New Spring by Robert Jordan
Tor, 2nd mass-market printing, 2000
Synopsis & Review: A prequel to The Eye of the World, New Spring finds Moiraine Damodred freshly raised to the shawl, and traveling the Borderlands in search of boys born on Dragonmount during the last battle of the Aiel War. If she finds him, she will have found the Dragon reborn, prosephied savior and destroyer of the world. But other Aes Sedai are also in the Borderlands, and some of them may be Black Ajah, and trying to find–and kill–the Dragon Reborn in his infancy. There she meets with a al’Lan Mandragoran, a diademed battle lord and King of the lost land of Malkier. As politics swirl about them both, the two must decide how best to fight the Shadow and preserve the world.
New Spring is one novella in Legends (ed. Robert Silverberg); I’ve never read the others, and picked up the book solely for New Spring. Though this was my second time reading it, it was almost like reading something new, for the first time I read it was quite hurriedly in a Borders or Barnes & Noble in Iowa, while my then-boyfriend looked at Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal books. Ah, college. As a consequence, I was far less familiar with it than with the rest of the Wheel of Time books (WoT, for future reference).
Though there is some interesting information on the cultures of the Borderlands, and more details on the events leading up to the series proper, New Spring is only recommended for the most avid fans. It is not the finest addition to the already turgid WoT series, for Jordan’s best work, world-building, is done in the series proper. The comparative brevity of New Spring emphasizes his overblown prose and weakly developed characters. Also irritating is the heavy reliance on blatant exposition throughout the story, making the resolution seem feeble. Completely unnecessary.
Cover: Cluttered with a bunch of names in silver on a black backgorund. Features a tiny, inset illustration by Darrell K. Sweet, who does the notoriously bad WoT covers.
Unwillingly, his eyes followed her gesture to a flat, lacquered box on a small table beside the door. Lifting the hinged lid took as much effort as lifting a boulder. Coiled inside lay a long cord woven of hair. He could recall every moment of the morning after their first night, when she took him to the women’s quarters of the Royal Palace in Fal Moran and let ladies and servants watch as she cut his hair at his shoulders. She even told them what it signified. The women had all been amused, making jokes as he sat at Edeyn’s feet to weave the daori for her. Edeyn kept custom, but in her own way. The hair felt soft and supple; she must have had it rubbed with lotions every day.
29 May – 30 May