Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is among the very best epic fantasy stories out there. I wouldn’t have ever thought there’d be a sequel, but now that there is, a two-hundred page follow-on to the original does seem like a sensible writing exercise to get Williams (and his readers) back into the world of Osten Ard.

And it does very well as both a kind of denouement of the original, and a complete story in its own right. It’s tightly focused on the campaign to finish off the Norns who had so nearly overturned the Human kingdom, and get a good measure of revenge as well.

Lets be clear, neither side is the ‘lets put the past behind us’ type, though the Rimmersmen have the excuse of fairly immediate events to react to. Williams does a great job showing what is happening on both sides, and a wearing campaign and siege in the bitter north. At the same time, the primary human viewpoint comes from a couple of people far from home in this army, and their role is well filled out too.

It works very well as a completely separate story, and certainly don’t hesitate to pick this up just because you haven’t read anything else in this world. At the same time, is fairly obvious that Williams wanted to work out just what exactly happened to the Norns after the defeat of the Storm King, and this is one of the foundation stones for the new epic fantasy trilogy from him, which is now on the ‘to read soonest’ pile.