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Monday, December 10, 2007

Brandon Sanderson chosen to complete Robert Jordan's A Memory of Light; Winners of the Shooting War giveaway!; The Children of Húrin Limited Edition!

On Friday, December 7, 2007, Tor Books announced that novelist Brandon Sanderson had been chosen to finish the final novel in Robert Jordan's bestselling Wheel of Time fantasy series. Robert Jordan, one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th and early 21st centuries, died September 16th after a courageous battle with the rare blood disease amyloidosis.

The new novel, “A Memory of Light”, will be the twelfth and final book in the beloved fantasy series which has sold over 14 million copies in North America and over 30 million copies worldwide. The last four books in the series were all #1 New York Times bestsellers, and for over a decade fans have been eagerly awaiting the final novel that would bring the epic story to its conclusion.

Harriet Popham Rigney, Jordan's beloved wife and editor, said of her decision to have Sanderson complete the last book in The Wheel of Time series: "I have chosen Brandon Sanderson to complete Robert Jordan's great work, and I am absolutely delighted that he accepted. I will of course be editing this book as I have all of the other books of The Wheel of Time."

President and Publisher of Tor Books, Tom Doherty, also expressed his happiness with Harriet's decision, saying: "I am delighted that Harriet has chosen Brandon to complete Robert Jordan's magnificent and timeless epic."

It is the perfect match for Sanderson, who gratefully acknowledges the role Jordan played as an inspiration to him as a writer. In the tribute piece "Goodbye Mr. Jordan," posted on his blog, Sanderson writes to Jordan: "Personally, I feel indebted to you. You showed me what it was to have vision and scope in a fantasy series—you showed me what could be done. I still believe that without your success, many younger authors like myself would never have had a chance at publishing their dreams. You go quietly, but leave us trembling."

Like Jordan, Sanderson was an avid reader and writer from an early age. His debut novel, “Elantris”, was an unagented gem discovered after Sanderson, then a college student writing during his late night shift at a local hotel, approached Tor editor Moshe Feder at a fantasy convention. Several months later, after reading the manuscript and deciding he had to have it, Feder tried to find the author, who had since moved. Using the internet, he tracked down Sanderson through a campus directory—and the rest is history.

Sanderson has since gone on to establish a loyal fan base as the author of three critically acclaimed fantasy novels: “Elantris”, “Mistborn”, and “The Well of Ascension”, as well as a YA novel, “Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians”. Publishing trade magazines Publishers Weekly and Library Journal gave “Elantris” starred reviews and it was the winner of the Romantic Times Award for Best Epic Fantasy. The Washington Post also praised Sanderson for his creation of "a fascinating world" in “Mistborn”.

Sanderson will have large shoes to fill in his role bringing “A Memory of Light” to publication but will work very closely with Jordan's longtime editor, Harriet Rigney, to be sure that the writing stays true to Jordan's voice. Jordan himself worked on the novel almost daily for the last few months of his life and according to Harriet: "Some scenes were completed by Robert Jordan, and some exist in draft form; he left copious notes and hours of audio recordings."

Jordan had known the ending of the series for a long time and, according to a blog posting by his cousin, Wilson W. Grooms, Jr., on the popular Jordan fan site
www.dragonmount.com, Jordan had a few months ago revealed secret details about the end of the series to close members of his family which he had never discussed before. Grooms wrote: "During a recent family sit around, he [Jordan] became the Gleeman and told the bones of it ALL to Harriet and me. You read that right, I did say ALL. Don't ask, ain't telling. Two and a half hours of story telling by the Creator himself went by in the twinkling of an eye."

Sanderson knows that fans are very anxious to read the last novel in The Wheel of Time series and says, "I'm both extremely excited and daunted by this opportunity. There is only one man who could have done this book the way it deserved to be written, and we lost him in September. However, I promise to do my very best to remain true to Mr. Jordan's vision and produce the book we have all been waiting to read."

At a recent Toastmaster's address at the World Fantasy Con this past November, author Guy Gavriel Kay saluted Jordan's enduring legacy, stating that his "impact on the place of fantasy in the culture is colossal."

Jordan has also often been referred to as Tolkien's heir and in an article about The Wheel of Time series, The New York Times lauded Jordan for his extraordinary story-telling ability: "The books' battle scenes have the breathless urgency of firsthand experience, and the ambiguities in these novels—the evil laced into the forces of good, the dangers latent in any promised salvation, the sense of the unavoidable onslaught of unpredictable events—bear the marks of American national experience during the last three decades, just as the experience of the First World War and its aftermath gave its imprint to Tolkien's work."

John Clute said of Jordan's magnum opus, "when complete, the sequence will almost certainly constitute one of the major epic narratives of modern fantasy."

Now Brandon Sanderson has signed on to complete “A Memory of Light”, with scheduled delivery of the manuscript in December 2008 and a planned publication date of Fall 2009. "The Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time?"

For more on the announcement, check out Brandon Sanderson’s recent interview HERE at Dragonmount, Brandon’s forum HERE for a discussion, you can leave comments at Brandon’s LiveJournal HERE, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing the announcement discussed on plenty of other blogs and messageboards as well :) For myself, I’m not sure what to think about it at the moment. On the one hand, it’s obviously pretty cool because it means that “A Memory of Light” will get published :D On the other hand, as much as I like Brandon Sanderson as an author, he doesn’t seem like the right choice. Then again, I’ve thought that many times with certain movies and directors which have gone on to completely surprise me, so I’ll have to save my judgments for when the book is actually completed :)

In other news, congratulations to David Ellis (KY), Laura Kubitz (IL) and Sarah Heacox who all won a copy of the graphic novel “Shooting War” by Anthony Lappé +
Dan Goldman thanks to Hachette Book Group USA!!! For those not sure what “Shooting War” is, be sure to check out my review HERE and the official website HERE.

Finally, HarperCollins Publishers are giving readers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of Tolkien history. “The Children of Húrin” was one of 2007’s biggest sellers, and here is your chance to own one of just 500 copies, signed by both the acclaimed illustrator Alan Lee and J.R.R. Tolkien's son Christopher, who compiled and edited the story from his father’s manuscripts. Each edition is leather-bound and hand-sewn; hand-numbered to 500; features unique illustrations and a two-color fold-out map, and comes in a custom leather clamshell case. A bit on the pricey side, but it would make a wonderful Christmas present :) For more information and to order a copy, the book is currently available to purchase exclusively at the new
Tolkien.co.uk online store HERE.

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