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The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon SandersonAdam, at the Wertzone, shares some news about the final volume in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, including the cover art:

The final Wheel of Time novel, A Memory of Light, has been split into at least two but possibly three volumes (i.e. if the recession gets worse it’ll be three). The first sub-volume, given the hilarious generic title The Gathering Storm, will be released in November 2009. But sub-volumes II and III (if it goes that far) will only follow at 12-month intervals. According to the website to break the news, Tor will be releasing the book in tradeback rather than hardcover, which sounds insane to me.

Hopefully expect an official announcement in the next day or two, although it is possible that furious fans will have burned down the entire Internet by then.

Interesting. Though I don’t think anyone’s surprised that it’ll end up being two volumes, three seems a bit of a stretch. I’d be curious to find out the justification behind releasing each volume in Trade Paperback instead of Hardcover.

The original news broke at The American Book Center Blog.

UPDATE – Adam posted some further clarification below in the comments:

According to Sanderson it’s not a hoax, but it’s not the full story either. Some things have been garbled in communication but he can’t say what until Tor issue the official press release.
I’m going to hazard it’s 2 books, hardcover as it should be, but maybe still separated by a year. The cover is also apparently a rough mock-up.

From Sanderson’s blog:

A few hours back, people started sharing links regarding a few places outside the US who have begun posting news related to A Memory of Light. I’m getting some emails about this, so I thought I’d go ahead and post something. Likely, this will all get overwritten soon, as soon as Tor and the Jordan estate release official reactions and/or announcements.

I can’t say much. Why? Well, it’s not my right. I’m loving being part of the Wheel of Time, but it is Harriet’s world, not mine. And so I feel it right to let her make any announcements at her pace. I don’t even feel right linking some of the websites making news about this, though you can find a thread about it on Dragonmount if you look.

A very small cover image has been floating around, and people want me to say if it’s a hoax or not. Well, to be honest, I haven’t yet seen the cover art for the book. Things have been so busy for me these last few months editing that I’ve let Harriet handle all of that. So I don’t know if the cover is the real one or not. It certainly looks like Mr. Sweet’s work, and it could be a scene from the book. But it looks rough, perhaps not the finished art. It’s too small to tell. And the lettering on it is suspect to me–it mentions this book being the sequel to Crossroads of Twilight, for instance, which is a flat-out error. I certainly didn’t approve that on cover copy, and I doubt Harriet did either. Most likely, this is a mock-up done internally that is being used as a placeholder. That’s just one of the several things that bothers me about this cover image.

A lot of people are wondering on the number of volumes this book will be. I’ll be honest, this is a big, big project. I stand by one promise to you, no matter what else happens. I will NOT artificially inflate the size of this book. It doesn’t matter to me how many volumes Tor decides to make it; the story is the same to me. One volume, as Robert Jordan planned it. Enormous.

If it is split into chunks, I will push Tor to release them as soon as is reasonably possible and I will push hard for an omnibus edition at the end.

More soon

Conclusion? Take everything with a grain of salt.

Discussion
  • Joe Sherry March 25, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    I left a similar comment over at Adam’s blog, but I really, really, really don’t think the US release will be in anything less than hardcover.

    Bear in mind that this is a company based out of the Netherlands.

    I’ll be shocked, shocked(!) if A Memory of Light is released in trade paper first.

    I’ll also be surprised and disappointed if it is published in three volumes.

  • Adam Whitehead March 25, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    The press release thing the company issued is rather difficult to read, but I think you can read it that there is simply going to be a tradeback AS WELL as a hardcover. I do not believe there has been an American tradeback since THE EYE OF THE WORLD, or maybe THE GREAT HUNT, so issuing one for this book is a (relatively) big deal.

    Unless they mean the international airport edition, in which case someone needs to give them a slap for their idiocy.

    Tor would be absolutely insane not to issue this in hardcover. Whilst Tor occasionally do things that make lesser mortals’ eyes bulge out of their sockets in disbelief (such as their choice of cover art), they are usually on the ball when it comes to making money.

  • Adam Whitehead March 25, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    According to Sanderson it’s not a hoax, but it’s not the full story either. Some things have been garbled in communication but he can’t say what until Tor issue the official press release.

    I’m going to hazard it’s 2 books, hardcover as it should be, but maybe still separated by a year. The cover is also apparently a rough mock-up.

  • aidan March 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    The cover is also apparently a rough mock-up.

    Thank god.

  • James (Speculative Horizons) March 26, 2009 at 2:04 am

    WOT fans everywhere should pray that the cover above isn’t the final version, because it’s probably one of the worst images ever to grace a fantasy book cover. I mean, the WOT series has some pretty bad covers, but this one is by far the worst.

  • Rob B March 26, 2009 at 5:39 am

    I just got back from the emergency room. My neck twisted at the exact angle that Rand’s neck is being depicted on the cover after seeing the cover and a doctor needed to uncrink it.

  • aidan March 26, 2009 at 6:15 am

    James,

    Would it really be out of line to expect the final Wheel of Time novel to have some of the worst cover art of all time? The previous books have set the bar pretty high.

  • Shawn March 26, 2009 at 7:57 am

    I just wrote a post on Suvudu.com dismissing MOST of that cover and the information that went along with it.

    I also wrote Brandon, and Brandon was VERY careful in how he worded his email back to me. I wrote him back and told him to be less diplomatic! Ha! He could confirm the book is coming out in November and he WILL be touring. Other than that, he said he’d leave it to Tor to explain.

