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

The End of the Story

by Daniel Abraham

I’ve just sent in the last changes to The Spider’s War, the last book of The Dagger and the Coin. All in all, it’s about 700,000 words to finish the story I began with an apostate priest being hunted through the mountains.

I started the project with a couple of goals in mind: I wanted to understand what epic fantasy was, and I wanted to make one that scratched all my personal itches. To aim for the first, I called a meeting with some of the best minds I knew. Seven — almost eight — years ago, I went to Melinda Snodgrass’s house outside Santa Fe and spent the day with George RR Martin, Walter Jon Williams, S. M. Stirling, Ty Franck, Ian Tregillis among others talking about what fantasy is, how it works, what its history is, speculating on its future. Then a few weeks later, a group met at my house to break the whole five-book series. Some characters who I thought I wanted were left behind in that process. The arc of the whole story was put in place. Critical scenes in the third book and the fifth were talked through. And then I started writing.

The Dagger and the CoinA lot of things have happened since then. Not all of the people I began this with are still around now. The circumstances of my life have shifted, as any seven years will do. I heard once that the myth of breaking a mirror being seven years bad luck was because we get new souls every seven years. I assume that’s a metaphor, and I see what it’s a metaphor of.

I will not be spending any more time with Cithrin bel Sarcour or Marcus Wester. Yardem Hane or Master Kit. Gender Palliako. Clara Kalliam. They’ve done everything I asked them to do, and often better than I’d hoped. I’ve finished two epic fantasies now. The Long Price Quartet and The Dagger and the Coin are, for the moment at least, my argument about the nature of epic fantasy — what is fantasy and what ‘epic’ means. I don’t think I could have said when I meant more concisely. Between the two series, I have written over a million words in this genre. I feel fairly pleased with what I’ve managed.

I don’t know what else I have to say about the genre for now, but I have some new projects I’m working on. I’ve also done a five book urban fantasy series, and I’m a little over half way through The Expanse, which promises to dwarf them all. It’s all delightful.

There’s a sadness in endings, and also a joy.

The Dagger and the Coin is ended. And I am pleased to say, I think it’s ended well.

I’ll start something new tomorrow…

41 Responses »

  1. Congrats! I am looking forward to reading it. 🙂

  2. Congratulations on a triumph! My only question is “When, oh when, does this hit the shelves?”


  3. Congratulations! Can’t wait to read it.

  4. I appreciate the years of hard work and dedication you’ve placed in your epic fantasy novels. I’ve enjoyed everyone and am sad and excited to read the conclusion to this series!

  5. Congratulations! I’ve been squirreling these away since finishing The Dragon’s Path. Guess it’s time to crack them open and work my way towards the release of book five.

    Already excited!

  6. I’m glad your “new beginning” leaves such a precious inheritance (“The Dagger and the Coin”)….
    Cheers! and good luck! and thank you for amazing books that make such good company.

  7. I love this series. It’s really been phenomenal so far. Looking forward to reading your conclusion so much.

  8. Thank you for this series and thank you for sharing this news with us. You’ve really done something wonderful with the Dagger and the Coin.

  9. What a great series this has been, I’m excited for your future projects and will continue to hold out hope that you’ll grace us with more work in the epic fantasy genre some time in the future.

  10. I got hooked through a eBook bundle with Leviathan Wakes. Both series have really worked for me.

    So, thanks!

  11. Congratulations! I’ve only read The Dragon’s Path thus far, but I’m loving the ride. It’s even inspired a personal project of my own. Thank you for the inspiration.

  12. On a whim decided to check the site today. Glad to see the update on Dagger and Coin!

  13. Hooray! Been a fan since the Long Price books. Very much looking forward to this.

    (p.s. typo on Geder’s name in this post)

  14. Honestly some of the best written work I have ever read. I think all of your series are some of the best in their genres, read them all. Can’t wait to read this last one and I did breath a sigh of relief to see that the expanse series is only about half way done :).

  15. I tell everyone I think who would be interested about these books. I’m happy and sad to hear the last book will be in my hands by March. It’s been a grand adventure, thank you.

