Book 5 Status

I regularly receive inquiries asking when the next–and final–installment of The Strongbow Saga will be coming out. It has been a while since I’ve given a detailed status update, so here it is.

My goal and plan has been to complete and publish the fifth and final book during 2016. That is still my hope and goal, but my progress is admittedly far behind where I’d thought to be at this point in time.

I suspect many readers wonder, “How can he take so damn long to write a book?” It’s a fair question, and one that deserves an answer. After all, many authors turn out, on average, a book per year, and some more than that. I have one author acquaintance who cranks out two or three books every year. They’re considerably shorter than my books, and they’re urban fantasy, written straight from her imagination, but she’s a talented author and they’re good books. Why can’t I do that? There are several reasons.

First of all, I live on a small farm. My wife, Jeanette, and I produce a large percentage of the food we consume each year. We have animals: a flock of chickens and a herd of sheep. All of that takes time–a lot of time–to tend to. Many times it’s not just time; we do quite hard physical labor. I’m not complaining–I love this life–but I’ll be 65 this year, plus I have Multiple Sclerosis, so often I simply don’t have the energy, after a long day’s labor, to write. The author I mentioned above just walks to her in-home office, sits down, and writes every day. She doesn’t have a farm to run.

Second, in addition to our farm, my wife and I run a small business–our publishing company that publishes my books–on the side. Every month I have to process our company’s royalty earnings, pay the company payroll, pay the state and federal taxes and prepare and submit the various reports required of a small business by the state and federal governments. All of that requires a considerable amount of time each and every month. And periodically there are other time consuming aspects of the business. In recent weeks, for example, a lot of my “writing” time has been taken up with preparing the German language edition of Dragons from the Sea for publication, in the various e-book and print formats it will be released in.

Last, book 5 is proving to be a hard one for me to write.There is a lot of research to do. Book 5 has two main locations: Russia and Ireland, and digging into what was happening in both of those, during the mid 9th century, takes a lot of work and time. Also, this book is the culmination of a long, continuing story that I have been working on for at least fifteen years. I want to get it right. I want the conclusion of Halfdan’s story to be a satisfying, moving finale to what has come before. I cannot rush it just to get something out there. To do so would dishonor myself, not respect Halfdan and his story, and be unfair to all who have been loyal fans of the Saga.

I am truly sorry for the delay. But the book will come when it comes. Until then, to steal a line from the Broadway musical Hamilton, I am afraid readers will just have to “Wait For It.”

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75 thoughts on “Book 5 Status

  1. I understand your situation. I would rather wait for the same quality as I found in the first three books than a subpar finale. I have reread all the books three times now. I very much appreciate your work.

  2. I am 73 and even as a girl I read and re-read Robinson Crusoe many times. Yes, I was a tomboy but I still love adventure…so am traveling as much as I can. My genealogy goes back to the Vikings and the Strongbow series hit my adventuresome side right away. I am still waiting for the 5th book,then, I may start with #1 and go through them in order.
    I was lucky enough to connect with someone in Denmark in 2014 and was led to the burial mounds and rune stones. Loved it. Also visited the Viking ships pulled out of the harbor and the mud at Roskilde. I appreciate your research as well as your imagination. I have read many books on the kings and queens of Europe, following the interest of my ancestry. Keep up with historical fiction, and thank you! I am also an Oregonian…
    lc

  3. It is because of this series of books that many things in my life have taken place.

    First, before finding the first installment of The Strongbow Saga, I hated to read. But upon opening the book (which I still own, actually and it’s been since 2006) and being sucked into a world that I couldn’t even begin to imagine for myself, I found a love for reading, and for writing! (I’m currently working on a novel and I hope to one day publish it either through your company or self-publish on Amazon)

    Second, I found a religion that actually makes me feel accepted and whole. I know that the Norse Pagan aspect was not a major plot point for the Saga, but for me it really made me feel closer to my ancestors that I only recently learned had come from Scandinavia. I felt a kinship the Halfdan in that duality of his faiths and (my own take away) not knowing where he belonged in the world.

    I recommend this series to everyone and anyone that will listen to me. The books were part of my childhood, they brought me peace when I was suffering from chaos and heart ache in the depths of depression. I look forward to the release of the final book with anticipation as well as sorrow because I know that “my” slice of the past will come to close. But the good thing to remember is, these are books! We can relive the story, the history, the journey.

    Thank you, Mr Roberts, for creating a world that allows me to step away from myself and be someone else. Thank you a million times over.

  4. Thank you for the amazing work that is the Strongbow Saga. The detail and clear effort you have put into these books has inspired me with my own research on scandinavian history. I recently built a miniature longship and being able to see one from Halfdans eyes has given me a better idea of how they would be sailed. Thank you again!

    • Thank you. Did you build the ship from scratch or a kit? When I first began working on these books, I built a large (about three feet long) wooden model of a longship, using as a basis a kit made in Denmark but which I modified to turn it into the Gull, to help me visualize and understand it better.

    • Scratch. I loosely based her on the designs of the Oseberg and Gokstad ships, but she definitely has her own personality.

  5. I just finished book three “The Road to Vengeance”. I really like these books. You have made them fun to read and I find myself thinking of different parts while I’m doing other things. I believe I found these in a second hand store and whoever found them did a favor to me. I am going to look for book four and wait patiently for book five. I am empressed that you are 65 and have MS. I know you are doing eel because you are using all you’re sensed and must be eating very well if you grow what you eat. I am encouraged. I am a 70 year old fan. Thank you for your books.

  6. Love your books!! Ive read them so many times and am about to read through the series again.. cant wait to see what happens in the new book! I hope you get it done soon!

  7. Hey Mr.Roberts, just gotta say you’re a pretty good author, you have me very interested in the Viking era and I’m curious, do you watch Vikings? Because it seems like you get some influence from that but I’m unsure

    • Thanks, Zach. I’ve watched a few episodes from the first season, but didn’t really like the show that much. While the action and story are entertaining, there are so many historically inaccurate details they made the show irritating for me to watch. And no, it hasn’t influenced my work–the first three books were written long before the show began. Hearing that they do, in a later season, have Ragnar attack Paris has made me wonder if perhaps they read my books and learned that from them, though.