'Stormlight Archive' Book 4 Progress Update Released By Author Brandon Sanderson

Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson offered a progress and release date update for Book 4 in the Stormlight Archive series, tentatively titled The Rhythm of War.

"I just passed the 50 percent mark! The book is looking good so far." Sanderson wrote on the Stormlight Archive subreddit. "I'm still hoping for a Christmas 2020 release."

Set on the warring planet of Roshar, the Stormlight Archive includes the complex worldbuilding and magic systems that have become a Sanderson signature. Begun in 2010's The Way of Kings, Sanderson has ten novels planned for the Stormlight Archive. A trilogy of movies is also in the works.

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"Words of Radiance," second book in Brandon Sanderson's "The Stormlight Archive" series. Tor / Michael Whelan

Sanderson is known for closely tracking his progress and providing detailed updates to fans. In this instance, he even linked to a chart breaking down his progress, which divides the Stormlight Archive Book 4 into five parts and its narrating viewpoint characters into three clusters.

Sanderson confirmed that the "first chunk" is now with Moshe Feder, his editor at publisher Tor.

In case you missed it last night, the #Stormlight 4 progress bar on my website hit 50%! I wrote another update post for Reddit which you can read here: https://t.co/ZtLskaTZai pic.twitter.com/WmmEyVt9eM

— Brandon Sanderson (@BrandSanderson) August 27, 2019

"This book, as I've said before, starts with all the characters together — then splits into three groups of viewpoints," Sanderson describes. "The first group is the largest, and the most involved, with five viewpoints characters. Two of these, however, will have only a few viewpoints (and one might just appear in other viewpoints, save for an interlude.) Really, this is the story of three characters, and forms the core arc of the book."

The "viewpoint cluster" Sanderson just finished, which brought him to 50 percent progress, includes two characters in a "very involved" but "narrowly focused" plot. The next task before him is the first group, what he anticipates being the hardest part of Book 4 to write.

"This should take me a few more months," Sanderson said in the update.

"This post WILL have Oathbringer spoilers, and slight spoilers for Book Four," Sanderson warned readers at the top of the update, before delving into two possible viewpoint characters for the upcoming Book 4: warrior sisters Venli and Eshonai. While Eshonai was confirmed dead in Oathbringer — Book 3 in the series — flashbacks will play an important role in The Rhythm of War.

"I'm excited to write more Eshonai, but there's a real chance that the viewpoints will feel like fluff, as Venli is the one who knew the secrets happening behind the scenes among the Listeners at the time," Sanderson said, referencing the natives of the Shattered Plains, the primary location of the first book in The Way of Kings. "We'll see how it goes. I haven't written the flashbacks yet, so we'll need to see about them as I write."

In response to Reddit comments, Sanderson even entertained the idea of writing a separate Eshonai novella, or including flashbacks from both Eshonai and Venli in Book 4. Regardless of whether flashbacks to Eshonai are included in the next Stormlight Archive, Venli will remain a perspective character — Sanderson shared an excerpt from a Venli chapter with Tor.com at San Diego Comic-Con in July.

While Sanderson said he was still working toward a Christmas 2020 release date for The Rhythm of War, he also acknowledged setbacks, including a trip that left him about 30,000 words behind (Book 4 is expected to total around 400,000 words). But even with an upcoming book tour to France and Israel, Sanderson says "the goal is still to try to finish by January."

Should he not hit the January completion target, Sanderson says the Stormlight Archive Book 4 will slide back to a spring 2021 release date. "I will take the time to make the book great, and if it comes down to delaying the book or releasing a novel that isn't ready, we WILL delay."