Fantasy novelist George R. R. Martin has released a chapter from his upcoming next book in the series on which hit television show "Game of Thrones" is based.
The American writer has kept fans of his "A Song of Ice and Fire" epic series of novels in suspense since 2011, when the fifth and most recent installment was published.
The new chapter, released Thursday, is excerpted from the forthcoming sixth book which will be called "The Winds of Winter."
It follows the story of Alayne, the name the character Sansa Stark has adopted as she hides out following the death of the wicked King Joffrey, who was poisoned on his wedding day.
Ever since publishing the first book in the series in 1996, Martin has surprised readers by killing off many of the main characters, often in spectacularly grisly fashion.
The HBO network launched "A Game of Thrones" in 2011 and the show became a runaway hit.
Now up to its fifth season, none of the show's actors or writers know what's coming in Martin's next book installment.
Set in a brooding medieval fantasy world populated by feuding armies, dragons and mammoths, "Game of Thrones" has shocked viewers with its scenes of explicit sex and violence.
HBO will debut season five on April 12 in the United States.
The epic power struggle at the heart of the story has not yet been resolved: Martin himself has said he hasn't yet decided how it all will end.