charcoal marks on the map, crude slashes through the finely drawn walls. “I will be assaulting both simultaneously. No doubt the Cumbraelins will have prepared all manner of unpleasantness on their side, but their attention will be fixed entirely on the breaches and therefore will not be expecting another assault on the walls.” He tapped a point on the western-facing wall marked with a small cross. “A full battalion of Kuritai will scale the wall and take the nearest breach from the rear. Access to the city will be secured and I expect it will be in our hands by nightfall.”

I wrote it all down, careful to resist the temptation to slip into Alpiran. Writing in my own language might arouse his suspicion.

He moved away from the map table, speaking with a theatrical air. “I find these god lovers to have been a valiant enemy, the finest archers I’ve ever faced in the field, truth be told. And this witch of theirs does seem to inspire them to great efforts. You’ve heard of her, no doubt?”

News had been scant in the slave pens, confined to snatched whispers of overheard gossip from the Free Swords. Mostly it comprised grim tales of yet more defeat and massacre as the Volarian armies ravaged their way through the Realm, but as we were whipped ever southward into Cumbrael the tale of the dread witch of Alltor had come to the fore, the only gleam of hope in a doomed land. “Scant rumour only, Master. She could be merely a figure of legend.”

“No, she’s real enough. Got the truth of it from the company of Free Swords that fled after the last assault on the walls. She was there, they said, a girl no more than twenty, in the thick of the fight. Killing many men, they said. Had them all strangled, of course. Worthless cowards.” He paused for a moment, lost in thought. “Write this down: cowardice is the worst betrayal of the gift of freedom. For a man who runs from battle is a slave to his fear.”

“Very profound, honoured husband.” The general’s wife had elected to join us. She was dressed simply this morning, the glamour of her silk gown exchanged for a plain muslin dress and red woollen shawl. She brushed past me, closer than was seemly, and went to the rail, watching one of the ballista crews working the great windlass that drew the twin arms back for another throw. “Be sure to find room for it in your account of the impending bloodshed, won’t you, Verniers?”

“I shall, Mistress.” I watched the general’s hand twitch on the hilt of his short sword. She baits him at every turn. Yet he holds his anger, this man who has killed thousands. What is her true role here? I wondered.

Fornella’s gaze was drawn away from the sight of the ballista by the approach of a small boat, oars dipping in the placid surface of the river at low tide. A man stood at the prow, barely recognisable at this distance but I noticed her stiffen at the sight of him. “Our Ally sends his creature, honoured husband,” she said.

The general followed her gaze and something passed across his face, a twitch of anger but also fear. I felt a sudden urge to be away from this scene; whoever approached, I knew I did not want to make his acquaintance if he could arouse fear in the hearts of such as these. But there was no escape, of course. I was a slave and had not been dismissed. So I could only stand and watch as the boat came ever closer, the Volarian slave-sailors catching the ropes as they were tossed to the deck, tying them up with the kind of efficiency that only came from years of fearful servitude.

The man who hauled himself onto the deck was of middle years and stocky build, bearded and balding, his features largely devoid of any emotion. “Welcome,” the general said, his tone carefully neutral. No name or greeting, I realised. Who is this man?

“You have more intelligence to share, I assume?” the general went on.

The man ignored the question. “The Alpiran,” he said in Volarian tinged with an accent I had come to recognise as coming from the north of this fallen Realm. “Which is he?”

“What do you want of him?” Fornella asked in her strident tone. He didn’t even glance at her and my fear found new depths as his gaze scanned the deck until it fixed on me. He strode forward, coming close enough for me to smell the stench of his unwashed body. He stank of death and a complete disregard for any human standard of cleanliness, and his breath was like a gust of vaporous poison as I cowered away.

“Where,” he demanded, “is Vaelin Al Sorna?”


189 responses to “Tower Lord – Sample

  • Sam Ladyzinski

    Any chance an electronic version will be made available before that ballpark timeframe? I don’t think I can wait a year and a half to read Tower Lord. It might get to the point that I hunt you down and steal the manuscript! 🙂

    • Anthony Ryan

      Sam,
      You’ll have to find me first – Mwaahhahahhah!
      Release dates are all in the hands of my publishers so who knows? I wouldn’t count on an early electronic release though.

      • Colin Jack

        Out of interest why is it that a publisher would delay publishing to so far in the future?

        For the paper book I can understand the delay of course, there’s a lot to organize, but for the digital copy I’d think that they might as well just get it out there as anyone who liked your book would immediately buy the second one.

  • Evette Smith

    Hi Anthony,
    I agree with Sam…hard to wait! I absolutely LOVED the first book. I was so moved I couldn’t pick up another book for weeks!! I’ve since pulled myself together 🙂

    So….who can I call to speed this up?!?

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Evette,
      Thanks for the kind words. I’m sure the CEO of the Penguin Publishing Group won’t mind a bit if you call him/her at home. Perhaps you could even go to their house! (Mr Ryan’s lawyers would like to point out that his remark was intended as humourous and he is in no way encouraging the harassment of any member of the Penguin Publishing Group).

      • Adedayo

        Mr Ryan’s lawyers, we completely understand you (Wink!). We will NOT (Wink) harass any member of the PPG to hurry up and publish the book. (WINK WINK). Now where is my phone (WINK)

  • evan

    I really hope it doesn’t take that long to show up if you have already finished it. I just finished rereading it a fourth time.

  • Jake

    Mr. Ryan,
    I just finished reading Blood song for the um-teenth time. This book is a gem, wrapped in bacon. I hope the folks at Penguin give you the publicity you need to quit your day job and write full time.
    i’m currently deployed to Afghanistan as an EOD tech, and let me tell you, everyone in my unit has purchased or read your book. Escaping from reality is a much appreciated pass-time here. I heartily thank you and appreciate what you do.

    Also, SUMMER 2014? What are they doing, writing them by hand with quills and ink?

    On second thought, that would be kind of awesome. Proceed.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Jake,
      Thanks for the kind words, as someone who writes about made up heroes it’s great to hear from a real one.
      Please pass on my warmest regards to everyone in your unit, I’m very glad to provide an escape if needed.
      A quills and ink version of Blood Song? Something worth thinking about…
      Stay safe,
      Anthony

  • J. Ferm

    I have sent my wailing and gnashing of teeth to ecommerce@us.penguingroup.com. I offered to send them cookies if they could please HURRY IT UP.
    Loved Blood Song. Fantastic book, and I eagerly await the rest of the series. Thanks for writing it!
    Some of us have started recommending other books/series to each other over on your amazon page while we impatiently await Book 2. I’d love your input on that discussion please. Thanks again!

  • Dan

    Generally speaking so far the publishing pace seems fast, it seems they plan on publishing each book year after year and we really can’t expect more than that. The only problem is the delay in publishing the first one.

