Lizard Brain is a shared blog about Science Fiction and Fantasy from Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

Launching The King’s Blood

by Daniel Abraham


EDIT: Well, as always, it’s a little more complex than I’d thought.  King’s Blood is out today in the UK.  The US, a little less certain.  Let’s call this one Real Soon Now and celebrate accuracy over precision.


Well, it looks like The King’s Blood:  Book Two of The Dagger and the Coin is out in the UK tomorrow and in the US the day after that.  This is that nervous part where I’m right on the edge of the diving board.  By about this time next week, I’ll have the first week sales figures, a handful of the first reviews, and a better idea of whether the project’s taking wing.

On sale . . . holy crap, now? You mean like now now? Okay. Now.

I started working on The Dagger and the Coin pretty quickly after I finished the Long Price Quartet books, but I didn’t just sit down and start pounding out words.  I spent a lot of time talking to my friends and colleagues here in New Mexico about what epic fantasy is, what it’s strengths are, and how to engage with them.  I had a day-long meeting up at Melinda Snodgrass’ place with folks like Ian Tregillis, S. M. Stirling, Walter Jon Williams, George RR Martin, and Ty Franck where we pretty much sat around and chewed over what these projects are.  Then I had a massive plotbreaking session at my place with some of those folks and also Carrie Vaughn which was especially remarkable in that the house was struck by lightning in the middle of it.  On the up side, no one died.

The Dagger and the Coin was and is a difficult and rewarding project for me, because I’m trying something really difficult.  When I wrote The Long Price Quartet, I wanted to do something really original.  Something that I hadn’t ever seen in the genre.  Or anywhere else, really.  I’m very pleased with how it came out, and the folks who actually managed to track down a copy of Price of Spring and read the quartet all the way to the end have tended to be very positive about it.  (For those of y’all that haven’t, Tor will be printing up an omnibus trade paper edition later in the year, so Price of Spring is about to be a lot more available than it has been before.)  The Dagger and the Coin wasn’t about striking out for new territory.  It was about taking something familiar and making it feel new, and I took my lessons from Babylon 5.

I am a massive Babylon 5 fan, and two things I admire the most about that series were that it knew it’s own structure — if you finish the series and then go back and watch the pilot episode, almost everything that plays out over the next five years is laid out right there at the beginning — and that it took whatever it thought was cool and stole it, and most of the time, it didn’t even bother to scrape off the VIN number.  Psicops from The Demolished Man?  Cool, and what’s more, name the main guy Bester.  The evil place where a character falls into a pit and is reborn more powerful than before?  Well, Gandalf fell into Khazad-dum.  How about we drop Sheridan into a pit on Z’ha’dum.  Sounds almost the same.  I had never seen anyone steal so blatantly or so successfully.  Yes, okay, some of the scripts weren’t great, and some of the acting was among the most painful ever put to film, and you pretty much need to get through the whole first season tipsy and fast in order to stand the worst of it.  When I got to the end, I felt satisfied.

I was talking with Ty the other day about a short story we’re working on, and what he said was that those moments of satisfaction, of coming to the end of something and feeling that what you’ve just been through meant something, that it have you what you were looking for from it, is the gold we’re mining for when we do this.  I managed with the Long Price books.  I hope I will with The Dagger and the Coin.    I like how it’s going so far.  I’ve done what Babylon 5 did and taken things I thought were cool, even though my list was a little different.  I took Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen and Walter Tevis’ The Queen’s Gambit and Tim Park’s Medici Money and Macbeth and Firefly and Babylon 5.  I got my magic system from Joseph Gobbels and Karl Rove.  I put in the players from Hamlet.  I put in Torve the Trog in different drag from Panshin’s.  I made a whole range of exotic races and a world with the bones of dragons and great cities and strange ruins.  I put in people had no reason to like and made them likable.  I put in violence and sorrow and adventure and sex.

I’m finishing up the third book in the series right now, so the things that happen in The King’s Blood, I’m seeing bear fruit.  And I hope, hope, hope that people enjoy this.  Because I’m having a blast.

So if you’re interested, come check out what I’ve got so far.  If you haven’t gotten it yet, there’s The Dragon’s Path ( amazon | BN | indiebound) and The King’s Blood ( amazon | BN | indiebound ).  Also the first omnibus of the Long Price Quartet’s out ( amazon  | BN | indiebound ), and the second one’s coming.

And then, because you’re on a roll:

Medici Money ( amazon | BN | indiebound )

The Diary of a Man in Despair ( amazon | indiebound )

The Queen’s Gambit ( amazon | BN | indiebound )

You can thank me later.

27 Responses »

  1. It’s coming out tomorrow? I thought it was supposed to be May 22 – I will be SO excited, if it downloads to my Nook tomorrow.

  2. I got the email saying my pre-order delivery date had changed to the 8th, which is basically shipping the 4th. The Kindle edition still says 22nd. With Dragon’s Path, the paper copy arrived two weeks early and the e-book appeared on the original publication date.

    Of course, now I’m tempted to run out to B&N when they open on Friday and see if I can buy it before my other order ships so I can read it over the weekend.

