The Astonishing, the novel, builds on the story rendered in The Astonishing, the ground-breaking concept album by Dream Theater. The novel adds new plot lines and intrigue, additional characters and motivations, as well as explanations and ideas not explored on the album.



In a not so distant future, our world has returned to the ugliness of feudalism. Only this time, those in power control the servant class with the very thing that once inspired men to rise up and take back their lives—music. But it is not the music of old. That music is forgotten. No, this new music is engineered entirely by machines. This music suppresses that part of humanity which might be inspired. This music suppresses hope.

But what is old will be made new again. In the village of Ravenskill lives a young man, Gabriel, who comes with a gift of power. A gift of music. As a human expression.

Gabriel’s brother, Arhys, leads a rebel militia that is trying to liberate the people. And he believes Gabriel’s gift is the key; a key he hopes will help him keep a promise he made his wife on her deathbed.

But the emperor and his son have different plans–to maintain control. Those plans may find an unlikely challenger in their own family. And the resulting conflict may yield lasting consequences. For them all.

With music as a moving force, the choices each player must make will bring them to a shared moment of pain. And perhaps redemption.


Peter Orullian has worked at Xbox for fifteen years. He’s toured internationally with various bands and been a featured vocalist at major rock and metal festivals. He studied voice with David Kyle, vocal trainer to Geoff Tate, Layne Staley, Ann and Nancy Wilson, and others.

Peter is an award-nominated fantasy and science fiction writer, noted–among other things–for the powerful and lyrical way he weaves music into his stories. His work has appeared in a number of major anthologies, and his fantasy novel series is published by Tor Books.

He recommends, if you’re a novel reader, that you begin with Trial of Intentions. If you like shorter fiction, he suggests The Sound of Broken Absolutes. Both of these feature Orullian’s music magic system.

Peter will be making constant updates on the progress of the book. If you’d like to stay up to date on the latest, visit Peter at or follow him on: Twitter: @peterorullian and Facebook:


Full-length novel of The Astonishing, adding new plot lines and intrigue, additional characters and motivations, answers to fan questions, as well as explanations and ideas not explored on the album

In-depth introduction by John Petrucci, going deep on why he wrote The Astonishing, what it means to him, etc.

Definitive interviews of each member of Dream Theater, covering their experience in the genesis of the album, in performing it, what it means to them, as well as their own music history, interests, and part in the band

A few early music demos (often taken from original iPhone recordings) of original songs set in the universe of The Astonishing but never used on the album

The genesis of one song: From early iPhone recording to final tune, listen to several song clips of the steps in the song writing process of one of the songs from The Astonishing

Never-before seen hand written notes, early art renderings, photographs, etc. chronicling the development of The Astonishing, with a behind-the-scenes look at how it all came to fruition

An original story by John Petrucci & Peter Orullian, set in the universe of The Astonishing

Original cover art on full-color dust jacket

Original full-color interior art depicting key scenes in the story, including some scenes not represented in the album

Map of the world of The Astonishing

Full lyrics, song-by-song breakdown, and final synopsis as written by John Petrucci

Printed on 60# acid-free paper

Smyth sewn for durability

Foil stamping on the front boards and spine

Bound in leather

Limited to 2500 copies