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New Spring (A Wheel of Time Prequel Novel) Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 6, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Expanded from a story that first appeared in Robert Silverberg's anthology Legends (1998), Jordan's eagerly awaited prequel to The Wheel of Time, the first of a projected three, more than lives up to its high expectations. For three days, battle has raged around the city of Tar Valon. In the White Tower two young Accepted attend the Amyrlin Seat and her Keeper as they await word of the outcome. Purely by chance, Moiraine Damodred and Siuan Sanche are on duty when the Keeper foretells the rebirth of the Dragon, the world's only hope of winning the fight against the Dark One. Written with all the skill that has made Jordan one of the grand masters of fantasy, it's accessible enough for new readers, while the inside information is sure to captivate longtime fans. Far from the coldly self-possessed Aes Sedai who arrives in Emond's Field in The Eye of the World, the first Wheel book, Moiraine is a fun-loving, prank-playing and naïve Accepted, one who slowly grows into a determined and resourceful character. Even better, the narrative is flush with answers to mysteries only hinted at in Wheel (what was the test for Aes Sedai, what was "the Vileness") and with little details aimed at those in the know. Jordan buffs will be especially pleased to find the novel moves quickly, not at the glacial pace of recent books in the saga.
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Jordan's best-selling Wheel of Time stands at 10 volumes and counting, and now he starts a prequel series by expanding his contribution to Legends (1998), an anthology of stories set in the worlds of their authors' novel-series. Basically, the new tale is about how two Wheel protagonists--the soldier Lan Mandragoran, claimant to the throne of a kingdom long defunct; and Moiraine of the royal house of Cairhien, an initiate of the sorceresses known as Aes Sedai--met. The momentous event comes early in the search for the infant boy who, grown up, may save the perpetually warring Wheel world from the Dark One. It doesn't occur, however, until this book is winding down. The preceding pages, after an opening in which Lan and his command are reprieved from certain death when the enormous army they are about to engage turns and marches away, focus on Moraine's and her friend Siuan's last days as wanna-be, and first as new-fledged, Aes Sedai. Both take their new status as license to look for the child of destiny, and they have inside dope, thanks to having heard a senior Aes Sedai announce the child's birth with her dying breath. The term padding comes to mind soon and often as New Spring blooms. Perhaps it should have been left a short story, and perhaps only Wheel of Time junkies will genuinely enjoy it. Said habitues are by now legion; acquire accordingly. Ray Olson
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