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.

Speculation ensued, people were upset (especially about the atrocious cover art), and Tor has sent out a press release to straighten things out. The Short answer, it’s all true.

Tor Books is proud to announce the November 3rd, 2009 on-sale date for The Gathering Storm, Book Twelve of The Wheel of Time and the first of three volumes that will make up A Memory of Light, the stunning conclusion to Robert Jordan’s beloved and bestselling fantasy series. A Memory of Light, partially written by Jordan and completed by Brandon Sanderson, will be released over a two-year period.

Robert Jordan, one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th and early 21st centuries, passed away in 2007 after a courageous battle with the rare blood disease amyloidosis. Brandon Sanderson, the New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn books, was chosen by Jordan’s editor—his wife, Harriet McDougal—to complete the final book.

The Wheel of Time series has sold over 14 million copies in North America and over 30 million copies worldwide with translations into 28 languages. The last four books in the series were all #1 New York Times bestsellers, and for over a decade readers have been eagerly awaiting the conclusion to the epic story.

Harriet McDougal said on the process behind A Memory of Light: “The scope and size of the novel was such that it could not be contained in a single volume. It was a piece of marvellous good fortune that Brandon Sanderson undertook the work. He is a great pleasure to work with, as well as a wonderful writer.”

President and Publisher of Tor Books, Tom Doherty, also expressed his happiness with A Memory of Light, saying: “It is a magnificent closure to a great American epic fantasy whose journey began almost twenty years ago. There is no way Robert Jordan would have squeezed it to a single volume, and somehow it seems fitting that what began as a trilogy will also end as one.”

The first ever JordanCon will take place this April 17th – 19th, 2009 in Alpharetta, GA. Harriet McDougal, Tom Doherty, Brandon Sanderson, and other members of “Team Jordan” will attend as featured guests and speak personally on The Wheel of Time and The Gathering Storm and the stories behind the rich literary legacy of Robert Jordan. JordanCon will also include a special preview of The Gathering Storm.

This year will also see major publications of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time comic books and graphic novels with the launch of The Eye of the World comics in May and the New Spring graphic novel with bonus material in November. The Dabel Brothers will be releasing the comic book series, which will then be collected and published as graphic novels by Tor Books.

Universal Pictures acquired the movie rights to The Wheel of Time in August 2008, and currently plan to adapt The Eye of the World as the first movie.

Two volumes I could understand (the novel is a behemoth, in word count) but three volumes? I believe the proper term for this is BOHICA. Dragonmount has an interview with Harriet Rigney (Jordan’s widow) which contains some further news about why the novel was split into three volumes (hint, it’s actually about money):

How did the decision to divide this final book into three parts come about? Was it a publishing necessity, a story necessity, or something else?

The material that Jim left was very capacious, and Brandon saw after working with it for a while that he could not complete it in less than a total of 750,000 words. This is probably an impossible thing to bind – unless we sold it with a magnifying glass. 250,000 words is in fact a fat, or Rubensesque, novel. You will notice that 3 x 250,000 equals 750,000. So… part of the decision was based on making a book within the scope of binding technology. The major part of the decision was to get ALL the story that Jim left out there for us all.

Fine, 250k is a hell of a long novel, but is it really so unreasonable for fans of the series (who have thus far read 11 doorstoppers) to expect two 375k novels, rather than dipping into their (strained) pockets for three smaller novels?

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Most curious, there was no mention of the eye-gougingly bad cover art that also surfaced with those rumours. Considering the cover art has the correct name for the first-volume-of-the-twelfth-volume, one has to consider that it originates from Tor somewhere. I can only imagine the scrambling going on over at Tor after they saw the leaked cover. I mean, how better can you portray impending armageddon than with a muddy image of a one-handed Rand, dancing a little jig?

  • Adam Whitehead March 30, 2009 at 8:48 am

    After hearing the initial news, the fanbase was pretty cheesed off. Then we were told not to worry, the information wasn’t correct, it’s not necessarily three books at 12-month intervals, there may be other explanations etc.

    And now we are told it is three books at 12-month intervals, there is no need for it other than money, and Tor don’t really give a flying toss about the series’ fans or the wishes of their authors, either living or dead (since I know Brandon fought very hard for this to be two books released as close together as humanly possible). Some brilliant moves from Tor there.

    I’m just glad I’m getting the Orbit edition instead.

  • Shawn March 30, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I wrote a “nice” post about this on Suvudu. :)

    As for what Tor posted on Suvudu about the legitimacy of the Dutch news, here is what they said:

    “Hello everyone! We wanted to clarify a few points for the ongoing discussions:

    There is no cover for the next Wheel of Time book available yet. The formal Wheel of Time update has been scheduled to release two weeks before JordanCon, with personal words from Harriet McDougal and Tom Doherty. This is going to be an exciting year, so we appreciate your patience and enthusiasm!

    Check out Dragonmount and on Monday morning … ”

    So they were only talking about the cover. When the cover is released and if it has any resemblance to the one we’ve seen, we’ll be able to laugh at Tor pretty hard — or be angry. Whatever your flavor is. :) I DO find it amusing that the update they talk about — today’s press release — has no accompanying cover art.

  • Gabriele March 30, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Lol, the fans could boycott that mess and wait for the third book until they buy the lot, but I know they won’t be able to restrain their hot little hands from touching that first book in November. :D

  • Gabriele March 30, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    After reading Sanderson’s explanations, I think TOR owes him the money for two more books. After all, he’s the one pulling 14-16 hour days to get those bad boys written. ;)

  • Alexander Field March 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I just read through Brandon Sanderson’s giant of a post and yeah, I agree with you Gabriele, he’s pulling off some crazy-laborious writing here. I have a feeling he’ll be be getting some kind of royalty deal though, how could he not be participating on the back end on a project this immense? Also, I tend to respect his guts, just writing the book and going for it, damn the length. Three books, fine – none of us likes that, but he’s trying to honor the vision of RJ and get this book right. The cover is another story though – it MUST change. It’s downright awful.

  • aidan March 30, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Agreed. Sanderson is an absolute workhorse, and I can only assume he has the books best interests in mind. I’ve met few other authors who love writing as much as Sanderson.

  • Shawn March 30, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Brandon is the only person I trust in this, even if I find fault in his logic for releasing three books instead of two.

    As I said earlier, I am going to laugh when the cover art we saw is placed on Book 2. haha


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