Three Book Contract

Howard ZebrasWhile in New York last week, amongst doing many other things — including some sight-seeing and some amazing meals — I signed a new three-book contract with St. Martin’s. This pleases me mightily, as you might expect.

The first book is slated to be released about a year from now, is titled For the Killing of Kings, and is far and away the longest book I’ve ever written, sitting at about 150 thousand words. That’s almost twice the length of my first novel, The Desert of Souls, and more in keeping with the size modern fantasy readers seem to like. The rough draft of the second is of approximately the same length and the third is planned to be similar.

Those of you who like the pacing of my prose might fear I’ve finally surrendered to trends and begun to pad, but it’s not so. I saw “big fat fantasy” authors who could keep their pacing going — writers like Scott Lynch and Mark Lawrence and Mike Sullivan — and decided I could try my own hand at it.

Here’s the current “cover copy” and elevator pitch. I expect both will be more finely honed in the coming months, but this should give some idea of what this whole thing’s about:

Their peace was a fragile thing, but it had endured for seven years, mostly because the people of Darassus and the king of the Naor hordes believed his doom was foretold upon the edge of the great sword hung in the hall of champions. Unruly Naor clans might raid across the border, but the king himself would never lead his people to war so long as the blade remained in the hands of his enemies.

But when squire Elenai’s aging mentor uncovers evidence that the sword in their hall is a forgery she’s forced to flee Darassus for her life, her only ally the reckless, disillusioned Kyrkenall the archer. Framed for murder and treason, pursued by the greatest heroes of the realm, they race to recover the real sword, only to stumble into a conspiracy that leads all the way back to the Darassan queen and her secretive advisors. They must find a way to clear their names and set things right, all while dodging friends determined to kill them – and the Naor hordes, invading at last with a new and deadly weapon.

Elevator pitch: A cross between Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber and The Three Musketeers.

24 Comments on “Three Book Contract

  1. Sounds great, I’ve wondered exactly what you’ve been brewing up for us, Howard.

    Congratulations and definitely looking forward to it!

  2. “Elevator pitch: A cross between Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber and The Three Musketeers.”

    Sounds excellent. Zelazny doesn’t get enough love these days (same for Dumas). This is the right direction, IMO. Write some kickass, swashbuckling S&S-flavored epic fantasy and REALLY get your name out there. THEN, you can always go back to Dabir and Asim with an even stronger fanbase.

    • Thanks, Deuce! You read my mind. I do intend to return to Dabir and Asim, even if I have to self pub. But first I need to get my body of work more established so that I can afford side projects. Hopefully I can get my Dabir and Asim stories a larger fanbase eventually. I have many more tales about them I planned to tell.

    • Thanks, Fraser! No, not yet. The first book is very close to being whipped into shape, but still not quite there.

  3. Congratulations, Howard. Here’s hoping this contract is one of many more to come. It will be interesting to see you at 150K, that’s for certain.

    • Thanks, Jason!

      I’ve tried to keep to the same pacing style. I think I have — if it’s not fast paced then I get bored writing it, so that’s kind of a built-in warning signal for me! But the you should NEVER keep writing if you’re bored with what you’re setting down…

  4. cross between Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber and The Three Musketeers.

    YES! I’ll have some! 🙂

    • Thought you’d like that, Paul! Two of my very favorite characters, ever, were Corwin and Benedict, and they may have some analogues in this tale…

  5. Wonderful news, Howard! Congratulations a-plenty. These contracts aren’t getting any easier to snag, but you’ve earned this one and I hope this intriguing-sounding concept soars!

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