news Fantasy author Janny Wurts has announced that the final volume in her epic series The Wars of Light and Shadow, Song of the Mysteries, will be published on 28 May this year.
Wurts has been known as a skilled fantasy writer since the publication of her fantasy debut Sorcerer’s Legacy back in 1982, and the American author achieved widespread public attention with her beloved Empire Trilogy, written alongside Raymond E. Feist as part of his Riftwar Cycle.
However, it was through the publication of 1993’s Curse of the Mistwraith and the nine follow-up volumes that gradually followed it that Wurts truly established herself as one of the all-time fantasy greats, taking her place alongside Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin and Robin Hobb, all of whom were contemporary authors with Wurts.
The series tells the story of Lysaer and Arithon, two half brothers who are sent through a portal to the world of their ancestors.
Lysaer, a blonde and charismatic hero figure, wields the hereditary power of light mentioned in the series’ title, while his half brother Arithon is a much more enigmatic figure with his strength based in shadow.
Through nefarious influence, the two brothers fall into enmity, and it is their struggle that comes to define their relationship, and the nature of the world around them itself.
The series has achieved high praise globally, but fans have been a long time between drinks. The tenth volume in the Wars of Light and Shadow was published in September 2017. Like Jordan and Martin before her, Wurts (now 70 years of age) appears to have struggled to tie the series’ many, complex threads together into a satisfying finale.
However, that time has now come.
In a post on X on 7 February, Wurs noted that the first author copy had been printed. Song of the Mysteries is available for pre-order on Amazon for release on 28 May this year.
“I have survived hell and high water to see this day,” Wurts wrote.
The Wars of Light and Shadow — more commonly called “the Mistwraith series” — is not an easy read for the inexperienced fantasy reader.
It’s a dense series with a limited number of characters, and Wurts’ prose can be quite wordy. If you’re looking to get into her writing, I would recommend that you instead start with the more straightforward Empire series, or even the Cycle of Fire trilogy that Wurts kicked off in 1984 with Stormwarden.
However, for those more experienced epic fantasy readers, the release of Song of the Mysteries will come as an extremely rare treat.
Wurts’ series has all the depth and grandeur of Jordan’s masterwork The Wheel of Time, along with the intimate character arcs that her compatriot writer Robin Hobb is known for. While it can be a struggle at times to make your way through the books, The Wars of Light and Shadow is far more approachable than say, Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen and less tortured than Bakker’s The Second Apocalypse.
And in my experience, there is no series with as much reader payoff at the end of each major Arc in the series. I recall finishing 2017’s Destiny’s Conflict and just being absolutely stunned by events in the culmination of that phase of Wurts’ plot and character development.
Truly, The Wars of Light and Shadow is one of the greatest epic fantasy series of all time. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into Song of the Mysteries.