It's all your fault, cult author tells his fans as latest book arrives five years late

The American fantasy author George R R Martin has sold millions of books worldwide, and his fame has heightened with Game of Thrones, the glossy US TV series starring Sean Bean, based on his mythical creations.

However for the past six years Martin has kept his fans waiting with baited breath over his mammoth book, A Dance with Dragons, the latest installment in his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series of warring aristocratic families in a medieval fantasy universe. In 2005 he said the 1,600-page novel would arrive within a year. It never came. He has constantly rescheduled its release since then, angering his many fans. Now, it seems, the wait is over.

Yesterday, Jane Johnson, publishing director of Martin's UK publisher Harper Voyager, said the novel is finally finished and will be released worldwide on 12 July. "This book has taken on something of a legendary status and had a mythical existence until Wednesday," she said. "But I can now reveal that it was worth the six-year wait."

Martin put his delay down to his close relationship to his fans, whom he corresponds with regularly. "The more readers you have, the harder it is to keep up, and then you can't get any writing done," he told The New Yorker.

In recent months fans have responded with increasing ire over their wait, posting negative comments on the writer's website, georgerrmartin.com, and on Amazon.com discussion boards. On Amazon, one fan wrote: "George R R Martin, you suck... Pull your typewriter out of your ass." Another wrote: "Don't hold your breath on this one unless you like passing out".

Martin first alerted fans to his book's completion earlier this week, when he posted a picture of King Kong lying defeated at the base of New York's World Trade Centre on his website. "Kong" is his nickname for A Dance with Dragons, in reference to its size.

"It is true," said Anne Groell, an editor at the Random House US subsidiary Bantam Dell Publishing. "There were a few moments of George in a spare office yesterday, cleaning up the last bits and inserting a few new bits in longhand, while I typed the changes into the electronic files, but we are honestly and officially done. And there is much rejoicing!"

Game of Thrones, the £36m adaptation of the first book in Martin's series, which was filmed in Belfast, premiered earlier this month on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic in Britain. In the US, its first two episodes each attracted two million viewers. A second series has been commissioned.

The book's announcement has prompted celebrations from Martin's fans all over the world. "A Dance With Dragons is down for the count!" read a post on the fan-site westeros.org.

Worth waiting for...

* Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote, now published as one book, was originally released in two volumes in 1605 and 1615. Between the two volumes, Cervantes wrote teasers for the sequel into his fiction. "You shall see shortly the further exploits of Don Quixote and humours of Sancho Panza," he wrote in 1613 work Novelas Ejemplares.

* Thomas Harris left seven years between the first of his books about serial killer Hannibal Lector – The Red Dragon (1981) – and its sequel Silence of the Lambs (1988). It took him a further 11 years to deliver another, Hannibal, and seven more for Hanibal Rising (2006), prequel to the first three novels. "His books are very, very complex, and I think he thinks about them for a long time before he puts a pen to paper," said his agent, Mort Janklow.

* Tom Clancy was silent for seven years between two most recent novels in his "Ryanverse" series, which follow the story of former CIA agent Jack Ryan and his son Jack Ryan Jr. The Teeth of the Tiger came out in 2003, while its follow-up Dead or Alive did not appear until last year.

Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week