Tad Williams biography and books reviewed

Tad Williams has held more jobs than any sane person should admit to—singing in a band, selling shoes, managing a financial institution, throwing newspapers, and designing military manuals, to name just a few. He also hosted a syndicated radio show for ten years, worked in theater and television production, taught both grade-school and college classes, and worked in multimedia for a major computer firm. He is cofounder of an interactive television company, and is currently writing comic books and film and television scripts as well as novels.

Tad and his wife, Deborah Beale, live in the San Francisco Bay Area with their children and far more cats, dogs, turtles, pet ants and banana slugs than they can count.

"I am deliriously grateful every day that I get to do what I want to do for a living. Whenever the pressures of work and life start to make me cranky, I just remind myself of managing the art store next to the freeway (the owner was Basil Fawlty without Basil's good qualities, i.e. wit)"

Tad Williams reviews

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlepig by Tad Williams

Bobby Dollar, Advocate Angel and perpetual thorn in the side of Heaven, is about to save the holidays for a very special someone. Or somewolf. Or maybe even some pig... Bobby is summoned on Christmas Eve to do his part in the heavenly judgement of a man who is not prepared to go lightly. You see, the family of the gentleman in question are victims of Nazi war crimes, and the crimes are still occurring — in fact, the worst is yet to come. With special dispensation from an Angelic Judge named Ambriel, Bobby Dollar has until Christmas Morning to right some serious wrongs and bring some justice (and a little seasonal cheer) into a rotten world...

"For such a short story this was a really fun romp that not only didn’t feel rushed, but even managed to include the humour that would be needed in a story that is full of death and sins of the past. I particularly liked the way that there was even a mini miracle tucked in there for one lucky character. I would recommend that people put off by the epic nature of some of Tad Williams’ work should check out his short stories - once you do, you will want to immerse yourself fully in the larger worlds he creates."

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The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams

The world was nearly destroyed, but now knows hope again. At the end of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Ineluki the Storm King, an undead spirit of horrifying, demonic power, came within moments of stopping Time itself and obliterating humankind. He was defeated by a coalition of mortal men and women joined by his own deathless descendants, the Sithi. In the wake of the Storm King's fall, Ineluki's loyal minions, the Norns, retreat north to Nakkiga, an ancient citadel which holds a priceless artefact known as The Heart of What Was Lost. They are pursued by the army of Duke Isgrimnur who is determined to wipe out the Norns for all time. The two armies will soon clash in a battle so strange and deadly, so wracked with dark enchant­ment, that it threatens to destroy not just one side but quite possibly all.

"I was a little frustrated at times at the stubbornness and dim-wittedness of the men in the story – perpetually unwilling and unable to understand or comprehend what was being told to them. I also walked away almost entirely siding with the Norns, the Hikeda’ya. Stupid humans! Regardless of my anti-human tendencies, however, The Heart of What Was Lost is a great read for fans of Tad Williams and newcomers alike."

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The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams

Sure, he takes the occasional trip to Heaven, but his job as an advocate - arguing the fate of the recently deceased - keeps him pretty busy on Earth, and he's more than happy to spend the rest of his time propping up the bar with his fellow immortals. Until the day a soul goes missing, presumed stolen by 'the other side'. A new chapter in the war between heaven and hell is about to open. And Bobby is right in the middle of it, with only a desirable but deadly demon to aid him.

"Tad Williams has made his urban fantasy come alive with characters who are well-rounded with reason and direction, resplendent with a rich history and back story."

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Happy Hour in Hell by Tad Williams

Bobby Dollar has a problem or four of epic proportions. Problem one: his best friend Sam has given him an angel's feather that also happens to be evidence of an unholy pact between Bobby's employers and those who dwell in the infernal depths. Problem two: Eligor, Grand Duke of Hell, wants to get his claws on the feather at all costs, but particularly at all cost to Bobby . Problem three: Bobby has fallen in love with Casimira, Countess of Cold Hands, who just happens to be Eligor's girlfriend. Problem four: Eligor, aware of Problem three, has whisked Casimira off to the Bottomless Pit itself, telling Bobby he will never see her again unless he hands over the feather. But Bobby, long-time veteran of the endless war between above and below, is not the type of guy who finds Hell intimidating. All he has to do is toss on a demon's body, sneak through the infernal gates, solve the mystery of the angel's feather, and rescue the girl. Saving the day should just be a matter of an eon or two of anguish, mutilation and horror. If only it were that easy.