  16. in time, i suppose i’ll say goodbye to cithrin et al. but there’s a soft spot in my heart for clara. i may hold on to her for a bit!

    devouring “nemesis” as of this writing… meanwhile… i just heard… they found water on mars.

    thanks for the good words,

  17. Congrats and Thank You! This series has been an absolute pleasure to read.

  18. So glad to hear that the last book in The Dagger and the Coin series is almost ready to be released to the world! I have really enjoyed reading it and look forward to whatever else you write in the future. You are CRUSHING it with The Expanse!

  19. Daniel,
    Anything you can give us on whether The Dagger and the Coin will be headed to TV, now that Epic Fantasy is becoming en vogue?

    Both your series, Long Price and Dagger and Coin are always in my top 5 when I recommend fantasy series to people! And Expanse is crazy good!!!

  20. Congratulations! I can’t wait to devour the final book. For what it’s worth, in regards to epic fantasy, you’ve consistently been one of the best voices in the genre. Once I’ve read the last Dagger and Coin book, I might just have to go back to Long Price. I bought Tor’s pretty omnibus editions, and they’re calling to me to be cracked open :).

    Looking forward to seeing the 700,000 words pay off, and to all your future projects!

  21. Daniel, looking forward to this. On the subject of endings, is Black Sun’s Daughter complete and if yes, will MLN Hanover continue writing or is that done for now?

  22. That’s great! Your trick of including book 1 with my Expanse ebook worked like a charm. I ended up buying all of them and reading them in two months. They reminded me of David Liss’s historical adventure fiction in 19th Century high finance (if you have free time, I think you’ll find them enjoyable). You subvered expectations in the book, how often is it that one army with a dragon fights another army without a dragon and loses? I like the really interesting choices at key points, that challenged you as a writer to write your way out of. The characters have been great to get to know. I daresay that I enjoyed this series even more than Expanse.

    Good luck with the Syfy series, I’m really looking forward to it. And Spider’s War, but that goes without saying.

  23. Daniel, I have greatly enjoyed the Coin and the Dagger books,and look forward to the ending and to making space on the shelves to squeeze in this last book. Not many fantasy books get permanent shelf space, it being at a premium, and even though all my shelves are devoted to fantasy, from the nineteenth through the 20th century and on. Modern firsts include Dunsany, Hodgson, Tolkein, Eddison, Peake, LeGuin, Holdstock, Martin, and yourself. You see I’m talking literature here, not something that just hits the right genre buttons, however entertaining those can be. All these authors spent years working out a solitary and strange vision, with great depth in their characters and world detail. It’s only in recent years that the weight of a sellable genre has come to influence how writers lay out their books. The “trilogy”, which started as a publishing accident, has become a sign that you’re au courant with what sells. It’s become silly. In my own art world people sell Giclee prints, which are only inkjet reproductions of work in other media. Perfectly fine. But I remember when that term was invented, because the french word for a spray or jet had more selling power than the word inkjet. It was a loss for honesty, but worse to see artists use it who have no idea why it was invented in the first place. They think it authenticates their work somehow. I never use the term Giclee. My work stands on its own, inkjet and all. So please don’t think of writing to say something about a genre. Think about saying something about this world through a view into another world. That’s not genre, that’s literature. And it sells even without a blurb from the latest tyro. Forgive me this long, long speech. I mean it well, and thank you for Cithrin bel Sarcour and company.

    Now I guess I’ll go say something nice to GRR Martin about his brilliant extended novel that very sadly has fallen into the hands of Producers, and that is never good. A hundred years from now he will still be remembered for his first five books of Fire and Ice. The TV, the Producers view of the ending, the screenwriters character decisions… not so good, not so much. I enjoyed the first two seasons, then saw another’s hand besides the authors gaining influence for the worse. Oh well,… and i’m not even old enough yet to be called a curmudgeon! I hope Martin, a lovely man, gets it together long enough to gain control of the book that he will always be remembered for. That’s more important than the adulation at ComicCon, though I will lug all my books to have his signature when he next hits New Haven for a pizza layover!

  24. I spent the last 4 days devouring Autumn War from The Long Price Quartet. Hands down, one of the most exciting, tangible, immersive fantasies I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Price of Spring is on its way to Canada via Amazon and I cannot wait to dive in! It’s a relief knowing there’s another series written by you which I can dive into after the world of the Khaiem, Galt, Andats and Poets draws to a close. Thank you.