    However I must express my disappointment to move back to the old publishing industry instead of being avant-garde in the new digital self publishing world which has the potential to benefit us all and make bestselling books much more accesible all over the world and actually more profitable to the writers.

  • Tosin

    *Sigh*…. i guess i’ll just have to ignore Blood Song till like December. Was going to start reading today but reading this post about the second book coming out next year totally broke my heart :(:(

  • rrobinson77

    Very happy to know that the next book will be out before too long. Also happy that you are keeping it to a trilogy. At the rate your publisher dribbles them out, I don’t think I would live long enough to read an extended series!!

  • brittany

    I must concur with all sentiments regarding the second book. If it is finished then it would make sense to release sooner rather than later before we forget about it.
    You are on a very small list of authors that have a talent to intrigue and keep me interested on a page by page basis.
    How many books are planned for this series?

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Brittany,
      Thanks for the kind words. There will be three books in the series after which I’ll have to find something else to write about.

  • Babalo

    Hey Ryan,

    It is my birthday today. Just wanted to say that Blood Song was amazing. Saw the reviews on Goodreads but reading the book blew my expectations.

    I love the distinct personalities of Vaelin and his buddies, I love how they react to different situation. The group dynamics was incredible. Very memorable characters.

    The fight scenes were described in detail. Very realistic. I got the feeling like you knew what you were talking about. It was fascinating in comparison to other fantasy writers. (Robin Hobb needs to take notes from you on how to write a proper action scene)

    How does an author come to know this kind of thing? I suspect you might have a background in martial arts …

    SPOILERS!!!!
    Also I hope Vaelin marries the princess. The 5th order girl is nice, but the princess is BOLD and DANGEROUS. I don’t know if you did it on purpose but i feel that their was a subtle love tension between her and Vaelin.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Babalo,
      Happy birthday and thanks for the kind words. As far as martial arts goes, I took some karate lessons as a kid but that’s about it (if you don’t count high school).
      As for Lyrna being dangerous, you aint seen nothing yet.
      Take care,
      Anthony

  • Kevin O

    I have mixed emotions concerning your newfound success. On the selfish side, I will have to wait an extra year to read Tower Lord. You deserve all the success in the world, It is a far better book than 90% of the fantasy novels that have gone to print over the last 10 years, and this series is now sitting alongside GRR Martin and Patrick Rothfuss’ upcoming works in the holy crap, I want them now category.
    It is pretty obvious that letting Blood Song get the full cycle of traditional publishing release dates is the correct thing to do for you financially, I will pretend that your having the wherewithal to write full time will get future releases out the door in a timely fashion. But it hurts. I will pay hardback price + shipping , a ream of paper and a laser printer cartridge for a light blue printed edition of tower lords, just saying. Almost just kidding.
    Have you seen the promo materials yet? Are you going to get a big fancy endcap? Totally mixed emotions, I am pleased for your success, but I don’t know you and if you were still toiling away in obscurity I would have tower lord and you would be half done book three trying to get those self publishing peanuts.

    • James Douglas

      Yep, I feel the same way.

    • Darryl

      Ditto, currently rereading blood song, have ordered the hardback, and now have to wait patiently for book 2. Very happy that you have book1 coming out in paper and it will also join books like enders game and the name of the wind in my small library. I have promoted the ebook to as many friends that I have that read regularly. When I rattle of my favorites list, Blood Song is included. One of my closest friends does not read ebooks and I convinced him yesterday to pre-order the hb. He has a man cave that is wall to wall and every flat surface covered in fantasy books. He has me reading Erikson currently and half way through the 1st book I am struggling to keep up with his world building plot, even though I am starting to connect with the characters. This is one of the many things that makes your writing style so much more enjoyable! You give us just enough without going into mind numbing details. Keep up the great work and if you are looking for critical readers for your ARC, sign me up. 🙂 Best Regards. Darryl

  • Tony

    And here I thought the book would be released this summer considering the manuscript was delivered what almost 8 months ago now? sad face… The first book is one of those rare gems of writing that is just so amazing! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • Paul

    Damn you Ace, damn you to the furthest reaches. It has been my experience that the people who have worked in the publication field for decades know far less then they think they do and the people who have been reading for decades know far more. Therefore I think the second book should come out tomorrow. Thank you for your time.

  • Nathan.

    I’ve got money on you finishing your saga before mister Martin finishes his. Since the date can’t yet be divined, we’ll go halfsies if I win. A true gamble!
    Any tips on books to dull the edge of the wait? I’m insatiable, as of late.
    (insert impatient comment here)

  • Alex Chiang (@haethos)

    Really enjoyed Blood Song and can’t wait for Tower Lord! I thought the world was very well-crafted, with “systems” and characters that I’m dying to know more about. I keep re-reading it between sessions with other books simply because it’s become a “comfort food”-ish book for me. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  • Luud

    I have been ‘eating’ books for breakfast, lunch and dinner for more than 45 years. Than I read Blood Song and now I’m actually writing on a blog to speed up the second book in the series. Mr. Ryan what a great book you have produced! Thank you very very much. And now I’ll write to your publisher 🙂

  • cheeky

    Hi Anthony, your first book was awesome. Can you at least tell us if this will be a 2, 3 or x book series? Also, has the title for the 2nd book already been decided?

    • Anthony Ryan

      Glad you liked the first book. The series is a trilogy and the title of the second book will remain ‘Tower Lord’ unless there are any violent objections from my publisher.

  • James Douglas

    So, I’m happy for you. I don’t know how to articulate straight-forward thoughts/concerns without sounding…douchey (for lack of a better word(i’m sure you could come up with one)) but, I hope you continue putting out high quality books and whatnot. I like that your book was succinct; it got through a story (beautifully) without patronizing or anything. I say this in hopes you don’t pull a Robert Jordan or, more recently, a George R.R Martin. That’s all.

    • James Douglas

      So uh…don’t let your publisher make you “fluff up” the story. I see that’s exactly what you don’t want to do (reading your own comments about it)…actually, I guess I’ll have to be resigned to whatever the outcome is. I know you don’t want to fluff up the plot so I have to be happy with that. Is a published work more lucrative than the independent route?

      • Anthony Ryan

        Thanks James, No fluff, I promise.
        As far as independent versus traditional publishing goes, there are pros and cons to both, but so far I’ve no regrets. Still, I’ve yet to receive my first royalty statement…

  • Sam

    Mr Ryan,

    I absolutely loved reading Ravens Shadow and im definitely looking forward to Book 2.

    At the moment it’s hard for me to find a proper fantasy book that doesn’t either involve A. Constant Romance Gnashing or B. Dragging the book along for a Second Book. Any recommendations ? I don’t prefer the Malzaan books either.

