Ran and others on the AOIAF board are fairly confident that the proofing etc. on ASOS will be finished quickly enough for the July 2000 release date touted by Amazon UK. Do you think it'll be out in England in July?
Yes. HarperCollins has been cracking the whip at me relentlessly, and pushing everything at an amazing pace. The typesetting's done, and I am just about finished with the galleys. Jim Burns finished the cover painting ages ago.
In fact, the British hardcover has a sales ranking of 132 on Amazon.UK the last time I looked, and it's still six weeks away from pubdate.
One interesting note -- we will have two different sets of maps this time. On GAME OF THRONES, Harper used the Bantam maps. With CLASH OF KINGS, however, Harper's pubdate was so much earlier than Bantam's that they didn't get the updates in time, so only Bantam had the new maps. To avoid that this time, Harper will be doing its own maps.
Both sets of maps will be based on my originals, of course, but different artists will be cleaning them up and re-rendering them for publication, so they should have a somewhat different look. There will be four maps: updated versions of the North and South, with new places and details added, and new ones of the Wall and environs, and a part of the eastern landmass.
As for my vacation... I'll be going to Westercon in Hawaii over 4th of July. I hope to be dug out from under my then.