  25. Wow. Can really not wait for this to come out. I need to take a day off work just to make sure I can read this as soon as I can!

    Just wondering. I read an interview with you a few years ago, where you had this idea of a conman that would only blackmail/cheat you a little bit, enough for him to benefit, but not too much. I can’t seem to find it back on the net, but I remember finding that a great idea. So is this what’s up next with Dagger & the Coin finishing up, or have you not decided yet what the next project is you are going to take on (assuming the whole Syfy excitement allows for extra time of course!)

  26. I’m a big fantasy fan and this series – which I’ve read as they were released – itched at me today for a final chapter. I’ve Googled your name and arrived at your page and voila!, you have an entry about what I’ve been craving to read.

    Most importantly, I really hope that you will write additional epic fantasies. If The Long Price and The Dagger And The Coin are your argument for epic fantasy, I can only hope that you’ll feel you need to continue making the argument.

    I still remember picking up the first of the Long Price quartet and musing whether to read it because the not-so-actiony sounding premise. But something called out to me and after I read it, even though it was the least actiony book I’ve read in ages, I was blown away by the scale of your invention and the courage required to build such a world.

    Thank you, sir, for enriching my life. May you never stop writing epic fantasy.

    And one last compliment: I discovered you around the same time I discovered another best selling fantasy author. I love the other guy’s books as well, and I am somewhat of a wanna-be fantasy writer. So when I read the other’s prolific output, I feel the itch to sit down and write my own. But when I read your books, I feel humbled and realize how far I am from actually producing something decent. So my compliment may sound like I’m self-hating here, but my point is that I am so in awe of what you’ve accomplished, that I realize what a long road I have to imitate the quality of what I considered good works.

  27. Congratulations on the completion of this engrossing story. I am going to miss these characters so much. I wish Yardem had his own book! This series just kept getting better the deeper I got into it. When I started I thought fifth book was already out. Any chance it will be out before March?
    These are the first of yours that I have read, so thank you! I have so enjoyed spending time in the world you created!!

  28. Nowadays I do most of my “reading” through audiobooks (long commute, better than reading while driving!). I picked up The Dragon’s Path a couple of years ago from Audible during one of its two books for one credit offers. Well, that was smart marketing, because when I got around to listening to it, I immediately went out to buy the other Dagger and Coin books. I was disappointed when I found that the fifth book was not out yet. But of course, I ended up buying Leviathan Wakes, and am now beginning my journey through the Expanse.

    Which is a long-winded justification for my question: When will the audiobook version come out?

  29. What has SyFy done to your book! I devoured the book series because the characters were so well developed and the witty repartee throughout reminded me of the Firefly series. But none of that is there in the TV series. As much as I want to like James Holden, he seems like the real James Holden’s younger, less likable brother. The TV Amos just isn’t large enough to play the Amos in the book. And the plot is all wrong! I don’t even like the Fred Johnson character in the series. The crew doesn’t mesh like they do in the book series. It’s all wrong!

  30. Less than a day until this comes out….Any last minute teasers, e.g who is the prologue narrator? Expecting a sleep deprived night tomorrow!

  31. Well, just finished. Great ending.


    It’s pretty clear you are done with the Dagger and the Coin, as you said so a few times. What’s the story, then, with the huge loose end in the last few pages?


    Will someone write the story of Marcus and Yardem hunting for Inys? Just, not you? Or might it be a different series and you might write it? Or is the point that like history, the story never is over?

  32. Excellent end to the story. Looks like there might be room for a follow-up series though. 😉

  33. Love this series so much.
    Hope you will write and publish another Epic Fantasy stories in the future!

  34. “I will not be spending any more time with Cithrin bel Sarcour or Marcus Wester. Yardem Hane or Master Kit. “….to quote something Yardem Hane might say “doesn’t look that way Sir” 😉

  35. It’s so hard to find a fantasy series that is as engaging and fresh as this one. I just finished The Spider’s War, and was not disappointed. Every book in this series was enjoyable and I immediately would go on to the next one. So often a series has great promise but as the story goes on it isn’t as polished and falls flat at the end with a lackluster conclusion. I truly appreciate this series for the thought put into it and for maintaining the quality throughout. I’ll definitely be checking out more of your works. Keep writing!