    • I’m going to have to do that. I can always donate the paper copy to the local library.

      I cannot stand the possibility of knowing that the book is *there* and me not reading it. Plus, the temptation of spoilers on the Westeros Lit forum…

      Well, we’ll see when the Nook version downloads, and go from there 🙂 (like, directly to the brick and mortar B&N, if it’s not there…)

  3. The “slipping” of release dates on Amazon is a bad joke at this point.

    As for me, still reading Dragon’s Path (as Daniel may have seen). So I have some time any which way before worrying when KB comes out.

  4. My copy arrived from Amazon UK last Saturday. Been too busy to start it yet though:(

  5. Well, I have it in my hot little hands since Wednesday, thanks to – yes that evil Amazon that let some scores of Dances with Dragons fly off four weeks too early. They still deliver the moment they get the books and don’t store them until the release date for preorders. I sorta like that politics. 😉

  6. I was pleasantly surprised to see it avialable on kindle in the UK on Thursday so snapped up a copy. It’s at the top of the “to read next” pile.

    It’s good to know others love how well structured Babylon 5 was. I often wish JMS would be given exec producer roles on shows like Battlestar Galactica and Lost as he could have reined in some of their obvious “winging it” moments. It still seems like an insane way to try and do TV though.

    In terms of your plotting did you have a book number in mind or more a list of key story beats that you could expand/condense depending on how many books you are allowed for the series. I’m assuming here, that sales will determine how many books they’d like in which case I’m guessing there’s a bit of juggling to be done. Maybe the publishing world isn’t that different from TV.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into it and seeing what the characters get up to this time.

  7. There was nothing more frustrating than having this book in my hands and then realizing that I needed to go back and read the last 100 pages of Dragon’s Path in order to remember what was going on.

    But then that was a fun way to spend an evening because I remembered how much I enjoy these books.

  8. Any news on the audiobook? Audible nor amazon list it.

    • I think it’s coming out later in the year – probably winter? (Dragon’s Path audio came out months later than the book did.)

  9. Read The Dragon’s Path last week – loved it. My copy of The King’s Blood came in mail Tuesday and I finished reading today (Thursday). When will The Poisoned Sword be available??? You can’t write these fast enough!!!

  10. So that part in The Dragon’s Path where I said, “Why hello Mr Morden” I was not imagining things? 🙂

    I just wanted to let you know that I had to go to THREE bookstores today to find this book. My indies let me down, B&N to the rescue. But buy it I did.

  11. Oh damn, and I still not finished with Erikson’s last doorstop. But Daniel, you take priority. Just ordered this on Amazon. I hope Erikson doesn’t find out and drop a book on me.

  12. Okay…Medici Money. Epic score. I cannot WAIT to read that.

    Oh…and KB too, of course. 😀

    You’re building something truly remarkable here, sir. Keep it up.

  13. I am quite enjoying King’s Blood. About 40% of the way in, and there is not a single wasted POV chapter, and as usual, your characterization is great. I’m excited to see how the Spider Priests continue to manipulate Geder and how the Medean Bank fits into it

    And as soon as I finish this, I have all of the Long Price Quartet downloaded to my Nook and am excited to read that!

  14. I have my exams in 10 day and the only thing I look forward to amidst my 24/7 studying is the daily 100 pages of The Dagger and The Coin I read every morning and night. I just finished with The Dragon’s Path, and the only inconvenience I think of in this series is that I have to wait to read the next book. This is the second unfinished series (ASOIAF is the first) I started reading, and I do not regret it at all. When will The Spider’s War/The Poisoned Sword be available?

  15. Just finished The Dragon’s Path on audio. I spend so much time commuting these days that I always look for audio copies of books first. I’m disappointed to hear that The King’s Blood in audio will be delayed, but I’ll be waiting eagerly for it when it arrives! Very promising start to a series.

  16. I just finished “The King’s Blood” and am desperate to know when the next book will be out. I was lucky to be introduced to your writing when all four books in “The Long Price Quartet” were already out. Reading your books is an addictive pleasure that does not handle withdrawal very well.

    • The Tyrant’s Law is more or less finished. The editorial changes are done, the sample chapter of the next book is sent off. All that’s left is copyediting, production, and shipping. Which should put it out in late spring. I am a man on many typos. :\

      • I can’t wait! Thank you for writing great stories. I always say, “A good book makes everything better”. Not just the moment – but the person, too. I think reading keeps me sane in this crazy, busy life. You have great talent, keep it coming 🙂

      • Great series thus far! I read the first two within the last 2 weeks amid a fulltime job & parenting 2 teens. Looking forward to Tyrant’s Law soon. Hated to leave these characters, very intrigued (even though I HATE spiders 😉

  17. Can’t wait for the next book!

    I started reading The Dragon’s Path because our group on Goodreads picked it to read as September’s Epic Fantasy group discussion. I am very glad it was picked!

    I finished it off and quickly got The King’s Blood and loved that one just as much!

  18. When will The Kings blood be available on Or will it? I hope it will!