Rumor: The Doors of Stone is in editing and has a release date?

Image: The Name of The Wind/DAW Books
Image: The Name of The Wind/DAW Books /

Gather round, dear readers, and I’ll tell you the tale of a book we’ve yet to see, a book we may one day see, and a book we may never see, all of which are the same book. Its story is a silence of three parts. The first is the cut-flower sound of a fandom scrolling through endless newsfeeds, wishing there was some kind of update to sate their appetites. The second, the discomforting quiet of readers staring into the middle distance, wondering at plot threads that have haunted them for over a decade. The third silence, the most harrowing of all, is that of an author still toiling away at their book, hoping it may one day be on shelves.

We’re here to talk about The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss, the long-awaited final book in his Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy, which began with The Name of the Wind in 2007 and continued with The Wise Man’s Fear in 2011. Fans have been waiting over 10 years for the follow-up; it’s right up there with George R.R. Martin’s The Winds of Winter so far as notorious literary waits go. Ask any reader perusing the fantasy section of a book store, and there’s a one-in-three chance that they’ll have a story about how they were burned by The Name of the Wind and now don’t start unfinished series anymore.

But the reason we’re talking about it today is that the rumor mill is turning, and I don’t want to leave you confused and out in the cold. The latest is that Patrick Rothfuss’ The Doors of Stone is “at the editor and has a release date.”

Would that this were true. But it is almost certainly not. Here’s the tea:

Author Mercedes Lackey starts online rumor that The Doors of Stone is done

Ok, bear with me because this is a twisty tale. I first caught wind of it from the Captured in Words YouTube channel. Earlier this month, acclaimed fantasy author Mercedes Lackey was engaging with fans on Quora, a discussion board site in the vein of Reddit where she’s pretty active. Some fans were joking around in a thread about the Biblical end times and comparing the track record of those prophecies to people saying things like, “George R.R. Martin’s next book will be out shortly,” or “Bethesda’s next release will be bug-free.” After one commenter added the tongue-in-cheek, “I think it’s closer to ‘Patrick Rothfuss will publish the next book in his trilogy real soon now,'” Lackey hopped in and it got interesting. She wrote:

"Speaking as someone who shares a publisher I can confidently tell you it is at the editor and has a release date."

Most fans have been waiting for this book long enough that Lackey’s comment was met with as much caution as excitement. Aside from just the fact that we’ve been waiting for The Doors of Stone for over a decade, this would just be the weirdest way to find out that it’s close to publication. Lackey does share an editor with Rothfuss (Betsy Wollheim) and both authors’ works are published by DAW Books, but she isn’t attached to the book at all. To get this big an announcement from another author on Quora, as opposed to Rothfuss himself? It smelled fishy to me.

After some digging, it turns out that Lackey was not referring to The Doors of Stone at all. When pressed by fans for more clarification, Lackey shared a link to another one of Rothfuss’ books: The Slow Regard of Silent Things, a novella that was published back in 2014 about Auri’s adventures in the Underthing, the area beneath the magical university where Kvothe studies.

Whether Lackey realized she made a mistake and was covering, trolling fans, or just confused, this is likely not the news fans were hoping it was. When The Doors of Stone has been sent off to editorial, we’ll likely hear it from Rothfuss himself.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – SEPTEMBER 18: Author Patrick Rothfuss attends Heifer International’s 4th Annual Beyond Hunger Gala at the Montage on September 18, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. Heifer International works to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. . (Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Heifer International)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – SEPTEMBER 18: Author Patrick Rothfuss attends Heifer International’s 4th Annual Beyond Hunger Gala at the Montage on September 18, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. Heifer International works to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. . (Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Heifer International) /

Patrick Rothfuss angers fans by failing to deliver promised chapter after fundraiser

Would that this was the only news about Patrick Rothfuss and The Doors of Stone, but there’s another item we should probably address. Rothfuss has a very active charity called Worldbuilders, where he and other people who work in science fiction and fantasy often donate cool stuff in order to raise money for Heifer International and other charities. Rothfuss has done a ton of good work with Worldbuilders over the years.

During last December’s fundraiser, two of the stretch goals Rothfuss had on the table were that he would read the prologue to The Doors of Stone and share a full chapter from the book, provided that a certain dollar amount was met. Kingkiller fans being Kingkiller fans, the benchmark was passed swiftly and then the ball was in Rothfuss’ court.

The author did read the prologue to The Doors of Stone live on his Twitch stream in January, and there was much rejoicing:

However, when it came time to deliver the chapter that had been promised, fans once more found themselves waiting. And waiting. According to Captured in Words, Rothfuss had initially announced that he was going to bring in a cast of voice actors to read the chapter, essentially making it a full blown audio production.

At the time, Rothfuss was promising fans they’d get to hear this new chapter of The Doors of Stone by the end of February. Given that it’s now August, it’s fair to say that that deadline was not met. This is a little more complicated than just bumping back release dates for the book, because it’s an actual stretch goal that numerous fans paid into, which was then not delivered.

Part of me thinks, hey, maybe we should have expected this. But part of me is surprised; Rothfuss has been running Worldbuilders for years, and to the best of my knowledge this kind of breach of consumer trust has never happened. No doubt whenever that chapter from The Doors of Stone surfaces it will have been worth the wait, but it’s pretty understandable that people are upset about it since money changed hands.

For now, the wait goes on. Until then, there are plenty of other books by plenty of other amazing authors to keep us occupied:

The First Binding by R.R. Virdi is a new epic fantasy classic. dark. Next

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