Fans of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (often referred to as the Game of Thrones series, due to both the title of the television series and the first book) were devastated at the news earlier this year that the next book, Winds of Winter, would not be released in 2015.
Now, on Martin’s blog, he says that another book set in the Game of Thrones universe will indeed be released this year, in October. The book is a series of stories about a knight and his squire. If you’ve read Martin’s entries in certain collections — Legends, Legends II, and Warriors — you’ll already be familiar with Ser Duncan and his squire, Egg. Now, the stories of Dunk and Egg, which take place in Westeros long before the events of A Game of Thrones, will be collected together into a single volume.
Don’t worry — Martin isn’t taking a lot of time away from Winds of Winter to work on this book (and it’s even still technically possible that Winds of Winter could be released this year — all his publicist actually said was that it isn’t yet scheduled.) The work that’s currently going on for the Dunk and Egg anthology (titled A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms) is illustration.
If you’ve seen the 2014 A Song of Ice and Fire calendar, you’ll already be familiar with the artwork of Gary Gianni. Martin says that he originally asked Gianni to do seven or eight illustrations for this Game of Thrones companion, but Gianni refused — instead asking to illustrate the entire book, with his art “on virtually every page.”
There are growing concerns that the HBO series, A Game of Thrones, based on Martin’s books, will soon pass the books, finishing the story before the Song of Ice and Fire series does. It’s a legitimate concern, especially considering how long George R. R. Martin’s epic-length fantasy novels take to complete, but it’s not this delay that will cause it, at least — there’s still plenty more material from the current books that hasn’t been covered in the television adaptation.
A.V. Club reiterates that Martin won’t be working on the Game of Thrones TV series this year because he’s devoting his time to writing the new book. He’s also already given the show’s directors and writers an outline of where the story is going — so continuing the show ahead of the books won’t necessarily be a problem.
In the meantime, fans of the Game of Thrones novels will just have to keep their fingers crossed — and maybe bide their time with Ser Duncan the Tall until Winds of Winter is ready.