    Along with that I will say this: Darrell K. Sweet’s artwork has been HORRIBLE for years. It’s really sad because some of his early artwork is some of my favorites. But it seems like the more years that pass the more MONET he becomes and I hate that. Also, there is no conflict or tension in his work anymore… don’t like that much either.

  • Kendall March 26, 2009 at 9:47 am

    (eyeroll) Dutch blog…based on info from European publisher…price in Euros…unconfirmed by Tor…why is everyone freaking out about this? (Also, read the addition on that blog’s info, where they point out what I’d think was obvious–differences in European and American markets!)

    People are totally overreacting to useless “info” from that Dutch blog. At least you’re not going totally psycho like Pat on the Hotlist, though. (mega-eyeroll) Kudos for that!

  • aidan March 26, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Indeed.

    I try not to freak out over things like this, rather just report rumour as it spreads. Like I said at the end of the update, take it all with a grain of salt. What’s most telling is that neither Tor, nor Sanderson are disputing the info, which indicates that some of it is probably accurate.

    It would make sense that the Dutch version would be released in Trade Paperback, while the NA/UK release would be in hardcover.

  • Adam Whitehead March 26, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Apparently the press release that we’re getting next week was accidentally mailed to several European partners of Tor (including one on Holland and another in Sweden). At the same time it also got garbled in the translation and lacks context that would be provided by other announcements from Harriet and Brandon, resulting in much confusion.

    In his latest blog entry, Brandon confirms that Harriet has not seen or signed off on any cover art, and if any exists it is only at the very rough mock-up stage, and its release must have been a mistake.

    Thank God. But it is of concern that we all pretty much believed that Sweet could do a cover this bad. And now the worrying thing is that the real cover might be worse :-o

  • Shawn March 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Pablo at Tor posted a comment on my Suvudu.com post about this. He and publicist Dot Lin say no official cover art has been turned in, but Monday we’ll be getting a press release from Tor and Harriet about all of this and what Tor is planning in November.

    Oddly, Dot says the artwork hasn’t even been turned in yet. So what is the cover art used on that low res image? Hmm. I’ll be surprised and a bit angry if the cover art resembles that cover. It is even more terrible than KNIFE OF DREAMS, which I thought was a horrendous cover!

  • Alexander Field March 27, 2009 at 6:05 am

    Can’t wait for this book, but it seems they found a way to extend the series beyond 12 books, eh? And even though Brandon Sanderson did not confirm the report, he didn’t entirely deny it either. It only makes sense for Tor to do three books from a financial perspective, so that’s not a surprise. And that cover art has to be placeholder art – up close it doesn’t look like Sweet’s work. Working at a publisher myself, I know that we often use placeholder imagery for our early covers just to get the layout of the type correct. This isn’t uncommon, let’s hope they can release the actual cover soon!

  • Shawn March 27, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Yup, Alexander, looks like they figured out a way. I don’t mind the book being two books because the book is so large. It must be split from a realistic physical binding point of view. But, pushing it to three volumes is pushing it with me. I actually find that quite sad. Why not push it to four volumes? Or even five volumes? I mean, if the book is nearing 800,000 words, and the average novel is around 100,000, why not split it into 8 books? haha

    As for the artwork, I think it looks like Sweet’s work all right. Whether it was a quick draft mock-up to show Irene Gallo at the art department what he was thinking, I don’t know. I do know the actual cover had better be different from that one or I am going to call BS! haha

  • aidan March 27, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Just remember, everyone. As much as rumours need to be taken with a grain of salt, so does spin from publicists and editors! The fact that they didn’t deny a lot of the information, simply said that a press release is coming, is very telling.

    If that cover’s real (mock-up or not), you can bet your asses that Tor’s scrambling to get something different put together for a final release. The fan reaction to ‘One-handed, dancing Rand’ has not been good.

  • Shawn March 27, 2009 at 10:25 am

    haha

  • Alexander Field March 27, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Exactly…I have a feeling some cover designers will be working overtime… : )

  • Adam Whitehead March 28, 2009 at 8:35 am

    I remember the fan reaction to Knife of Dreams was catastrophically bad, but because it was revealed so late in the day nothing could be done about it. This time around, hopefully the announcement will make some people change their minds.

    Of course, pretty much everyone who cares enough to comment on the art will be picking up the book regardless. 12 books into a massive-selling series I don’t think there’s many people who are not going to get the book due to the art, and new readers will be directed to The Eye of the World anyway. Still, I think Tor will be reissuing all of the books in new covers once the series is complete anyway, even if they just look at Orbit’s figures for when they did it in 2002 (a ‘significant’ sales boost which apparently has continued to be notable ever since).

  • […] Rumours spread a few days ago that A Memory of Light, the final volume in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, would be split into three volumes, the first of which being released this fall. […]

  • […] miles beyond the speculated US cover, though I do miss dancing-one-handed-Rand! The UK edition is being published by Orbit Books. […]

  • […] that awful artwork that leaked a couple of months ago? Remember how Tor denied that it was legit and the real cover […]

  • […] Last week, we saw a version of the cover with a juicy black bar slapped across it; not exactly the most effective measuring stick for the quality of the cover (we couldn’t see the characters, which were the biggest failing of the cover for The Gathering Storm), but it was exciting nonetheless. Now, we’ve finally got a look at the full cover (likely in progress, but much further along than the early leak of The Gathering Storm…). […]