Tue
Mar 16 2010 2:23pm
Lord of Chaos eBook now available

Gather ‘round and let me tell you a story. At JordanCon2009, I got to sit in on an interview with Tom Doherty for Robert Jordan’s biography. He commented about how Jordan had expected the Wheel of Time to be only a trilogy, but even then Harriet and Tom knew that was not likely and had insisted on signing him for six books. Obviously, by The Dragon Reborn, the story was going to take longer than Jordan had expected. By Lord of Chaos, the last of the originally contracted books, it was clear Jordan was taking things to a whole new, and wonderful, level.

See, in prior books, there had always been “happy endings.” Yes, the heroes were beat up and a little worse for wear, but they had eked out a victory. The Eye was denied to the Forsaken, the Seanchan were driven back into the ocean, Callandor was drawn and Be’lal toasted, Asmodean was captured, and both Cairhien and Caemlyn were saved and Lanfear and Rahvin were slain (talk about the motherload of spoilers). But in Lord of Chaos, the supposed success of the heroes is exactly what the Shadow wanted. And that, my friends, is why I love it.

So, to jut off on a slightly (or completely) other tangent, Jordan was well known for his stance on the necessity of the struggle between Good and Evil. He was not a fan of moral relativism, even if he did paint in shades of gray often. There was always a pure black and a pure white. And while I am a moral relativist myself—as many a commenter over in Leigh’s re-reads may have noticed—I am still enthralled with the world Jordan painted. See, it was not just that he was portraying a world of Good vs. Evil, it was that he was portraying a world where the Evil could very likely win. In his own blog, Jordan said:

Take a step back and look at what the forces of the Shadow have wrought.  The world and the forces of the Light are in bad shape.  At this point, boys and girls, the Shadow is winning.

Lord of Chaos is where this feeling starts to become apparent. Case in point: the last line of the book, instead of being part of the “rumors carrying” theme Jordan was so fond of, or of the heroes in their victory, is Demandred gloating to the Dark One about how well he has done.

What’s more, beyond the “Point Shadow” end of the book, the villains now have several more arenas for fighting Rand. For the last two books, Jordan had been introducing us to more and more of the political intrigue and currents of his world, but I feel this is where it really starts to unfold. No longer can Rand afford to be a gallivanting hero who charges in head first (not that it stops him), or an influential wanderer who comes and goes and changes everything in his wake (not that he doesn’t try). He has three nations that he’s juggling, all full of people trying to backstab him. He has obligation after duty, and the dreaded List has begun. His descent into overstressed neurosis fueled by the taint on saidin is becoming apparent, and the world is spinning out with him. After all, the Dragon is one with the land.

Now add to it the introduction of Taim and the men-turned-into-weapons Asha’man, the start of Perrin’s struggle with his inner wolf’s blood-thirst, and the endless scheming of the Aes Sedai, both light and Black, and you have a novel of political intrigue and subterfuge that still delivers on action and bravado. Speaking of bravado, there is a healthy helping of Mat’s comic relief while still being an awesome hero to give us small breaks from the woes and trials of the Shadow’s assault. Most cleverly of all though, Jordan fooled a great many of us into thinking the Light won, when really it was all just a Xanatos Gambit.

Is Lord of Chaos my favorite book? Well, to echo my predecessors, my favorite book is all of them, but this one definitely ranks up there. So go forth, my jackdaw fools. Download an eBook or six. And try to not get too lost staring at the gorgeous covers.


Richard Fife is an aspiring writing, the Rick-Roller of the WoT Obsessed, and an occasional blogger. More of his ramblings on writing and storytelling, as well as some of his short stories, can be found at http://richardfife.com.

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12 comments
Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
Great summation Richard. I couldn't have put it better myself. Congratulations on being the one to write it up
Rob Munnelly
2. RobMRobM
Nice job, Monsieur Fife. Don't forget the little people as you move onward and upward....

Rob
T C
3. Freelancer
Relativist? You? I hadn't noticed...

Nicely done. You and Sam should collaborate. He just needs a shawl. Which ajah were you again, Samadai?
john massey
4. subwoofer
Wow, I clicked on the link, fully prepared to be rick-rolled and an actual blog took place. Go figure. Something about animals not pooping where they eat... Glad to see you have learned that. Well done. A journeyman summation.

But yeah, join forces with Sam, from what I read there is a bit of Brown in him but maybe leans towards the Green.

Personally, I am still on the fence for e-books. I was heavily thinking about it and I figured I would wait for the new Mac tablet to come out, and then thought better of it and my wait for the tablet v2.0 to come out after reflecting on the iphone fiasco. One must learn from mistakes.

Woof™.
john massey
6. subwoofer
Yay! A crusader! You are the first to take up the color of causes, I knew you had it in you. Awesome:)

Woof™.
J.Dauro
7. J.Dauro
Great job Mr. Fife. Extremely well put, and made me think a bit. Hope to see you this year in Atlanta.
Gabrielle Rashad
8. neverearth
While painting, I find that if you add enough blue to brown, you get Black. Watch out for those Blue-Browns. ;)

Anyway, a great job on summing up the series so far. Can't say I'll buy the ebooks anytime soon, since I don't have the money. But I'm looking into investing in one of those ebook-reader-things. 'Tis the only way I'll be able to carry around my library.
Roger Powell
9. forkroot
Nicely written Fifester ... we may yet forgive you those Rick-Rolls.

What would make eBooks stand apart from their bound brethren would be the ability to "mash-up". Now that I've read the series a time or two (or three) what would tempt me to purchase an electronic copy would be a mash-up where I could mash-up the notes from the WOT Encyclopedia nicely super-scripted/footnoted into the main text.

Or what about other mash-ups? Like some enterprising soul inserting collected RJ comments (from interviews) at just the right point in the texts?
Tess Laird
10. thewindrose
Nice work Richard Sedai. Wish I could be at the con, but look forward to another write up from you - perhaps?(Like last year)

tempest™
Heather Johnson
11. HeatherJ
Richard: I love that you got to do one of these posts ... it is so immensely appropriate. And great job too!
Philbert de Zwart
12. philbert
Interesting perspective, but you! you sprung the tvtropes trap and have ruined my productivity for the rest of the day!

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