Last week marked the release of The Narrow Road Between Desires, the first new entry in nearly a decade in The Kingkiller Chronicle book series by Patrick Rothfuss. Fans have been waiting a long time for more work by Rothfuss, and while The Narrow Road Between Desires isn’t a substitute for the long-awaited third book in his saga, The Doors of Stone, it’s still a welcome breath of fresh air for those who want to return to Temerant with characters like Bast and Kvothe.
We spoke with Rothfuss in a lengthy exclusive interview about the novella, which revealed a ton of insights into how the book came about. You can watch the entire thing below. But just in case you want a quicker play-by-play than our full feature about it, read on for six of the biggest takeaways.
1. The Narrow Road Between Desires is a new version of a previously published novella, The Lightning Tree
First and foremost, The Narrow Road Between Desires isn’t technically a brand new story; it’s an updated edition of The Lightning Tree, a novella that Rothfuss released in 2014 as part of an anthology called Rogues, which was edited by A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin and 15-time Hugo Award-winning editor Gardner Dozois. It’s the story of a single day in the life of Kvothe’s Fae companion Bast, as he goes around the village of Newarre getting up to some Fae mischief.
When Rothfuss set out to re-release The Lightning Tree, he only planned on cleaning up the story a little. Instead, he wrote around 15,000 new words, which makes The Narrow Road Between Desires around twice as long as the original. Just about every scene of the book has been drastically improved, and there are even a few new scenes that add a lot more depth to the story. It isn’t just a repackaging of an old story, but a whole new version of the tale that Rothfuss spent around six months fine-tuning into its current form.
2. The Narrow Road Between Desires has more than 40 pieces of artwork
Another notable thing about The Narrow Road Between Desires is that it has a lot of artwork from Nate Taylor, the same artist who illustrated Rothfuss’ novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things. Similar to the way the story grew as Rothfuss worked on it, he originally only asked Taylor to design “a dozen, maybe 20” pieces of art.
Instead, Taylor created more than 40 illustrations for the book, ranging from full-page images of characters like Bast to individualized chapter headers. The chapter headers in particular were a challenge, as they came about fairly late in the process and featured so many little details that each one became a “bespoke piece of art.”