According to Entertainment Weekly, the next book in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is coming soon! I quote:
A Dance With Dragons will be published by Bantam on July 12, 2011. The manuscript is huge — the publisher estimates the hardcover edition will run more than 900 pages, putting it about the same length as the longest book in the series, A Storm of Swords. Schedule your summer vacation accordingly.
For those of us who want to create awesome, these books are worth thinking about. Of all the fiction stcuk in my head, this is the only one currently in the process of being created.
It shares many excellent features with lesser books. Fascinating characters, vivid description, vast scope, and wonderful adventures with many twists and turns. I don't think these are enough to keep the series in my brain for the six years since the previous installment though.
These books are extraordinarily real, and also a sort of reversal of Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's trilogy is about ordinary people discovering extraordinary strength. Martin's books are about normal well meaning people, who we can sort of imagine being, coming to do horrible things. It feels so real, and so little like a fantasy, that it makes suspension of disbelief very easy. Yet there is catharsis too, in knowing we could never be quite as bad as some of these apparently well meaning people.
Each character is ripped open, and each stereotype of high fantasy. Just as we want to believe one of them is good, not only do we learn the things they are capable of doing wrong, but we see why it should have been obvious in the first place.