"The imagery of the different levels of Hell as Bobby traverse through them is sublime, not just descriptive but immersive. You can really see the path and world around you as you walk with Bobby. Williams has given us a place of texture and realism that resembles Dante's. A nice touch is the additional commentary surrounding Hell's geography and its reason for being, provided to Bobby at certain junctions by his Hell sponsor, which helps him survive Hell's infernal extremes. This helped anchor the reader to both the place and Bobby."

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Sleeping Late on Judgement Day by Tad Williams

Bobby Dollar thinks he's seen it all - after all, he's been to Hell and back again. Literally. But he has another think coming. Sleeping Late on Judgement Day will find Bobby back in his adopted hometown of San Judas, California, trying to stay out of trouble... and failing. His love life is still a mess, there are one too many people who have it out for him, and drowning his sorrows in a nice glass of whisky won't keep the demons at bay forever. Bobby's going to have to pull himself together and make a few tough decisions before time runs out. The problem is, time could run out at any moment. In the final Bobby Dollar novel in Tad Williams' groundbreaking epic fantasy trilogy, fallen angel Bobby Dollar will finally be force to confront the one problem he can't talk his way out of: his own.

"The final book in this Bobby Dollar series doesn’t disappoint (well not much). It is a nice conclusion to this particular storyline and I hope there is more to come as there is still so much still waiting to be answered."

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The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams

Thirty years ago Ineluki, the Storm King, was destroyed and his armies scattered. Osten Ard has been at peace ever since, ruled by Simon Snowlock, kitchen boy made king, and Miriamele, King Elias' only child. But now age weighs upon their reign. Simon's dreams have deserted him, old allies die and betrayal and assassination threaten. His son and heir John Josua is years dead and his grandson, Morgan, is a wastrel. A journey of redemption and discovery beckons in the darkening world.

And in the frozen North, in Nakkiga, the mountain fortress, Ineluki's ally, the Norn Queen, wakes from her deep, decades-long sleep and tells her followers that she will sleep no more. Humanity must be destroyed. Her sorcerers will bring a demon back from death, her warriors will seek the world for living dragon's blood...

And finally the greatest artefact of all, the Witchwood Crown, will be hers.

"It’s a book driven by cultural clashes and racial wars. The world is stark and grey, and I’m not entirely sure who to root for. It’s highly compelling fantasy, go read it! " Sean Barrs, Fantasy Book Review

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Empire of Grass by Tad Williams

The kingdoms of Osten Ard have been at peace for decades, but now, the threat of a new war grows to nightmarish proportions.

Simon and Miriamele, royal husband and wife, face danger from every side. Their allies in Hernystir have made a pact with the dreadful Queen of the Norns to allow her armies to cross into mortal lands. The ancient, powerful nation of Nabban is on the verge of bloody civil war, and the fierce nomads of the Thrithings grasslands have begun to mobilize, united by superstitious fervor and their age-old hatred of the city-dwellers. But as the countries and peoples of the High Ward bicker among themselves, battle, bloodshed, and dark magics threaten to pull civilizations to pieces. And over it all looms the mystery of the Witchwood Crown, the deadly puzzle that Simon, Miriamele, and their allies must solve if they wish to survive.

But as the kingdoms of Osten Ard are torn apart by fear and greed, a few individuals will fight for their own lives and destinies—not yet aware that the survival of everything depends on them.

"Empire of Grass continues the epic story set in the massive world of Osten Ard. It’s fantasy at its finest because it is layered with so much history and lore. This is a world so detailed it could be real."

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The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

Epic, traditional fantasy of a high standard. At nearly 800 pages it is excellently paced and brings together all the elements that are found in many a fantasy book and re-produces them in a beautiful and endearing way.

