“One of the things I like about The Long Price books is that, by and large, I don’t feel like I took sides,” he says. “People sometimes do terrible things—the kinds of things that they carry with them for the rest of their lives—and then go on to have lives. They have the opportunity to change and shift and be complicated. Years ago, I was at a convention, and I heard an author whose work I deeply admire talking about his process. He said he always wanted his villains not just defeated, but humiliated and destroyed. It was kind of revelatory moment for me, because I realized I wanted mine understood and forgiven. I think that’s harder.”
The Long Price concluded in 2009, but, due to a low print-run and the hardback-only release for the concluding volume, for years it was difficult to attain in a physical format—and therefore nearly impossible for new readers to discover while browsing a bookstore, though fans began to evangelize for the series online almost immediately. In the wake of the success of The Dagger and the Coin and particularly The Expanse, it was rereleased several years ago as a two-volume omnibus, but those editions came and went without much notice. This latest omnibus release marks Tor Books’ most ambitious plan to connect readers with an unjustly overlooked series that plays even better today than it did a decade ago. And, per Abraham, it may be the perfect way to experience the series.
“I’d always kind of hoped the books would all come out in a single volume some day,” he said. “[They] were all meant to work as both a complete story in themselves, and also as parts of a larger narrative. When you put the books all together that way, I think brings that larger structure more clearly into focus. I hope that sense of the epic [within] a single, full life comes through.”
Returning to The Long Price, and its long history, was a treat for Abraham. “I’m not someone with an eidetic memory,” he says, “even for the things I’ve written. There were scenes, sometimes even subplots, that I’d forgotten over the years. One of the bits of advice I got as a new writer was to try to make the sort of book you’d want to read, and I actually got that experience: I wrote something that’s actually just exactly what I enjoyed reading.”
Like all of Abraham’s work—from the mega-accessible The Expanse to trope subversion of The Dagger and the Coin, The Long Price Quartet’s chief characteristic is that it is enjoyable to read. It’s beyond easy to lose yourself in its pages, and even the sometimes heady themes it explores become compulsive, thoughtful; you’ll quickly find yourself drifting toward contemplation as you consider the myriad lenses through which we’re allowed to view his story.
As much as I love The Expanse, it’s Abraham’s fantasy that truly captures my imagination and influences my own writing. So, naturally, I asked him about the possibility of writing more epic fantasy in the future.
“I followed up the intentional novelty of the Long Price books with The Dagger and the Coin,” he says. “That series was really my deep dive into epic fantasy as a genre—its strengths, its limits, what the genre is about. For me, anyway. Once I was done with them, I wasn’t sure I had anything else to say in that space.”
“It took a few years to find something that really interested me,” he adds, “but now I think I have. It’s not ready for an announcement yet, but there’s definitely something stewing.”
Needless to say, with a new shiny edition of The Long Price Quartet on store shelves—and, hopefully the shelves of many new readers—and future projects in the pipeline, this is a great time to dive into Abraham’s back catalog, where you’ll discover some of the best modern fantasy has to offer.
The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham is available now from Tor Books.