    Also, the post about whether or not they are writing the book by Quill and Ink, Im not sure why but the idea of a proper old fashioned book written to look like that in a sort of leather looked old school diary has a certain appeal.

    If anything like that might happen, might make for quite the fan tool and a collection item

    Your Fan

    Sam

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Sam,
      Glad you enjoyed the book. My favourite fantasy series are listed below (originally posted on the Amazon forum), all worth reading if you haven’t already:

      The Farseer Trilogy – Robin Hobb
      The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant – Stephen Donaldson
      A Song of Ice and Fire – George RR Martin
      The Prince of Nothing & The Aspect Emperor – R. Scott Bakker
      The Dark Tower – Stephen King
      Memory, Sorrow & Thorn – Tad Williams
      The Sandman – Neil Gaiman
      The Prydain Chronicles – Lloyd Alexander
      The Belgariad – David Eddings

      I’d love there to be a deluxe, illustrated edition of Blood Song one day, perhaps when the whole series is done though that will ultimately be up to my publisher.

      • Stephanie S

        Interesting that I loved your book so much, but except for George R.R. Martin, our lists of favs are so different? Although, I have not read all on your list and will now check them out I wonder: Where is Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks, Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and the Warded Man by Peter Brett? Just saying…. Always on the lookout for a new author or one that has improved (Sanderson’s Way of Kings is a huge improvement, in my opinion, over his previous works)

      • phil

        Another good author is Joe Abercrombie he makes the story feel just as real

      • mahlon rhoades

        I’d like to add another name and series that I discovered about the same time as Blood Song. Mark Lawrence’s Prince/King/Emperor of Thorns series is really brilliant. I’ve just finished Blood Song for the 2nd time – I had forgotten how finely crafted a work it really is. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the whole of the trilogy hangs together and how the relationships resolve and the characters evolve. Meanwhile, I’ll snack on the ‘Slab City’ morsels I haven’t yet consumed. Thanks for such a moving, powerful and beautifully written story!

      • Matthew

        So happy to see the Belgariad on your list! I feel like no one knows the Belgariad and the Mallorean, and they are my favorite series. I highly recommend them to any fantasy lovers.

      • jasonite75

        The Belgariad was the series (along with The Hero and the Crown) that convinced me to read fantasy. Also a huge fan of the two Thomas Covenant series’, Memory Sorry & Thorn, and the Sandman series. I honestly can’t stand the George Martin series though. An under-appreciated series was the Del & Tiger books by Jennifer Roberson, I think they were ahead of their time. I’m also a big Wheel of Time fan (in spite of some of the middle books), the Dragonlance Chronicles & Legends series, and how could anyone leave out the original Riftwar Saga by Feist. I really loved the Deathgate Cycle also, except for the last book.

      • James A

        Stephanie S I’m pretty damned impressed with your list there because that was literally the authors that were going through my head. Anthony you are missing out my friend :). That being said, your book was amazing! Please don’t ever stop writing. I just finished your book and I intend to recommend it to pretty much everyone I know asap

  • Anthony Ryan

    Stephanie,
    None of those books appear on my list for the simple reason that I haven’t read them. I’ll be the first to admit that my reading of my own genre is not what it should be, however, I certainly hope to get round to them in the future, especially Patrick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch.

  • Peter Ryan

    I actually have two questions for you, Mr. Ryan.

    1 – What made you decide to write the story as if Vaelin was telling it to Verniers? Did you simply think it was a cool way to do it?

    2 – Do people who should at least know your name call you Ryan a lot? I ask because I’m called Ryan all the time. Someone will see my name on a piece of paper and assume that Ryan is my first name, as if Peter the more logical surname between the two.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Peter,
      Vernier’s account works as a framing device which enables a lot of the back story to be filled in without tedious exposition and info dumps in the main narrative. It was also a means of ensuring I had the ending I wanted without a five year gap between the final two chapters. Plus, I wanted to explore the nature of recorded history a bit, especially the undue weight given to first hand testimony.

      Sorry if it’s a bubble burster but Anthony Ryan is a psuedonym, so I don’t get called either in daily life. Though, come to think of it, it would would as an inversion.

  • Sverre Munthe

    Ever considered publishing on Amazon? You delivered the manuscript last October, they shouldn’t need 2 years to publish it. My thought here is that they want to squeeze your last book dry before publishing this one. Sadly you seem to think this is ok. It’s you that will lose readers, they have plenty of other titles to earn money on.

  • Darryl

    Authors like Kevin Hearne have 3 to 4 books done that have not been released in the current series and the readers are fine with waiting for the next book. If I had to wait 5 years for the next Rothfuss book versus the 2 years expected between book 2 and 3, I would still be waiting anxiously for the release date. I don’t personally have a limit on the number of authors I will follow and read when a new book hits the shelf. Waiting is a bummer but you having the funds to keep writing is more important than my impatience. If the material is good, readers will follow and new readers will join the ranks. The good news is that the ebook has given readers more exposure to material to read inbetween release dates for authors we follow.

  • one who will wait

    I just read the blood song and I have got to say its one of the best books that I have ever read. I can’t wait for the next book but more than that the blood song should be made into a movie.

  • Andy L.

    Hey again I may just not have looked in the right place. But do you have an idea of how many books will make up this series? I don’t know how much story there will be left after book 2 but I know I’ll want more.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Andy, Thanks for the kind words. There will be three books in total, and as for how much story is left, each one seems to be getting longer.

  • Andy L.

    Great to hear, thanks for responding so quickly. I eagerly await the rest of the story

  • Jeanette

    It was Amazon, which guided me to Blood Song. I was visting for “king of thorns” by Mark Lwarence (someone named it here already, justly) and see the recommendations. As my local bookstore hold no more mysteries for me I’m constantly looking for new books, which are able to hold my interest for more than a few pages – rare gems out there.

    Now I’ve read “only” the first 86 pages of Blood Song and I am still on 🙂
    Just love the “easy” way you wrote it, it feel like listening more than reading and I kept telling my husband: it is just so beautiful written. Even the names of the charakters are very well chosen and I’m sure after reading it completely I’ll read the other two books as well, if you keep up the good work (certainly).

    It will be a short wait (summer 2014) but to all of you out there complaining: get yourself together. In other series you have to wait for 3 or 4 years and some of them risk to get outrun by the tv-series….you know what I’m talking about.

    To the person who is known as Anthony Ryan: Thank you a lot for this wonderful book! I enjoyed it and will enjoy it further and it is a pleasure to know you are out there and writing awesome stuff like that!

    “no friend nor foe will hold me
    their weapons will not harm nor scratch
    but your story touch my soul, make me dream
    and let my fantasy feel free”

    Many greetings form Germany!

  • Benjamin

    I hope the publishers take care of you and your sales remain strong. It sucks that we have to wait so long but you got to do what’s best for you. Will the next book be told in a similar recounting style as the first book?

