Happy news, friends: we’re getting a new story from A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin this fall. It’ll be included in a new anthology book called Book of Swords. According to the blurb on Amazon, it’ll feature “[f]ifteen original tales celebrating fantasy’s golden age of sword and sorcery, including a new story from George R. R. Martin set in the world of A Game of Thrones!”
The book is edited by Gardner Dozois, who has worked with Martin before. He contributed a story called The Princess and the Queen to a 2013 anthology called Dangerous Women and a story called The Rogue Prince to a 2014 book called Rogues. Both of those stories pertained to the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, an event briefly mentioned by poor Shireen Barathron shortly before her death. Furthermore, both were much longer in their original drafts—for example, the full version of the The Princess and the Queen was 80,000 words, but only 30,000 made it into Dangerous Women.
It’s likely that Martin will incorporate this cut material, not to mention stuff cut from The World of Ice and Fire and elsewhere, into a planned full history of the Targaryen history called Fire or Blood (or the GRRMarillion, its affectionate nickname among fans). We know that Fire and Blood will include an account of the lives of Aenys I Targaryen and Maegor I Targaryen (aka Maegor the Cruel), the two sons of Aegon the Conqueror. That story is called The Sons of the Dragon, and we could see it, or an abridged version of it, turning up in Book of Swords.
Martin actually read The Sons of the Dragon at 2014’s London Con. It chronicles Aenys’ unpopular rule following the death of Aegon, before following his father to the grave just five years later under mysterious circumstances. Aenys’ death allowed Maegor the Cruel to ascend to the Iron Throne. His reign was marked by death, betrayal and violence.
Another possibility: a new entry Martin’s the Tales of Dunk and Egg, Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire prequel series. Set roughly one hundred years before A Game of Thrones, these stories follow the adventures of hedge knight Ser Duncan the Tall and his faithful squire Egg, who is actually a Targaryen prince. Martin has released three novellas in the series thus far (they’re bundled as A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms), and a fourth called The She-Wolves of Winterfell is said to be in progress. However, Martin had promised to set aside work on Dunk and Egg until he’s done with The Winds of Winter, so it’s not a strong contender.
There’s also the possibility that it can be a chapter directly from The Winds of Winter, either something Martin has already released or something new, but we wouldn’t hold our breath.
@BryndenBFish The anthology has been planned for awhile. Pretty sure I know what GRRM's contribution is but am double-checking.
— Elio & Linda (@westerosorg) January 26, 2017
Of course, we can’t help but wonder if this release signals that The Winds of Winter is nearing completion. Martin recently wrote that he thinks the book will be out this year, and if Winds was released around the same time as Book of Swords, it could give the latter a nice sales boost. Are the publishers coordinating schedules here?
Book of Swords is set for release on October 17th, 2017.