The Complicated History of “The Kingkiller Chronicle” Series


The Kingkiller Chronicle, penned by acclaimed author Patrick Rothfuss, has left readers in a state of prolonged anticipation. With the third and final volume, “The Doors of Stone,” yet to be released, fans have embarked on a journey of patience and hope. In this article, we will delve into the intricate history of the series, exploring the reasons behind its prolonged publication and the recent developments that have given readers a glimmer of hope. Additionally, we will shed light on the transition of the series’ publisher, DAW Books, and the potential implications for “The Doors of Stone.”

A Brief Timeline of “The Doors of Stone” Publication History

Before we delve into the recent developments, it is essential to review the history of “The Kingkiller Chronicle” series. Published by DAW Books, a renowned science fiction and fantasy publisher founded by Donald A. Wollheim and Elsie B. Wollheim, the series gained a prominent place in the hearts of readers and authors.

“The Name of the Wind,” the first book in Rothfuss’ series, was introduced to the world by DAW in 2007. The series was initially conceived as a trilogy, and the author had already drafted the entire story, leading readers to expect a relatively quick succession of book releases. However, the reality deviated from these expectations.

“The Wise Man’s Fear,” the second book in the series, followed in 2011. Shortly after that, DAW acquired another fantasy trilogy from Rothfuss, hinting at the continuation of Kvothe’s tale. Rothfuss even described “The Kingkiller Chronicle” as a “million-word prologue” to Kvothe’s real story. Nevertheless, the long wait for the third book has persisted, leaving fans in suspense.

When “The Doors of Stone” Publisher Changed Hands

The publishing landscape is not without its own share of complexities, and in the case of “The Kingkiller Chronicle,” the transition of its publisher, DAW Books, has played a significant role in the series’ history. DAW, an independently owned publisher with the resources and distribution capabilities of a major publishing house, maintained a close relationship with Penguin Random House, a major publishing entity that aided in book production. The two publishers operated separately but were intertwined.

In 2021, reports began to surface regarding changes within Penguin Random House that were having repercussions on DAW’s authors. Some authors were released from their contracts as DAW underwent a renegotiation of its distribution agreement. Books were dropped from print for various reasons, including excessive length or underwhelming sales. This change, however, would not directly impact authors like Rothfuss, whose books had already sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Nevertheless, it was an important factor to consider.

Then came a pivotal moment in July 2022 when DAW Books was acquired by Astra Publishing House, a subsidiary of the Beijing-based publishing conglomerate known as Thinkingdom Media Group. Astra, established in 2020, had only been in operation for a brief period at that point, and DAW marked its first and only adult science fiction and fantasy publishing imprint in its portfolio.

While such a transition under new corporate ownership can be cause for apprehension, DAW expressed that it would continue to operate much as it had when it collaborated with Penguin Random House. The co-owners of DAW, Elizabeth R. Wollheim and Sheila E. Gilbert, conveyed their satisfaction with the acquisition, stating that they would remain the sole science fiction and fantasy imprint under Astra. They viewed this development as an exciting opportunity to be part of a growing company, attesting to Astra’s respect for their company by retaining their entire staff.

However, not all was smooth sailing. Preorders for a number of DAW titles were cancelled due to technical issues stemming from the acquisition. Preorders are crucial indicators for book releases, and this hiccup proved detrimental. It was also unusual for such an issue to transpire in the public eye.

Authors associated with DAW have voiced concerns about changes in policies and communication, with some opting to part ways with the publisher. While these issues seem to have quieted down recently, the transition was evidently not devoid of turbulence.

The Glimmer of Hope: “The Narrow Road Between Desires”

Amidst the ongoing anticipation for “The Doors of Stone,” a new development has emerged that has stirred both excitement and weariness among fans. “The Narrow Road Between Desires,” a novella set in the world of “The Kingkiller Chronicle,” is set to be released on November 14, 2023.

The announcement of this novella is indeed thrilling, but for many readers, it raises questions. Where did “The Narrow Road Between Desires” originate, and what does it mean for the long-anticipated third book, “The Doors of Stone”?