    • Anthony Ryan

      I’m being fairly closed mouthed about the next book, Benjamin, but I will say one thing: everything changes.

  • Chris L.

    Hi Anthony. Just wanted to say, along with lots of other readers, that Blood Song has to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Literally to the point where I wish I could unread it, just to read it again…haha. Very much looking forward to Tower Lord, and cudos for wring such a great series

  • Longasc

    Hello, I don’t want to comment on the publishing date, just let me tell you I enjoyed the book immensely. The grand scope and how everything gets together and makes sense in the end, that’s just fantastic. I imagined Vaelin Al Sorna to look like Charlton Heston as El Cid by now, after reading your Reddit AMA an hour ago and your “think El Cid meets Robin Hobb meets David Gemmell” comparison I smiled and can tell you, I like what you like and I absolutely love what you write.

    I hope you can keep up the high standard you set with your first book and I am looking forward to Tower Lord.

    Please be careful with magic, the Fourth Order is right, if the Dark is not handled carefully or avoided it can totally spoil otherwise good books.

  • Clement

    Bonjour Anthony,

    I just wanted to thank you so much for your genius. The Blood Song is the best book i have read and I cant wait until next year to read the Tower Lord.

    Now are there any plans of publishing the first book in other languages, especially french? I would like to share this adventure with my friends and family members.

    Many thanks from Paris, France

    • Anthony Ryan

      Thanks Clement. I can confirm that the French rights have been bought – no word on a release date yet but watch this space.

  • Tara

    Dear Anthony,
    I am not easily impressed. I read almost all fantasy I can find while waiting for new installments from my favorite authors. Needless to say I have added a new name to that list. Nowadays it is so hard to find well-written, well-thought-through work in this genre, but you and blood song have taken me by surprise and have caused more than one sleepless night (which my boss did not thoroughly appreciate ;)).
    Please do keep up your fantastic work and don’t rush (which pains me to say since I’d rather start on the next book tomorrow) – it takes time to write like you do.
    Best wishes from Austria,
    Tara

  • James Douglas

    So…workin’ on book 3? Or is it already done?

    • Anthony Ryan

      I’m in the middle of Book 3 at the moment and should finish by the end of the year. So that’ll be something else to look forward to.

  • Kevin Potts

    Mr. Ryan
    Your wonderful book has entertained me so much. It is the first time I have ever finished a book and immediatly reread it. I was simply not ready to leave the world that you had created. Thank you so much for making the perfect fantasy book.

  • Oscanana

    Indeed a great book, but the bloom is fading from the rose the longer the manipulating delays by the uber-wealthy and arrogant publishing house create for Book #2. Really snake-oil salesman tactics. Hate those old-school publishers. Hope they go banko with electronic self-publishing. Ridiculous sitting on a successful concept this long. Penquin sucks.

  • GSD

    Blown away. I feel any comment I could make would almost be a disservice to the work you’ve done so far in book one. Thank you.

  • Luke

    hello
    i have never left a comment on any blog or forum about a book before despite reading a huge amount of epic fantasy i usually read the comments and agree or disagree in my head but after months of trolling though amazons interesting collection of cheep an cheerful fantasy books on my kindle i come across blood song, expecting another dreary read to pass the time my mind was completely blown when i began yours i don’t think iv ever been so engrossed in a book in my life.

    Tell penguin from me that due to the effects of global warming the icecaps are melting quick so they had better get a move on publishing your next book otherwise they’ll be doing it underwater, which im pretty sure is detrimental to the structural integrity of the paper in the book 🙂

    • Anthony Ryan

      Thanks Luke. The impending arrival of Waterworld is a good argument, but you can get a waterproof case for your kindle so I doubt it’ll move Penguin.

  • Colin Jack

    Loving your books, one question I have is why are you going with traditional publishing for your fantasy work?

    Its not just the big delays in getting the book out that make me wonder why you are going down that path, its also the fact the first book in the series is £7.99 in Kindle format. That seems pretty excessive and is probably a turnoff for a lot of people, and I wondered why you hadn’t gone down the similar direct path you’ve taken with your equally excellent science fiction work.

  • Darryl

    Hi Anthony

    I am curious to know (if you would share) how well the 1st book has done in terms of paper copies sold. Not knowing what is normal for a 1st book, are both you and the publisher happy thus far?

    Thanks

    Darryl

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Darryl, I probably won’t have exact sales figures until next April. I do know the hardcover has sold over a thousand copies in the UK. Indications from US are that it’s also doing good business there and publishers on boths sides of the Atlantic seem happy, so it’s all good.

  • Koon

    amazon uk is accepting pre-orders for tower lord!!! the publication date is given as 3 july 2014.

  • Dale

    Hi,
    I noticed you said release summer 2014. Is that northern hemisphere summer? I am in Australia so summer 2014 for me is the very end of the year… not sure if I can wait that long.

  • Alan Britten

    Hi Anthony,

    Thank you for your fantastic book! Tower Lord is now my most anticipated book of the last gazillion years or so.
    I’m reading the brilliant Pat Rothfuss and Peter V. Brett at the moment, trying to stagger my epic fantasy. Other than Gemmell, who’s Troy books are on my ‘to read’ list, have you any other recommendations that I might be missing out on?

    All the very best

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Alan,
      Thanks for the kind words.
      Recommendation wise, other than those you already mention and Song of Ice and Fire (which you may have heard of), if you like my stuff you’ll probably like Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy beginning with Assassin’s Apprentice. I also heartily recommend R. Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing series, the prose-style can take little getting used to but it’s well worth it. Also, there’s Michael J Sullivan’s Riyra books, to whom I am oft compared.

      Have fun,
      Anthony

  • Alan Britten

    Fantastic.
    Haven’t heard of Prince of Nothing or the Riyra books, so thanks very much! I’m off to raid the piggy bank

  • Mhairi Penman

    I picked this book up while overseas on a whim. So glad I did. I have to say this is one of the best books I have ever read. Vaelin is certainly an interesting character and the world is alive on the page. Can’t wait until the next instalment.

  • mark

    Good things come to those who wait. ( but not too long )

  • Rani

    I’m about half way through and absolutely loving Book 1 and greatly looking forward to book 2. I definitely agree with you recommendation of the Farseer Trilogy (as well as the Tawny Man Trilogy) by Robin Hobb. That alongside the Kingkiller Chronicles (Rothsfuss) and Gentleman Bastard series (Lynch) are my favorite series. Now bring on book 2!!!!

  • Brent

    Mr. Ryan, if it’s not too confidential could you inform us of the (working) title of Book 3 of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy?

    And what would one have to do in order to get an ARC of The Tower Lord possibly sent to them?

