• Empire of Grass

  • Last King of Osten Ard, Book 2
  • By: Tad Williams
  • Narrated by: Andrew Wincott
  • Length: 36 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (427 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Set in Williams' New York Times best-selling fantasy world, the second audiobook of the Last King of Osten Ard returns to the trials of King Simon and Queen Miriamele as threats to their kingdom loom....

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.

©2019 Tad Williams (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Tad Williams is a master storyteller, and the Osten Ard books are his masterpiece. Williams’ return to Osten Ard is every bit as compelling, deep, and fully-rendered as the first trilogy, and he continues to write with the experience and polish of an author at the top of his game." (Brandon Sanderson, New York Times best-selling author of Mistborn)
 

"Building upon the revered history of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Williams has outdone himself by penning a 700-plus page novel that is virtually un-put-down-able.... Williams’ grand-scale storytelling mastery is on full display here. Not just utterly readable - an instant fantasy classic." (Kirkus Reviews)

“Readers who delight in losing themselves in long complex tales of epic fantasy will be in their element here, and there is the promise of much more to come in future volumes.” (Locus)

What listeners say about Empire of Grass

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  • Overall
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    3 out of 5 stars

Better than the first book...

This second book in The Last King of Osten Ard manages to eventually (as in, it takes a good while) escape the constant and tedious back references to people and occurrences in Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. The petulance and bumbling that made teenage Simon so engaging and endearing in the first series just make him annoying and trifling as a middle-aged king - and that's just one example of the uninspiring handling of character development for many of the characters, both old and new.

I've been a big Tad Williams fan for decades, eagerly buying every new book he's released, and it was my love of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn that made me that way. So I was excited when I heard he was revisiting Osten Ard. But this series has been almost painful at times, and the main reason I continue listening is because I'm such a fan of his previous work.

5 people found this helpful

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As good (or better) than The Witchwood Crown

Empire of Grass was just as good as The Witchwood Crown, and has firmly cemented this series as a Top 5 all-time series for me.

Fair Warning, though: this volume is definitely the 'Empire Strikes Back' of the series. Everything that could go wrong, goes wrong for our heroes.

Morgan is lost in the forest, Eolair is captured by Thrithings men, Miriamele is in Nabban sorting through petty (and deadly) political drama, and Simon is trying (and failing) to hold his kingdom together.

On top of all of that, the Norn Queen Uttuku's evil plans are beginning to bear fruit, and the deadly immortal's attack is imminent.

There's so much going on, but every plotline was fascinating. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, despite the grimness.

This series is INCREDIBLE! Every fantasy fan should visit Osten Ard as soon as possible.

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We need the next book!!

Definitely slowed down in the middle so be prepared for quite a few chapters there nothing really happens

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loved it

amazing second part to the sequel of memory sorrow and thorn. I hate that The Navigators Children hasn't been published yet. Can't wait for his next book.

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Every Plot point feels forced

I have yet to finish the book. I am having a very hard time. The amount of sheer stupidity on so many fronts that we have to swallow in order to make this story possible make this very difficult to read. I think I will have to come back to finish this.

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Not what I was anticipating

The storyline was kind of flat. There was so much hinted at but nothing explored fully... seemed like filler. I’m hoping the third book more than makes up for this. It was some what disappointing.

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Best Writer In Fantasy

I read this the day it came out in hardcover. Now listening to it again on Audible. Another well-written epic. If you love lyrical atmospheric fantasy with great characters this is it. Wonderful tale. Wonderful. Tad Williams is the KING

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First bad rating ever for a Tad Williams book

The book starts well and spins a good tail, recapturing the original story in the new context. As may be expected when threading an old tapestry into a new one, the midpoint of the book lacks rhythm and drags.

From there, the yarn is forced into a problematic pattern until the author uses novice techniques to end the story in multiple cliffhangers in an attempt to capture the reader for the next book.

I struggled to finish the book and only managed to do do after setting it aside for three months.

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Phenomenal!!!

Tad Williams is my favorite author, next to Tolkien. His creation of Osten Ard is beyond compare. Such rich story lines and characters.
And narrated by the BEST narrator ever! His characterizations and voices are beyond anyone I have ever listened to. It will be hard to move on in other audio books with Andrew Wincott narrating.

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A Must Read

I simply cannot wait for the third installment of this amazing series. you simply must read this fantastic book!