The Barnes & Noble Review
With only one novel left after Knife of Dreams until Robert Jordan's epic Wheel of Time saga concludes, Rand Al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, has major obstacles to overcome before he will be ready to do battle against the Dark One in Tarmon Gai'don, the much-prophesized Last Battle that will “break the world.”
As the Seanchan Empire continues its bloody campaign to reclaim ancestral lands, Rand attempts a risky truce with the invaders -- with unforeseen consequences. A desperate Perrin Aybara is also dealing with the treacherous Seanchan, willing to do whatever it takes to finally rescue his wife from slavery. Mat Cauthon, meanwhile, has his hands full with the kidnapped Seanchan princess Tuon, whose ingenious plans have put Mat in a completely unexpected position. And as long-standing traditions and alliances crumble, the Forsaken prepare to compel the world into Shadow…
While few science fiction/fantasy works deserve to be read multiple times -- Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Herbert's Dune sequence, et al. -- Jordan's Wheel of Time cycle is one of those extremely rare sagas that is so dense, so packed with substance, that it's almost essential to read the novels more than once. Colossal, massive, gargantuan: Everything about Wheel of Time is epic -- the dozens of interweaving plotlines, the hundreds of integral characters, the extensive histories of the realm, the vast settings, etc. But after 11 shelf-bending volumes -- as Tarmon Gai'don looms -- fans can find solace in the thought that after the final installment is released, they can go back to the beginning (The Eye of the World) and start this once-in-a-lifetime fantasy masterpiece all over again. After all: “There are neither beginnings nor endings in the Wheel of Time…” Paul Goat Allen
The previous book in Jordan's massive Wheel of Time, Crossroads of Twilight, may have come out in 2003, but don't let that fool you; the 11th tome in this epic fantasy is the one Jordan fans have been eagerly waiting for the better part of a decade. The breakneck pace, lyrical beauty and astonishing scope of the early Wheel of Time volumes established Jordan as one of the top writers in the Tolkien tradition. While more recent entries have maintained that beauty and scope, the pace has slowed to a crawl as the central characters dispersed in six directions. In contrast, the latest explodes with motion, as multiple plot lines either conclude or advance, and the march to Tarmon Gai'don-the climactic last battle between the Dragon Reborn and the Dark One-begins in earnest. Faile's captivity with the Shaido, Mat's pursuit of Tuon and Elayne's war for Caemlyn come to a close, while Egwene's capture brings the Aes Sedai war to the heart of the Tower. Jordan has said that readers will be sweating by the end of the book, and he's probably right. Sweating or not, they'll also be dreading the long year or two before the 12th installment. Agent, Nat Sobel. $750,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Book eleven of The Wheel of Time series is the beginning of the end. One by one, the threads of the pattern start to weave their way toward the Last Battle. Reality itself is becoming unstable-the dead walk and unnatural things are happening. Perrin allies with the Seanchan and finally rescues his wife who was kidnapped by the Shaido Aiel. Darkfriends among the Seanchan conspire to kill Tuon, but Matt and some Seanchan still loyal to her are able to ward them off. Matt and Tuon also complete their marriage ceremony at long last. Egwene, abducted by the Aes Sedai loyal to Eladia in the last book, takes her battle to the heart of the White Tower. Elayne roots out a group of Darkfriends in Caemlyn, and also secures her place as the Queen of Andor. Rand and some of his companions ward off an attack by ten thousand trollocs, and Nynaeve sets her husband Lan on a path to rally the Borderlands for the Last Battle. Rand then attempts to form a truce with the Seanchan-and ends up capturing one of the Forsaken. Just as in the rest of the books in his epic saga, Jordan quickly thrusts his reader into his world. Fans of the series will love this entry and will not be disappointed. The plot moves at a quick pace, only slowing a little with Elayne's thread. Beyond that minor flaw, the book is a masterpiece that leaves the reader begging for the next installment. VOYA CODES: 5Q 5P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2005, Tor, 784p., Ages 15 to Adult.