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Brent,
      The working title for book 3 is ‘Queen of Fire’. To make the ARC list for Tower Lord you’ll need to get a job as a book reviewer for a recognised print publication or start your own book blog and build up a decent following by next July. Shouldn’t be too difficult.
      Regards,
      Anthony

      • Brent

        Hi Anthony. Thank you for the information and the quick response. I figured I needed to be a well-established reviewer to qualify for an ARC, but since I’m not much of a good reviewer myself so it seems that I won’t be eligible.

        Regardless, I can’t wait for The Tower Lord and Queen of Fire. I just love the world that you’ve crafted and I can’t wait to read and learn more about it.

        Best Wishes,
        Brent

    • Jennifer

      Nagging suspicion that this previous poster may be a certain Brent Weeks. In any case, please take your time. I have high hopes for the next book! No presure, right? 🙂

  • Marta

    Hi, I just finished reading Blood Song.
    It’s …. really Something. Plot, characters, the way it’s written…- thank you! It is a very rare find for me.

    I bowing to Your Greatness!

    I’m looking forward to your next book, hoping to be the same labour of love and explosion of genius as the first one.
    Greeting from Poland !

    (Just one small, tiny, little… upps..Ok, I’ll say it: after a while reading about hateful sword and hateful axe became a bit to much… hateful? Different adjective perhaps? Or it’s just me… Probably! Sorry ! Sorry! )

  • Adedayo Makinde

    Mr Ryan,
    I got your book last May and I’ve enjoyed it over and over because it is that good. I was just wondering why reviews from the previous version of the book were moved over to the new penguin version but not the purchased flag on amazon. I wanted to get the audible version but the whispersync wont work on it unless I buy the new version again. Please tell your publisher that’s not very nice and that’s the only reason I didn’t get the audible version. I can’t wait for the next book…how many books in the series?

    Adedayo.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Thanks for the kind words Adedayo. Sorry about the whispersync thing but that’s in the gift of my publishers. There will be two more books in the series.
      Regads,
      Anthony

  • Dezmondo

    You write like a pro first book wow hope your writing career is long and successful roll on books 2-3.
    And your next world.

    D.

  • Antony Garlick

    Hi Anthony

    Just finished Blood song, bought on a whim through some good reviews on Amazon and glad I did. You now have the dubious honour of being one the the select few to make it into my ‘buy in hardback pre-order’ section (i.e., my favourites). You have joined the elite such as Steven Erikson, Guy Gavriel Kay, Neal Asher, Mark Lawrence and (sadly) Iain M Banks.

    On another note, due to the wait I am glad I picked up on this quite late, as I have less of a wait now for the next instalment!

    Antony

  • MattN

    Fantastic book mr Ryan. I have been reading fantasy and science fiction for over twenty years since I was a teenager and have read pretty much every major series available. Your book had me gripped for six hours, struggled to eat,sleep,work! Finished it and I heartily recommend it to anyone and everyone who reads good fantasy. I respect your decision to use old school publishing and to be honest that makes me more excited about it as the excitement will build up to release date. For those looking for something to read whilst waiting try peter v Brett as his demon cycle books are awesome and easy reading. I agree with others that erikksons books take a lot of reading. Keep up the good work and you have a loyal reader who is now off to buy anything else you’ve written 🙂

  • wishl1ng

    Hey,

    I bought your book some time ago, when there was no hardcover available yet and just reread the book. I read a lot – mostly fantasy – but I have to say I rarely find a book as intriguing. I binge read the book in two days.

    Keep up the good work and best wishes from a german fan 🙂

    • Anthony Ryan

      Thanks Philipp. Glad you liked the book. The German language version shouldn’t be too long in coming so, if you felt like it, you could do a compare and contrast read.
      Regards,
      Anthony

  • Anand

    Namaste !i’m Anand from India..kindled your first book.. Its THE answer for everyone who thinks fantasy is a cliche…a poignant telling with a tang of an epic.i dont care how long i have to wait for a good book 2..hope it will reveal more of your world ..

  • Lex

    Hi Anthony. I was blown away by Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles and got onto your Ravens Shadow(great btw and very excited for number 2) as people said they are similar – Very similar, strangely actually, in terms of his many titles as well as a “chronicler” type character and a couple other things and wondered if you took inspiration from Rothfuss or its just a weird coincidence? Also just a quick observation i’m sure i will pay for from your loyal fans – I found you slowly built up Vaelin then rushed to a finish and made massive jumps to conclusions and character development. Wonderful conclusions though(didnt-see-that-coming) and excitement that made me more riveted on the second half of the book.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Lex,
      I’m still yet to read The Name of the Wind so can’t claim any Rothfussian inspiration. In terms of the way the story is structured I had various influences, David Gemmell’s Morningstar being perhaps the most important.

  • RJ

    i just got blood song on kindle because i read some “over the top” reviews on reddit (not even sure how i stumbled on them). the book is literally one of the best i’ve read – it compares quite favorably to GOT, and is clearly superior to many of the most popular books of its genre. really remarkably well done. THANK YOU for writing it and please write many more! writing a book like that is really a gift to your readers

  • Joe

    Hi Anthony , just a quick note to say I just finished blood song and it was great, had a blast reading it. Keep up the good work , joe

  • George

    Dear Anthony
    I really enjoyed reading blood song it left me with a great sastisfied feeling In the end, and an eagerness to read more. I have a question if you would please answer. I saw in an earlier comment that valien was one of 4 view point charachters, but is he still the focus charachter of the story, the main protagonist of the Series or will become a less important charachter in the upcoming books?

  • Lea

    Just finished Blood Song and enjoyed very much. But the ending left me a little sad because […] dies. Why do the […] always have to die? No matter, looking forward to the new book release this summer.

  • Al Rimol

    Hi Anthony; I wrote you an email at the very beginning congratulating you on your book and I was very fortunate that you responded to it. Thank You!!! Many people have been complaining about the long release time between Blood Song and Tower Lord (this is the publisher’s decision). Have you considered writing a novella to help appease some of your fans? The story doesn’t have to be about Vaelin, it could be about the king ordering Vaelin’s father to burn Meldenean, or a different point of view. Other authors of Penguin have done this with success and it’s a win, win for everyone. Thank you for your time.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Al,
      Obviously you have psychic powers and must immediately go into hiding to avoid being picked up by The Shop (see Stephen King’s non-fiction book Firestarter for details). I can’t say too much at this stage but watch this space. And remember to use your powers for good, or Las Vegas.
      Take care
      Anthony

  • Sandy G

    Hi there Anthony I used to be an avid reader but fell away from it due to sport and work. After going through a very hard time recently and as a result spending a lot off time on my own through my own choice, my worried mrs bought your book thinking I’d like it and help to take my mind off things. To be honest I greedily devoured it in 2 days and while it didn’t make me forget, it reminded me how much I loved to read, which in turn help get things back on track. Just want to say thank you for putting a long overdue smile on my face

    • Anthony Ryan

      Sandy,
      Sorry to hear you’ve had a hard time recently but glad to have been of help in luring you back to the paths of bibliophilia (that’s a real word I just made up). Only four and a bit months to wait for book 2, but there’s plenty to read in the meantime. Try David Gemmell, if you haven’t already. He’s my go-to fantasy recommendation.
      Thanks for the kind words,
      Anthony

  • Ian

    Mr. Ryan,

    Have you thought of releasing a collector’s edition of Blood Song, perhaps printed on acid-free paper and bound in leather?

