April 17, 2005

New Spring: A Wheel of Time novel/ Robert Jordan

This was the first time I read Robert Jordan. Found out that "New Spring" is a prequel in the Wheel of Time series. There are nine books in the series, if I'm not mistaken. How can I describe this particular book? It's a Fantasy genre, with the Budo-mythos mixed with a tinge of "Dungeon & Dragons" flavour.

Budo = 武道 (see "Definitions of BUDO on the Web" and also FightingArts.com)
武 = "Martial Arts", "Fighting"
道 = "Way", "Philosophy", "Path"

c2004 - ISBN 18 414 9338 4
NLB Call No.:
JOR (under Adult Fiction)
Click here to check for item availability.

There's the Aes Sedai, a class of woman "priesthood" trained in the arts of sorcery and magic, harnessing saidar and manipulating elements of Spirit, Wind, Air, Fire. Then there's the warrior-class that Lan Mandragon belongs to -- the Malkier. Also the Aiel, the non-human enemy at war with men.

A child prophesied to destroy the world has been born (see p. 42). The Aes Sedai wants to find this child (Kill him? Neutralise his power? Harness his abilities? This is where I'm a bit hazy). But dissention seems to have broken out among the Aes Sedai, with the emergence of the "Black Ajah" (kind of like how the Sith is to the Jedi Knights in Star Wars). Moiraine and best friend Siuan, newly conferred Aes Sedai, goes out on their personal quest to find the child.

Lan (our hero/ reluctant Warrior King of a fallen nation), returns from fighting the Aiel and goes to confront what he thinks is his destiny. Some political game of sorts. He meets up with the heroine, Moiraine. They can't stand each other at the beginning; they confront the "Black Ajah" near the end of the story; they pair up as Aes Sedai and bonded Warder.

Just to give you a flavour of the fighting scene, where six men are attacking Lan:
"... and Lan danced the forms. Time like cool honey. The graylark sang, and the lean man shrieked as Cutting the Clouds removed his right hand at the wrist, and Lan flowed to one side so the rest could not come at him together, flowed from form to form. Soft Rain at Sunset laid open a fat man's face, took his left eye, and a ginger-haired young splinter drew a gash across Lan's ribs with Black Pebbles on Snow.

Only in stories did one man face six without injury. The Rose Unfolds sliced down a bald man's arm, and ginger-hair nicked the corner of Lan's eye. Only in stories did one man face six and survive. He had known that from the start. Duty was a mountain, death a feather, and his duty was to Bukama, who had carried an infant on his back."
(Excerpt from page 219, Chapter 16, "The Deeps")

The book includes a write-up about Robert Jordan. Says that Robert Jordan taught himself to read at aged four. He graduated from the Military College of South Carolina with a degree in Physics, served two tours in Vietnam, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, and two Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry.

You can find out more about Robert Jordan here. I didn't know his real name is James Oliver Rigney, Jr.

BTW, if you're interested in the characters and places in The Wheel of Time, check out this book:
c1997 - ISBN 0312862199
NLB Call No.:
813.54 JOR(under Adult General non-fiction section 800s)
Click here to check for item availability.

And did you know that Robert Jordan wrote this?
c1997 - ISBN 0812531361
NLB Call No.:
JOR(under Adult fiction)
Click here to check for item availability.

Search the NLB Catalogue for "Robert Jordan". Last time I checked, there were 10 item listed from the search results. He also writes under these pseudonyms: Robert Jordan, Reagan O'Neal, Jackson O'Reilly and Chang Lung.

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