Patrick Darby, Teen Reviewer
The penultimate book in Jordan's sweeping epic fantasy works hard to bring together all the strands of earlier books in preparation for the battle between the Dragon Reborn and the Dark One that will decide the fate of the earth and of the magic that is its essence. As in the previous installments, the author follows many stories, from the progress of Rand al'Thor and his armies to the odd courtship between the roguish Mat and his almost-wife Tuon. From Elayne's struggle to keep the peace in Camlyn to the conflict between the magic-wielding Aes Sedai and their evil counterparts, the scope of Jordan's vision is immense and incisive. One of the major works of the fantasy genre, this novel, along with its predecessors, belongs in all libraries. Highly recommended. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“The battle scenes have the breathless urgency of firsthand experience, and the . . . evil laced into the forces of good, the dangers latent in any promised salvation, the sense of the unavoidable onslaught of unpredictable events bear the marks of American national experience during the last three decades.” The New York Times on The Wheel of Time
“The Wheel of Time [is] rapidly becoming the definitive American fantasy saga. It is a fantasy tale seldom equaled and still less often surpassed in English.” Chicago Sun-Times on The Wheel of Time
“Jordan has a powerful vision of good and evil--but what strikes me as most pleasurable . . . is all the fascinating people moving through a rich and interesting world.” Orson Scott Card on The Wheel of Time
“The scope of Jordan's vision is immense and incisive. Highly recommended.” Library Journal on Knife of Dreams
“The breakneck pace, lyrical beauty, and astonishing scope of the early Wheel of Time volumes established Jordan as one of the top writers in the Tolkien tradition.” Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Knife of Dreams
“Superlatively executed world and [a] worthy company of characters.” Booklist on Knife of Dreams
“Jordan quickly thrusts his reader into his world. Fans of the series will love this entry and will not be disappointed. The book is a masterpiece that leaves the reader begging for the next installment.” Voices of Youth Advocates on Knife of Dreams
“The author packs the pages with one explosive showdown after another.” Romantic Times BookClub
Read an Excerpt
The sun, climbing toward
midmorning, stretched Galad's shadow and those of his three armored companions
ahead of them as they trotted their mounts down the road that ran straight
through the forest, dense with oak and leatherleaf, pine and sourgum, most
showing the red of spring growth. He tried to keep his mind empty, still, but
small things kept intruding. The day was silent save for the thud of their
horses' hooves. No bird sang on a branch, no squirrel chittered. Too quiet for
the time of year, as though the forest held its breath. This had been a major
trade route once, long before Amadicia and Tarabon came into being, and bits of
ancient paving stone sometimes studded the hard-packed surface of yellowish
clay. A single farm cart far ahead behind a plodding ox was the only sign of
human life now besides themselves. Trade had shifted far north, farms and
villages in the region dwindled, and the fabled lost mines of Aelgar remained
lost in the tangled mountain ranges that began only a few miles to the south.
Dark clouds massing in that direction promised rain by afternoon if their slow
advance continued. A red-winged hawk quartered back and forth along the border
of the trees, hunting the fringes. As he himself was hunting. But at the heart,
not on the fringes.
The manor house that the Seanchan had given Eamon Valda came into view,
and he drew rein, wishing he had a helmet strap to tighten for excuse. Instead
he had to be content with re-buckling his sword belt, pretending that it had
been sitting wrong. There had been no point to wearing armor. If the morning
went as he hoped, he would have had to remove breastplate and mail in any case,
and if it went badly, armor would have provided little more protection than his
Formerly a deep-country lodge of the King of
Amadicia, the building was a huge, blue-roofed structure studded with
red-painted balconies, a wooden palace with wooden spires at the corners atop a
stone foundation like a low, steep-sided hill. The outbuildings, stables and
barns, workmen's small houses and craftsfolks' workshops, all hugged the ground
in the wide clearing that surrounded the main house, but they were nearly as
resplendent in their blue-and-red paint. A handful of men and women moved around
them, tiny figures yet at this distance, and children were playing under their
elders' eyes. An image of normality where nothing was normal. His companions sat
their saddles in their burnished helmets and breastplates, watching him without
expression. Their mounts stamped impatiently, the animals' morning freshness not
yet worn off by the short ride from the camp.
"It's understandable if you're having second thoughts, Damodred," Trom
said after a time. "It's a harsh accusation, bitter as gall, but--"
"No second thoughts for me," Galad broke in. His intentions had been
fixed since yesterday. He was grateful, though. Trom had given him the opening
he needed. They had simply appeared as he rode out, falling in with him without
a word spoken. There had seemed no place for words, then. "But what about you
three? You're taking a risk coming here with me. A risk you have no need to
take. However the day runs, there will be marks against you. This is my
business, and I give you leave to go about yours." Too stiffly said, but he
could not find words this morning, or loosen his throat.....