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The Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams

There is loss, sorrow and death; but there is hope and bounds forged. Debts will be paid, what is old will pass and what is new will rise. I give The Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams 8.8 out of 10.

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To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams

Read, be engaged and enveloped in a world struggling to survive. We can only feel pity for those consumed by sadness and hatred, but we fight and strive to live and love.

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The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams

Tyler and Lucinda have to spend summer with their Uncle Gideon, a farmer. They soon discover that Ordinary Farm is well, no ordinary farm. The bellowing in the barn comes not from a cow but from a dragon. The thundering herd in the valley? Unicorns. Uncle Gideon's farmhouse never looks the same time. Plus, there's a flying monkey, a demon squirrel, and farmhands with strange powers. When darker secrets surface will Lucinda and Tyler be able to save the dragons, the farm – and themselves?

"I would recommend The Dragons of Ordinary Farm to younger readers but stress that if they, like me, find the beginning a little slow and difficult to get into, don't give up - it really does get much, much better and could shape up to be a delightful little series."

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The Very Best of Tad Williams by Tad Williams

Within these pages you will find such delightful and curious things as a strange storytelling vampire, two woefully-overmatched angels, a dragon in cahoots with a knight and a witch, an ineptly duplicitous fish, the loyal robot butler of Werner Von Secondstage Booster, and the Greatest Wizard of All (disputed). From his epic fantasy series, including Memory Sorrow and Thorn--which George R. R. Martin cited as an inspiration for Game of Thrones--to the classic novel Tailchaser's Song, Tad Williams has mastered every genre he has set his pen to. Here are the stories that showcase the exhilarating breadth of Williams' imagination, hearkening back to such classic fantasists as J. R. R. Tolkien, Ray Bradbury, Peter S. Beagle, and beyond. Whether you are a devoted reader of his longer works, already a devotee of his short fiction, or even new to his writing entirely, The Very Best of Tad Williams is the perfect place to discover one of the most talented and versatile authors writing at any length today.

"There are a lot of stories contained in this selection and as shown above very different in terms of subject as well as style. Hopefully if you choose to read this collection you will be able to find your own favourite stories, if you do I hope that you want to share the collection with other people as well." Michelle Herbert, Fantasy Book Review

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Shadowmarch by Tad Williams

This is the first of 4 books in the Shadowmarch Trilogy (The 3rd book was split into 2). Like all Tad Williams books, this is multi-thread as well as character. In this world, the northern continent seems almost medieval in context, whilst the southern continent, is more like the Persian Empire. With both stories there are similarities such as the different pantheons of gods. There are also the Qar who are known as the Twilight People who once lived in the whole of the northern continent who now live beyond the Shadowline.

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Shadowplay by Tad Williams

This book is based around journeys: Briony Eddon is now on the run from Southmarch with no way of knowing where to go or how to solve her problems, but this is a good thing as she also has to grow up and experience the world as others do rather than the princess regent. Barrick Eddon is behind the Shadowline with Ferras Vansen on a journey of discovery, although he doesn’t grow in character as much as Briony both characters are less annoying as they are thrown into action that they would never have previously experienced. Qinnitan is also on the run from Xand and arrives in Hierosol only to meet Olin Eddon, who is being held prisoner there and we start to understand how she could be important as well as connected to the Eddon’s.

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Shadowrise by Tad Williams

This is an epic story which has many twists and turns, which put the characters in peril time and time again and yet is so gripping you have to continue reading just to know if they will survive. We learn more about the treachery that has been so well orchestrated by different sides that it is still affecting the lives of other characters who may not have been directly involved in the first place.

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Shadowheart by Tad Williams

Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defenders, Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives. And now, something is awakening underneath Southmarch Castle, something powerful and terrible that the world has not seen for thousands of years. Can Barrick and Briony, along with a tiny handful of allies, ordinary and extraordinary, find a way to save their world and prevent the rise of a terrible new age-an age of unending darkness? 

"The Shadowmarch Quartet, from Shadowmarch through to Shadowheart, is a must read fantasy series and although I would love to mention more about what happens in it I would only ruin your own enjoyment of it… I cannot recommend these books highly enough."

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