Isabella Biedenharn
September 26, 2017 AT 09:00 AM EDT

Grishaverse fans, rejoice: Leigh Bardugo’s next book not only returns to the world she created but centers on one of her most beloved characters too. Due out in Winter 2019, King of Scars centers on Nikolai Lantsov, King of Ravka, who we first met as the young, mysterious commander Sturmhond. Check out the book’s trailer above.

Bardugo didn’t plan on writing a book about Nikolai — in fact, she didn’t think he’d make it out of her Shadow and Bone trilogy alive. “True confession: Nikolai Lantsov was supposed to die at the end of Siege and Storm,” the author tells EW. “I planned to pin his murder — at the hands of his brother — on the heroine, forcing her to flee the capital. Blood! Tears! Political intrigue! And we’re off to the end of the trilogy.”

Of course, it didn’t happen that way. “But once I started writing my privateer prince who has a gift for invention and no talent at all for keeping his mouth shut, I didn’t want to stop,” Bardugo explains. “Maybe not surprisingly (certainly not to him), Nikolai is the character I get asked about most. Did he find happiness? Who will be his queen? How bad was the poetry he wrote in college? I always kept quiet, because I knew I wanted to continue his story when the time was right. In King of Scars, I’ll finally get to answer those questions and more — though you may not thank me for the poetry.”

While we don’t have an exact publication date yet for King of Scars, EW can exclusively share a bit more about the book via its official summary from publisher Imprint (an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), below, to get your pulse pounding in anticipation of Winter 2019.

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself.  But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

In the meantime, Bardugo’s latest book, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magicis available now.

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