New Book for Capclave: The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod

(Just one of John Coulthart’s many visionary creations.)

Ann and I, along with Connie Willis, are guests of honor this year at Capclave in October, and if you register now you can also order my forthcoming book from their press, The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod, as well as Willis’s Fire Watch. Both are 500-copy limited editions. Proceeds help to benefit the organization that funds Capclave.

What is The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod? It’s an alternate version of my long story “The Final Quest of the Wizard Sarnod” in Songs of the Dying Earth, edited by Gardner Dozois and George RR Martin. I’m indebted to them for allowing this to happen, as well as indebted to the US/UK publishers for giving their approval.

How alternate is this version? It contains an additional main character and additional story thread, as well as a modified ending.

In addition, Ann will be providing an afterword that’s a tell-all about our work together and genius designer John Coulthart will be designing the cover and interior. (Drool.)

More info after the cut.


“Up, up, up came the Nose of Memory in all of its headless glory, rising and rising until it lay lolling over the sides of the dais, squat and grey and placid, about the size of a worry dog and wearing the bell jar as an awkward, teetering hat. It smelled in an unsatisfactory way of milk and herbs and brine.”

The Wizard Sarnod has lived in isolation on an island in the middle of a lake for centuries. But one day, the Nose of Memory arrives to destroy his calm by dredging up the past, and he must send three of his familiars to the subterranean Underhinds on a quest to find two people, long banished: his brother and a former lover. In the Underhinds, they will encounter living dirigibles, fire dragons, the Bloat Toad, unimaginable perils, and long-buried secrets.

Who are Sarnod’s Seekers?

Whisper Bird: “The life of Whisper Bird had a poetry to it beyond Sarnod’s ken, the poetry of silence. Whisper Bird lived invisible and remote, Sarnod’s conversation with him ever terse yet ethereal.”

Grod: “Round and fleshy, hairy and squat, a misshapen node atop two monstrous legs, he had four brawny arms and a face like a burlesque of a boar. His skin had the texture of battle armor. He kept his brain behind the iron bowl of his prodigious stomach. The huge hole in the top of his head, from which issued a kind of simmering flame and the constant smell of hot coals.”

T’sais Prime: “Her pale, dark-haired presence both loosened the hook in his heart and sent it mercilessly deep. Arms folded, she stared down at the dais with a blank look. T’sais Prime was the reflection of a woman created in the vats from prophecies and rumors brought from far-distant Embelyon.”

Based on Jack Vance’s Dying Earth series, “The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod” is a longer and very different version of a story published in the Dozois-Martin edited Songs from the Dying Earth.



  1. Ennis Drake says

    I want one. Do you think you will end up with any copies, so I can have it signed?

  2. Bill says

    Looking forward to meeting you and Ann at Capclave.

    According to the WSFA Press committee, all 500 will be signed and numbered. There are a few of the Harry Turtledove “Reincarnations” still remaining from the 2009 Capclave.

  3. Patton says

    Ack! I really enjoyed “The Final Quest of the Wizard Sarnod” — heck, I enjoyed everything in that anthology. So, now I’ve go another thing to try and remember to do… ordering after Capclave, that is.

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