    It would be a perfect gift for grandchildren of a certain age, I suspect.

    Best Regards,
    -Ian.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Ian,
      That’s all within the purview of my publisher, would love to see it happen though, especially an illustrated edition. Maybe one day…
      Anthony

  • ChiroStudents ParkerUniversity

    I just finished Blood Song, and it was riveting! I basically devour books and most I finish within a day. It always saddens me when they end too soon. Blood Song took a couple days to finish, and I loved it! Lengthy books that still keep my interest are my favorites! I rarely read books more than once; however, this one will definitely need a revisit before July! Thank you for imparting the world with a wonderful new series!

    -Dawndi

  • Tony

    Hi Anthony

    Will you be doing a signing for Goldboro Books like you did for Blood Song. If so do you know when.

    Regards

    Tony

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Tony,
      Yes I’ve agreed to sign some Tower Lords for Goldsboro, no word on when they’ll start advertising but you may want to keep a close eye on their website as the Blood Song copies sold out fairly quickly last year.

  • Philip Smith

    I’ve just finished Blood Song, and I suppose I’ll have to be patient for the next of the trilogy… I smile at “And when you came for Aspect Elera you had three men under your yolk …”.

  • ChiroStudents ParkerUniversity

    Will you be able to release a sneak peak? Maybe the first two chapters?

    • Anthony Ryan

      It’s a possibility, I certainly would like to but it depends on my publisher’s marketing decisions.

  • Ricky

    Dear Mr. Ryan,

    I think that giving us a sneak peak would greatly ease our pain of waiting, so please if there is a possibility let us know.

    Have you started writing the next book in the series ? It has to go faster now 😀

    Regards
    Rijad

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Ricky,
      I’ll do what I can. No promises though. I finished book 3 in December, but I wouldn’t expect to see it before July 2015. As ever, the scheduling decisions of my publisher are out of my hands.
      Best,
      Anthony

  • Clay

    Anthony,
    I loved Blood Song, in my opinion better than Lynch, Rothfuss, or Martin. I am an avid audiobookophile and it is easily in the top three books I’ve listened to. Will Tower Lord be released on audible when the hardcover is released?

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Clay. Thanks for the kind words. The US audio version should be released simultaneously with the hardcover and ebook. No word as yet on the UK version.
      Kind regards,
      Anthony

    • Tina

      I’m also a huge fan of the audio version and loved Steven Brand as the narrator. I hope they’ve gotten him for the second book too. A bad or inappropriate narrator can ruin a good book. I also agree that Blood Song is much better in writing, story and character than many of the authors/books it’s been compared to in reviews. It’s a hidden gem of a series. Can’t wait for the rest of it.

      • Anthony Ryan

        Hi Tina, I can confirm Steven Brand is back for Tower Lord, and is in fact recording it this week.
        Thanks for the kind words,
        Anthony

  • Dennis

    I would just like to say that I am an avid reader of many many genre’s and Blood Song was one of the best books that I have ever read. I am really looking forward to Tower Lord. Thank very much, Mr. Ryan.

  • khaya

    You are an amazing writer. I love reading but I hadn’t been reading as much as I normally do and the cover of Blood song attracted my eye in my local book store so I picked it up. I ended up finishing it in two days and it has reawakened my love of reading I just finished the broken empire trilogy by mark lawrence and am busy on Dance of the dragons at the moment. I cannot wait for tower lord to come out and will definitely be picking up a copy, keep on writing and continue putting you amazing talent onto paper.

  • Fan

    Hi Anthony,
    Any plans of releasing some chapter(s) or manuscript in advance to keep us all hooked?

    Your Fan

  • Julia

    Great book! This might still be confidential but will book 3 be released in the summer of 2015, based on the current release pattern, or will it take longer to write/publish?

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Julia,
      Book 3 is finished and currently with my editor. Barring disasters it should be released in July 2015.

  • S.M.Muse

    From the comments above, what can I truly say- as it has all been said before. I love your command of the written word. You make Vaelin seem so real, the way he speaks, the way you present him to all of us- absolutely alive, that’s all I can say. When you have a moment, and I’m sure with your schedule time is a commodity you find short supply of, I would love to hear what drove you to tell stories.

    I had the honor of meeting Frank Herbert, author of Dune, many years ago- the passion in his words and writing is what drove me to put pen to paper. I’ve never turned back. The way you present your characters, reminds me of him.

    If I may offer any encouragement, it is this- you are a truly gifted writer, and I know it has never been easy (or at least I dare to presume) I am glad to see that all your blood, sweat and hard work have paid off in the end. I also realize that being compared to our peers is an honor, but you sir, stand easily upon your own two feet and work. All I can offer in closing is this, much continued success in your work and life.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Thanks for the kind words S.M. I wrote a piece for upcoming4me.com about the genesis of Blood Song which you can read here: http://upcoming4.me/news/book-news/story-behind-blood-song-by-anthony-ryan.
      You met Frank Herbert? Wow! Wish I had. Dune was a big influence on me.
      Best regards,
      Anthony

      • S.M.Muse

        It was in the late Seventies. He came to speak at Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph Missouri. I remember shaking his hand after hearing him speak, and having him sign a copy of the Green Brain. (Never a copy of Dune around when you need it.) He was an amazing author and person. I mentioned to him that I really wanted to be like him, that I wanted to be an author- his answer to me, and the way he actually looked at me, has driven me ever since- “What’s stopping you?” he asked. “You can do whatever you set your mind to.” I firmly believe every beginning, struggling and dreaming author, needs to hear those same words… As tellers of the eternal story, it is our job to encourage and lift each other up.

  • marco

    When the Tower Lord will be released in Italy? ?( I know that in the us it will released on Juli 2014)

    I have just read the Blood song, and now, I can’t wait to read the sequel.

    Marco

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Marco,
      No confirmed date for the Italian version of Tower Lord yet. Blood Song (Il Canto Del Sangue) appeared in October last year, so I’d watch out for it in 6 months.
      Thanks for reading,
      Anthony

  • Syl.

