Home > Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive #4)

Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive #4)
Author: Brandon Sanderson


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For Isaac Stewart,

Who paints my imagination.





I am proud to present to you Rhythm of War, Book Four of the Stormlight Archive. It’s been ten years now since I began this series, and it has been an increasingly satisfying experience to see the story grow and fulfill the vision I’ve had for it all these years. In particular, one scene at the end of this book is among the very first I ever imagined for the series, over twenty years ago!

We are approaching the last book of this sequence of the Stormlight Archive. (I imagine the series as two sets of five books, with two major arcs.) Thank you for sticking with me all these years! My goal is to keep delivering these in a timely manner. And as always, deadlines for this one were tight, and a lot of people put in a lot of hours to bring it to pass. This list will be a little long, but each and every one of them deserves to be commended for their efforts.

At Tor Books, my primary editor on this novel was Devi Pillai, and she was tireless, punctual, and a wonderful advocate for the Stormlight Archive. This is my first Cosmere book that wasn’t done with my longtime editor Moshe Feder, who still deserves a great deal of thanks for shepherding this series during its early years. But I want to give a special thanks to Devi for helping make this transition smooth and easy.

As always, thanks go to Tom Doherty, who gave me my first chance in publishing. Devi and Tom’s team at Tor who worked on this book with us include Rachel Bass, Peter Lutjen, Rafal Gibek, and Heather Saunders.

At Gollancz, my UK publisher, I want to give special thanks to Gillian Redfearn who provides editorial support through the entire process, and who also works very hard to make the books look great.

Our copyeditor was the always-great Terry McGarry, and joining us for the first time as a line editor was Kristina Kugler. I’ve wanted to work with Kristina for a long time on a Cosmere book, and she did an excellent job with this one.

For the audio book, Steve Wagner was our producer. And returning to the series are the excellent Michael Kramer and Kate Reading, the best audio narrators in the world. They have my hearty thanks for continuing to humor us by taking on these fifty-plus-hour beasts of an epic fantasy series.

My primary agent for this book was JABberwocky Literary Agency, with Joshua Bilmes at the helm. Assisting him were Susan Velazquez, Karen Bourne, and Valentina Sainato. Our UK agent is John Berlyne at the Zeno Literary Agency. I continue to be grateful for their work and advocacy on my behalf.

At my own company, Dragonsteel Entertainment, we have my wonderful wife Emily Sanderson as our manager. The Ineffable Peter Ahlstrom is our vice president and editorial director, and Isaac Stewart is our Art Director. Normally I do something silly with his name, but considering that this book is dedicated to him, I figured I’d let him off this time. Isaac not only is the one who creates our beautiful maps, but is the person who introduced me to my wife. (On a blind date, no less.) So if you ever get a chance to meet him, have him sign your copy of this book, and be sure to swap stories with him about your favorite LEGO sets.

Also at Dragonsteel Entertainment are Karen Ahlstrom, our continuity editor, and Kara Stewart, our warehouse manager and CFO. Adam Horne is my in-house publicist, personal assistant, and all around “I can do that” guy who gets things done. Our other store employees include Kathleen Dorsey Sanderson, Emily “Mem” Grange, Lex Willhite, and Michael Bateman. They’re the ones who get you your T-shirts, posters, and signed books. Their assistants, the “mini minions” of our team, include: Jacob, Hazel, Isabel, Matthew, Audrey, Tori, and Joe. Additionally, thanks to all those who volunteer, especially to the always awesome Christi Jacobson.

The artists who contributed to Rhythm of War braved not only pandemic and tragedy during the completion of the art, some even braved literal storms to deliver it. I’m in awe of their talent and commitment, and to all of them I not only give my heartfelt thanks, but I also wish them peace through the turbulent times they’ve faced.

One of the highlights of my career is getting to work with Michael Whelan. I’m humbled that he is so supportive of the books that he sets aside personal projects for a time to create the beautiful paintings he’s done for the series. I would have been grateful for just one of his cover illustrations, so I feel incredibly lucky that he continues to work his magic for Rhythm of War, producing what I think is the best Stormlight cover so far. It’s without a doubt a masterpiece, and I am in awe of it.

In Oathbringer, we printed portraits of the Heralds on the front and back endpapers, and we continue that tradition here. Early in the writing process for this book, we commissioned the remaining six Heralds, knowing that two of them would have to be saved for a future book. Each artist stepped up to the task and provided masterpieces. Donato’s Herald Talenelat is careworn yet triumphant, and I’m thrilled to have his beautiful vision of this character. Miranda Meeks is no stranger to the Stormlight Archive—we love getting to work with her any chance we have—and her Herald Battah is regal and mysterious. Karla Ortiz, whose work I’ve been a fan of for some time, has given us glorious and nigh-on-perfect visions of Heralds Chanaranach and Nalan. Lastly, Magali Villeneuve’s Heralds Pailiah and Kelek are stunning and wonderful. Howard Lyon collaborated with her to paint amazing oil versions of these last two, which will eventually be displayed with the others.

Dan dos Santos is a living legend and a good friend. He brings his signature style to the fashion plates in this volume, tackling the difficult challenge of portraying the singers as alien but also in a way that readers can identify with them emotionally. I think he’s done a fantastic job walking that line.

Ben McSweeney joined the Dragonsteel team full time this year, and the book showcases some of his best art. Shallan’s spren pages especially continue to help fill out the visual aesthetic of Roshar. I love how Ben’s piece detailing Urithiru’s atrium helps convey the immensity of the city; special thanks here to Alex Schneider, who consulted on some of the architectural layout.

A great big thanks to Kelley Harris, a core member of our Stormlight team who always brings Navani’s notebook pages to life with an impeccable design sense that reminds me of Alphonse Mucha’s product designs from the early twentieth century.

Additionally, many artists and others helped behind the scenes on this book and deserve a huge thank-you: Miranda Meeks, Howard Lyon, Shawn Boyles, Cori Boyles, Jacob, Isabel, Rachel, Sophie, and Hayley Lazo.

We had a few very important subject experts help us with this book. Shad “Shadiversity” Brooks was our primary historical martial arts consultant. Carl Fisk also lent us some of his expertise in this area—though if I got something wrong, it’s not their fault. It’s almost assuredly something I either didn’t show them on time, or forgot to change.

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