The Gathering Storm - By Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
In November 2007, I received a phone call that would change my life forever. Harriet McDougal, wife and editor of the late Robert Jordan, called to ask me if I would complete the last book of The Wheel of Time.
For those who did not know Mr. Jordan had passed away, it pains me to be the one to break the news. I remember how I felt when—while idly browsing the Internet on September 16, 2007—I discovered that he had died. I was shocked, stunned, and disheartened. This wonderful man, a hero to me in my writing career, was gone. The world suddenly became a different place.
I first picked up The Eye of the World in 1990, when I was a teenage fantasy addict visiting my corner bookstore. I became a fan instantly and eagerly awaited The Great Hunt. Over the years, I’ve read the books numerous times, often re-reading the entire series when a new book was released. Time passed, and I decided I wanted to become a fantasy author—influenced, in large part, by how much I loved The Wheel of Time. And yet, never did I think that I would one day get that phone call from Harriet. It came to me as a complete surprise. I had not asked, applied, or dared wish for this opportunity—though when the request was made, my answer was immediate. I love this series as I have loved none other, and the characters feel like old, dear friends from my childhood.
I cannot replace Robert Jordan. Nobody could write this book as well as he could have. That is a simple fact. Fortunately, he left many notes, outlines, completed scenes, and dictated explanations with his wife and assistants. Before his passing, he asked Harriet to find someone to complete the series for his fans. He loved you all very much and spent the very last weeks of his life dictating events for the final volume. It was to be called A Memory of Light.
Eighteen months later, we are here. Mr. Jordan promised that the final book would be big. But the manuscript soon grew prohibitively huge; it would be three times the size of a regular Wheel of Time book, and the decision was made by Harriet and Tor to split A Memory of Light into thirds. There were several excellent breaking points that would give a full and complete story in each third. You may think of The Gathering Storm and its two followers as the three volumes of A Memory of Light or as the final three books of The Wheel of Time. Both are correct.
As of this writing, I am halfway done with the second third. We are working as quickly as is reasonable, and we don’t want you to have to wait too long to get the ending we were all promised nearly twenty years ago. (Mr. Jordan did write this ending himself before he passed away, and I have read it. And it is fantastic.) I have not tried to imitate Mr. Jordan’s style. Instead, I’ve adapted my style to be appropriate to The Wheel of Time. My main goal was to stay true to the souls of the characters. The plot is, in large part, Robert Jordan’s, though many of the words are mine. Imagine this book as the product of a new director working on some of the scenes of a movie while retaining the same actors and script.
But this is a big project, and it will take time to complete. I beg your patience as we spend these next few years perfecting this story. We hold in our hands the ending of the greatest fantasy epic of our time, and I intend to see it done right. I intend to remain true to Mr. Jordan’s wishes and notes. My artistic integrity, and love for the books, will not let me do anything less. In the end, I let the words herein stand as the best argument for what we are doing.
This is not my book. It is Robert Jordan’s book, and to a lesser extent, it is your book.
Thank you for reading.
For Maria Simons and Alan Romanczuk, without whom this book wouldn’t have been possible
PROLOGUE: What the Storm Means
1 Tears from Steel
2 The Nature of Pain
3 The Ways of Honor
5 A Tale of Blood
6 When Iron Melts
7 The Plan for Arad Doman
8 Clean Shirts
9 Leaving Malden
10 The Last of the Tabac
11 The Death of Adrin
12 Unexpected Encounters
13 An Offer and a Departure
14 A Box