    Bonjour…
    Je suis comme Marco ! Je viens de terminer à l’instant votre livre que je voudrais aussitôt attaquer le tome 2.
    Pitié… ne faites pas mourir Vaelin dans votre dernier tome !!!!!
    A bientôt

    • Anthony Ryan

      (Thank the nerd-gods for Google-translate)
      Hi Marco,
      Glad you liked the book. And Vaelin’s safe… for now.

  • Hen Har draQe

    Mr Ryan,

    I just scrolled down the entire forum here (which is a feat on it’s own by now). I was just wondering; the story you write isn’t word for word what Vaelin tells Vernier right? ‘Cause of Verniers seeming ignorance of the Healer’s relation with Vaelin (plus the Derniers plot).

    I am wondering further morel shall Tower Lord be build up like Blood Song or shall you move more like towards the Song of Ice and Fire style? (I like both very much so no big problem at all there :D). *Counts the days till july 1st.*

    • Anthony Ryan

      Yes, Vaelin is a big old liar at times, only you the reader get the full story. As for Tower Lord… you’ll have to wait and see.

  • Fan

    Did anything come got decided regarding few chapter or preview release for this book?

  • jagarrett

    Blood Song was one of the novels I read last year where I was excited to read the sequel straight away. Just my luck that this is a series that is just getting started, right? I’m so used to getting started late and getting to binge for a while! Regardless, kudos to you, good sir, and I look forward to the next book.

  • abhinav2rocket

    This confirms my suspicion that it will be the Volarians who attack
    “The blood-song is powerful, rich in warning and guidance in times of trouble, but is only a fraction of the power available to others who understand more of its mysteries”

    But new mysteries have now cropped up to take its place. Who is that man? Is it Frentis? Or some other brother from the order? And who is the “ally”?
    Can we hope that there will be more sample chapters in the near future as the release date gets nearer?

  • Will

    Looks brilliant Anthony! I can’t help but re-read the excerpt to relieve the tedium of office-life, and to fan the flames of my impatience for the release of Tower Lord. Maybe one more excerpt soon?

  • coby

    I bought Blood Song for $1.99 on Kindle 3 years ago. It was the best $2 I have spent on a book. I need to pre-order tower lord. Thanks for tweeting a link to this excerpt. A couple of questions. Is there a bigger map of the world so I can see where Volaris is? They are invading Cumbreal does Black Arrow make an appearance?

    • Anthony Ryan

      Thanks Coby. I’ll see if I can expand the map room once Tower Lord comes out. As for Black Arrow… oh, my phone’s ringing. Must dash.

  • Amelia

    Hi Anthony,
    Thank you so much for putting this up, it was awesome to see Verniers again, although I did tell myself I shouldn’t read this as it seems to make the wait even more excruciating. But the temptation was too great. Now I’m thinking a certain someone needs to come and kick Volarian butt, then maybe a bromance can ensue between our hero and his blogger (been watching the fantastic third season of Sherlock and fangirling all over the place).
    Impatiently waiting,
    Amelia

  • Kate S.

    Thank you so much! This helps while waiting for “Tower Lord” to be released.

  • Al Rimol

    Dear Anthony;

    Thank you for posting the sample chapter it was awesome (just pre-ordered Tower Lord, can’t wait, super-excited). I know you don’t like answering spoiler type questions, but was hoping you would be so kind as to answer some of these World-Building questions?

    1. Vanos Al Myrna is introduced as the Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches. Does this mean that there are more than one Tower Lord, and if so how many?

    2. Are there 3 separate tribes to the North; Lonak, Seordah, and Ice Tribes/barbarians? And is it safe to assume the realm knows least about the numbers and capabilities of the Ice Tribe?

    3. Are the Volarian, Alpirian Empire, and territories controlled by the Merchant Kings the three biggest nations? Also, how does the Unified Realm compare in population to these nations?

    4. Volarian Empire a) is it safe to assume they are one of the oldest? b) do they have the most extensive intelligence network geographically?

    5. Lastly, (not a world-building) would you consider adding a forums page to you website where fans can discuss your books in further detail and post theories?

    Sorry about the long post. Can’t wait for Tower Lord!

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Al,
      I’m afraid your questions are far too spoilerific to answer in detail. However, I will say that the Unified Realm has two Tower Lords, the Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches and the Tower Lord of the Southern Shore. Also, the Unified Realm is by far the smallest nation in comparison to the others. As for Lord Al Myrna, and everything else you asked about, wait and see. Not sure WordPress has a forums widget, but I’ll look into it.
      Anthony

  • danny

    i expected an invasion but… wow, right off the bat. I love it. Bring on the dark blade!

  • MatrixM

    My god, Anthony Ryan. I was pumped enough as is and then I read this
    ‘“Ah, then we have done you a service have we not?” He chuckled, delighted with his own humour. “By giving you an ending.”’
    And almost shivered.

  • Hanh Le

    Hi, Anthony. I LOVED LOVED listening (and reading) Blood Song (rich in character development, wonderfully woven plot, one of my fav heroes of all time), but I noticed when I tried to pre-order Tower Lord on audible.com, it said that this book is not available in your country (I live in the US). Any reason for this? Steven Brand was absolutely fantastic, and am hoping for an equally fabulous experience with Tower Lord. I did see in an earlier blog post that you said it would be available July 1, but audible will usually allow pre-orders (and amazon is taking pre-orders on your book). Any guidance would be fantastic as I am waiting with bated breath for Tower Lord. Thanks.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Hanh,
      Tower Lord will be available in audio in the US from 1st July, however it appears audible.com are being a little slow in putting up the pre-order page for the US version. Hoping it’ll be fixed soon.
      Thanks for the kind words,
      Anthony

  • John C.

    Thank you Anthony for this sample/preview. It make my day.
    As for book.. well I have waited this long, what is 3 weeks then.

    V.A.S is the perfect character/protagonist I am looking for. Solid and he is a consistent as a character.

    If I may, I know this is just a triology but… nothing is stopping you for making side story about Frentis right? in the future? I mean Blood song realm is too solid to stop in just 3 books. I know, everyone want closure and don’t want prolong story…but you have a realm where you’re protagonist/characters can have a book of their own. They are that good… or rather you are that good.

    Keep it up. Keep feeding us.

    I bought the book way back August 3, 2012 when it still have that burning sword cover. I love the book, the only regret I have is… when you read book like yours… the bar is set to another level and we know how hard to find another book at same level as yours. IMHO.

    In behalf of people on earth and aliens alike. Thank you!