The Impact of Publisher Changes on “The Doors of Stone”

The transition of DAW Books under new ownership signifies a pivotal juncture in the trajectory of “The Kingkiller Chronicle.” Changes at the industry level can have profound implications on the production and release of a book, especially one as eagerly awaited as “The Doors of Stone.” While authors and readers may not be directly privy to the intricacies of these changes, they undoubtedly play a significant role.

It is worth noting that “The Doors of Stone” has faced a protracted delay, which many fans and observers attribute to the intricate nature of the narrative and the author’s desire to craft a fitting conclusion to the series. While patience is a virtue, the publication history of the series is not without its share of complexities.

The publisher transition brought about by the acquisition of DAW Books by Astra Publishing House has introduced an element of uncertainty. Despite assurances from DAW that they would continue their operations, the issues with preorders and author concerns signal a period of adjustment. These events have raised questions about how the transition may impact the release of “The Doors of Stone.”

While direct causality is challenging to establish, the series has already experienced a prolonged hiatus. The changes in ownership and distribution agreements can have indirect consequences, influencing production timelines, marketing strategies, and communication between the author and publisher. These factors collectively contribute to the uncertainty surrounding the release of “The Doors of Stone.”


1. What is “The Kingkiller Chronicle” series, and who is the author?

“The Kingkiller Chronicle” is a renowned fantasy series penned by author Patrick Rothfuss. The series comprises two books, “The Name of the Wind” and “The Wise Man’s Fear,” with the highly anticipated third and final volume, “The Doors of Stone,” yet to be released.

2. When was the first book in the series published?

“The Name of the Wind,” the first book in “The Kingkiller Chronicle,” was published in 2007 by DAW Books.

3. What is the premise of the series, and who is the main character?

The series follows the life of Kvothe, a magical prodigy and bard, who recounts his journey from obscurity to becoming the most famous person in the world, only to lose it all. Kvothe’s story is at the heart of the series.

4. Why has “The Doors of Stone” been highly anticipated?

“The Doors of Stone” is eagerly awaited as the third and final volume of the series, promising to provide the conclusion to Kvothe’s epic tale. Fans have been waiting for its release for an extended period.

5. What is “The Narrow Road Between Desires,” and when is it set to be released?

“The Narrow Road Between Desires” is a novella set in the world of “The Kingkiller Chronicle.” It is scheduled for release on November 14, 2023, offering readers an additional glimpse into the series’ universe.

6. How did the change in the publisher of “The Kingkiller Chronicle” impact the series?

DAW Books, the original publisher of the series, underwent a transition when it was acquired by Astra Publishing House. This change brought about adjustments in the publishing dynamics, raising questions about its potential influence on the release of “The Doors of Stone.”

7. What were the challenges associated with the publisher transition?

The transition of DAW Books under new corporate ownership introduced uncertainties, including issues with preorders and author concerns. These factors created a period of adjustment and raised questions about their impact on the release timeline.

8. How has the delay in “The Doors of Stone” publication been explained?

The delay in the release of “The Doors of Stone” has been attributed to the complexity of the narrative and the author’s commitment to crafting a suitable conclusion to the series. Author Patrick Rothfuss has been dedicated to delivering a satisfying conclusion to the story.

9. Is there any direct link between the publisher transition and the delay in “The Doors of Stone”?

Establishing a direct causality between the publisher’s transition and the book’s delay is challenging. However, industry-level changes can indirectly influence production timelines, marketing strategies, and communication between the author and the publisher, contributing to the uncertainty surrounding the release.

10. What can readers do to stay informed about the series and its future developments?

To stay informed about “The Kingkiller Chronicle” series and any updates regarding “The Doors of Stone,” readers can follow author Patrick Rothfuss’ official website and social media channels, as well as the official channels of DAW Books and Astra Publishing House. Additionally, news from reputable literary news outlets is a valuable source of information.

Leave a Comment