Osten Ard Books in Order: How to read Tad Williams’s fantasy series?

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From American fantasy and science fiction writer Tad Williams, the Osten Ard Saga started in 1988 with the first trilogy (“Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn”) and, after twenty-four years, with a second trilogy (“The Last King of Osten Ard”).

It takes place on the fictional continent of Osten Ard where humans, Sithi, and Qanuc live in relative peace. But when King John Presbyter, a dragon slayer, dies and his son Elias ascends the throne, a long-dormant evil is ready to enter the realm and threaten the peace. The story of a young man named Simon who is unexpectedly thrust into a conflict that could determine the fate of the world.

How to read the Osten Ard Series in Order?

The first three books formed the “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” trilogy.

  1. The Dragonbone Chair – A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard-for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king. Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard.
  2. Stone of Farewell – It is a time of darkness, dread, and ultimate testing for the realm of Osten Ard, for the wild magic and terrifying minions of the undead Sithi ruler, Ineluki the Storm King, are spreading their seemingly undefeatable evil across the kingdom. With the very land blighted by the power of Ineluki’s wrath, the tattered remnants of a once-proud human army flee in search of a last sanctuary and rallying point-the Stone of Farewell, a place shrouded in mystery and ancient sorrow.
  3. To Green Angel Tower – The evil minions of the undead Sithi Storm King are beginning their final preparations for the kingdom-shattering culmination of their dark sorceries, drawing King Elias ever deeper into their nightmarish, spell-spun world. As the Storm King’s power grows and the boundaries of time begin to blur, the loyal allies of Prince Josua struggle to rally their forces at the Stone of Farewell. There, too, Simon and the surviving members of the League of the Scroll have gathered for a desperate attempt to unravel mysteries from the forgotten past.

  1. The Heart of What Was Lost – In the wake of the Storm King’s fall, Ineluki’s loyal minions, the Norns, dark cousins to the Sithi, choose to flee the lands of men and retreat north to Nakkiga, their ancient citadel within the hollow heart of the mountain called Stormspike. But as the defeated Norns make their way to this last haven, the mortal Rimmersman Duke Isgrimnur leads an army in pursuit, determined to end the Norns’ attacks and defeat their ageless Queen Utuk’ku for all time.

The next four books formed “The Last King of Osten Ard” series.

  1. The Witchwood Crown – More than thirty years have passed since the events of the earlier novels, and the world has reached a critical turning point once again. The realm is threatened by divisive forces, even as old allies are lost, and others are lured down darker paths. Perhaps most terrifying of all, the Norns-the long-vanquished elvish foe-are stirring once again, preparing to reclaim the mortal-ruled lands that once were theirs…
  2. Empire of Grass – Simon and Miriamele, royal husband and wife, face danger from every side. Their allies in Hernystir have made a pact with the dreadful Queen of the Norns to allow her armies to cross into mortal lands. The ancient, powerful nation of Nabban is on the verge of bloody civil war, and the fierce nomads of the Thrithings grasslands have begun to mobilize, united by superstitious fervor and their age-old hatred of the city-dwellers.
  3. Into the Narrowdark – The High Throne of Erkynland is tottering, its royal family divided and diminished. Queen Miriamele has been caught up in a brutal rebellion in the south and is thought to have died in a fiery attack. Her grandson Morgan, heir to the throne, has been captured by one of Utuk’ku’s soldiers in the ruins of an abandoned city. Miriamele’s husband, King Simon, is overwhelmed by grief and hopelessness, unaware that many of these terrible things have been caused by Pasevalles, a murderous traitor inside Simon’s own court at the Hayholt.
  4. The Navigator’s Children – The Hayholt is besieged by the Norns. Once the home of their immortal brethren, the Sithi, now the capital of the kingdom of men, the fabled castle is under attack. And as the world is distracted by this strike against humankind, the Norns’ deathless witch-queen Utuk’ku turns towards the mysterious fateful valley called Tanakirú-the Vale of Mists.

Reading The Prequels to the Osten Ard series

The next two novels in the Oster Ard book series are taking place during the pre-Dragonbone Chair history.

  1. Brothers of the Wind – Set a thousand years before the events of The Dragonbone Chair. Among the immortal Sithi of Osten Ard, none are more beloved and admired than the two sons of the ruling family, steady Hakatri and his proud and fiery younger brother Ineluki — Ineluki, who will one day become the undead Storm King. The younger brother makes a bold, terrible oath that he will destroy deadly Hidohebhi, a terrifying monster, but instead drags his brother with him into a disaster that threatens not just their family but all the Sithi — and perhaps all of humankind as well.
  2. The Burning Man – (optional short story/graphic novel set several hundred years before the first trilogy) The life of Breda, grand-daughter of Great Thane Godric, is about to change when Vargellis Sulis, a disgraced nobleman from Nabban, appears in her town and soon marries her mother, Cynethrith. Breda and her family soon move to the uninhabited castle on the headlands overlooking the bay, but the ancient castle seems haunted by the spirits of the long-lost Sithi, a mysterious race who once called the castle home.

If you like our article about reading the Osten Ard reading order, don’t forget to bookmark it! Also, you may be interested in The Kingkiller Chronicle or The Saga of Recluce.

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2 Comments

  1. Where does the novel entitled
    Into the Narrowdark fit into the timeline? Would you fit it in between Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children? Thank you for your help in this matter…

    1. Thanks for your comment Robert, it seems that I somehow forgot to put it in the reading order. It’s fixed, it’s the third book in The Last King of Osten Ard series (this series is set thirty years after the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy).

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