    • Anthony Ryan

      Thanks John. I have to say that at this time I’m not 100% sure I’ll be returning to Vaelin’s world when the trilogy is complete, and if I do it won’t be for some time. But there are some ideas bubbling so we’ll see.
      Thanks for the kind words,
      Anthony

  • ddolandesign

    I can’t add any original words of praise that hasn’t been used already above, so I’ll ask a couple of questions and maybe you can answer, if you have the time. On pseudonyms: I’m 37 years old and a guy and have probably read at least 10,000 books in my lifetime. I never thought of myself a sexist, but for some reason (in my younger years) female authors always seemed to disappoint and for years I would not read them. Then along come K. J. Parker and I was tricked after about 4 books when I found out He was a She. Thankfully I have seen the light and hope others don’t make the same mistake I did. Also, I have found that cover art is almost the #1 factor in me deciding to purchase or check out a book. Great art is not always a great book but bad art tends to be bad book. Do publisher’s and author’s realize this? Last one: Have you read any of Joe Abercrombie’s Books?

    • Anthony Ryan

      K.J. Parker is a woman?!!! Tosh. You’ll be telling me Robin Hobb’s a woman next.
      Given the time and money publishers spend on producing covers I suspect they’re fully aware of the importance of getting it right, and, as an author I generally think they’ve gotten it about right with my books.
      I’ve read one Joe Abercrombie book, Best Served Cold, but haven’t gotten around to any others yet. Like most writers I know of, my to be read list grows by the day and I’ll probably never actually get to every book on it.
      Thanks for the kind words,
      Anthony

  • Taravangian

    Anthony, thanks for the sample chapter — and for the books themselves! We can’t wait for Tower Lord to hit shelves. Less than two weeks left!

    Apologies if you’ve already talked about this, but we’re looking at four POV characters in Tower Lord, correct? And possibly more for Queen of Fire?

    With that in mind, will the books two and three still be primarily “Vaelin’s story”? Or will they be closer to ASOIAF or the Stormlight Archive, following a cast of characters fairly equally to illustrate the broader world and the forces shaping it?

    Also, any chance you might return to reddit for another AMA sometime after Tower Lord is published?

    Also also … Need any beta readers for book 3? 🙂

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Taravangian,
      The Raven’s Shadow series will remain essentially Vaelin’s story but other characters will assume more importance as it progresses. For obvious reasons I won’t get into who or how just yet.
      Happy to do another Reddit AMA, haven’t been asked yet though.
      Thanks for the kind words,
      Anthony

      • John

        These days I am liking less POVs . This is part of the reason I love Bloodsong so much. It’s not that I don’t like multiple POV books, but I have been let down to much by other series over the long haul. Too much fluff, lost focus and threads never tied.

        As a fan, I really hope you don’t overextend yourself in the writing of your series. Bloodsong was a tight story and I loved it.

    • Taravangian

      Thanks for the response. I finished Tower Lord today and I just adored it! If you do get that AMA set up, I’ve got a few questions queued up (and a lot of RAFO bait that I know you won’t answer). :p

      Also, woe unto me for being the guy who brings up editing with the author, but I think I spotted a couple of small mistakes in the text for the U.S. hardcover — specifically, on p. 157 where Brother Kehlan is referred to as a brother of the Fourth Order (I believe he’s actually with the Fifth); and on p. 334 where Brother Harin refers to Sentes Mustor as “Hentes”.

      Sorry for bringing it up here, but I thought it was worth mentioning *somewhere* and I couldn’t think where else to go. Just trying to be helpful, though I realize I probably come off as more of an arse than anything else.

      In any case, thanks so much for another awesome book. Can’t wait for the next one!

  • Steve

    Give us another chapter, 10 days is still awhile, and it can only help as advertisement for the book! You already have me as a buying customer, but it may bring out a few more with free content.

    Also, my audio pre-order says 74 hours! One more chapter will barely dent that.

    Pretty Please!
    Steve

  • The One Who Waits

    OMG……im salivating for the release…

  • Fan

    Just pre-ordered and finished reading more chapters on amazon preview.
    Can’t wait….

    • Amelia

      Thanks for the heads up! I’ve been re-reading Blood Song as I stew in impatience. I don’t think I’ve ever waited for a book with such longing. And I have only one word for the sample chapters on Amazon… WOW.

      • Fan

        I know, the great thing is that 2nd book doesn’t look like that it had dropped the pace/flow. Usually 2nd book in 3 part series are there for the sake of it (remember left hand of god), reading the preview on Amazon doesn’t look like that to be the case here, which is great. Waiting for next week…..

  • Fan

    Could Fornella be the Volarian singer Ahm Lin spoke of?

  • Aaron Amaral

    Hey pseudonym, better known as Anthony Ryan. Thanks for such an unbelievable book, read it right after Patrick Rothfuss’ wise man’s fear. Dear God was your book amazing. Except for one part that upset me cause I’m a animal lover.

    SPOILER ALERT!!!!!
    WHY SCRATCH WHY!!!!!!

  • John C.

    From Attic in the North Tower to Tower Lord of northern reaches. The journey continues. In the history of my human existence in this planet, I have never been so excited waiting for month of July than this.

    We will meet again brother. Loyalty is our strength.

  • David

    It is already July first here in Spain… I suppose I will have to wait a few more hours.

  • Nick

    Hi Mr. Ryan.
    I’m french and a huge fan of your books.
    I’m sorry to asking you the probably same question of another fan but do you have any information about the date of the released date of “the tower lord” in french ?
    Otherwise, congratulation for your work and thanks for letting us dream with your stories.

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Nick,
      I haven’t yet had confirmation from my French publisher for a release date for Tower Lord. They have purchased translation rights for the whole trilogy so will definitely be publishing it at some point. I’d guess June 2015 as Blood Song came out in June this year. I’ll post an update when I get it.
      Thanks for the kind words,
      Anthony

      • Nick

        Hi again
        I would like to thank you for your reply.
        I wasen’t expecting that it will be so fast, i’m pretty amaze :).
        I don’t know a lot of author who are answering to their fan
        So thanks again (i will stop with the thanks i thinks lol)
        And keep doing a good job 😉

  • Dylan

    Hello Anthony

    My friend lent me your book and like many others I loved it but I still don’t understand why Sherin wants revenge on Vaelin

  • John

    Hello Mr. Ryan,

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the, “Blood Song”. What an incredible story and not to mention you are an incredible author. I have always been a fantasy book fan and many of the books you recommend, I have already read. You mentioned that you are not as read in the fantasy genre as you would like to be, however, the reason I like your book is becuase it is a bit different than the other authors. Write On Brother!

  • Florian Ziegler

    Hay i’m a fan of your books from germany …
    and my english is not good enough to read the tower lord in english … i think i would miss to much.
    So the question is when can i hope to buy the tower lord on german ?
    Thank you you’re doing a good job

    Flo

    • Anthony Ryan

      Hi Florian. I’m afraid I don’t have a confirmed release date for the German release of Tower Lord. However, I do know the translator is currently hard at work. I’ll post any updates here when I know them.
      Glad you liked the first book so much.
      Anthony

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