Select one of the keywords
New Spring: The Wheel of Time In the Beginning    by Robert Jordan order for
New Spring
by Robert Jordan
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Much as I enjoy the series, I found it refreshing to take a break from the tangled maze that the seemingly neverending Wheel of Time has become, and take a breath of cool, clear air in the simpler times of Jordan's prequel, New Spring. Indeed, it felt like reading The Eye of the World for the first time again.

Two parallel stories come together late in the novel. The first follows firm friends Moraine (later to become Queen of Cairhien and Elayne's mother) and Siuan, both Aes Sedai Accepted, who wear the Serpent Ring in a White Tower that is still strong, though less than it once was. On duty serving the Amyrlin Tamra, the pair witness Keeper of the Chronicles Gitara exercise a rare gift of Foretelling. Dying, she prophesies doom and the 'Last Battle' in the rebirth of the Dragon on Dragonmount ... 'He lies in the snow and cries like the thunder! He burns like the sun!' Tamra keeps it secret but instigates a rich bounty for women with recent newborns, in an attempt to locate the baby.

At the same time, we meet Lan, Lord Mandragoran (heir of the dead Malkieri nation) and his last retainer Bukama in battle against the Aiel, who have spilled from the Waste across the 'Spine of the World' to ravage Cairhien. The war ends when the Aiel inexplicably retreat, and Lan heads to Canluum, where he meets his oldest (other than Bukama) friend Ryne, learns that his 'carneira' (first lover) Edeyn Arrel has raised the Golden Crane banner in his name, and barely escapes assassination. Jordan paints his violent scenes in vibrant colors ... 'Time slowed, flowed like cool honey' or 'The graylark sang, and the lean man shrieked as Cutting the Clouds removed his right hand at the wrist'.

We see Moraine and Siuan win their Blue Aes Sedai shawls, despite Elaida's interventions. Then, after the sudden death of her uncles, it becomes clear to Moraine that the Tower plans to put her on the throne of Cairhien, a prospect that she dreads. Moraine and Siuan have made it their mission to seek the boy whose birth Gitara saw as she died. Fleeing the White Tower, in search of the child, Moraine meets Lan's party en route to Chachin. There, all the players in this episode come together, including the Black Ajah, who have already begun a systematic slaughter of babes and Aes Sedai.

As the novel ends, Siuan, Moraine and Lan are firmly launched on their future paths, but there's still room for more adventures in this period that follows Rand al'Thor's birth. I hope that Robert Jordan writes them for us!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews