Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Knife of Dreams

WoT11 KnifeOfDreams.jpg

In the eleventh main Wheel of Time novel, the last written solely by Robert Jordan before his death, the Last Battle draws near, with Rand al’Thor slated to battle the Dark One as the only hope for humanity. In the meantime, Perrin makes a truce with the Seanchan and a deal with the Dark One in want of his kidnapped wife Faile. Moreover, Mat flees through the Seanchan-controlled land of Altara with Tuon, the kidnapped Daughter of the Nine Moons, who leads him on a spirited chase. Furthermore, Elayne fights for her rightful Lion Throne while wishing to avert civil war, and Egwene in the White Tower attempts to undermine those loyal to Elaida.

Unlike prior books, which Jordan mostly dedicated to his wife Harriet, he instead dedicates the eleventh entry to the prematurely-deceased Charles St. George Sinkler Adams, and opens with a fictitious quote that “inspired” the book’s title. The prologue, as has been the case throughout the series, follows multiple perspectives and updates readers on what the various characters are doing at the time the novel opens, with Galad and his companions, for one, riding to the manor house that the Seanchan had given Eamon Valda, Sashalle being healed, Talene receiving an order to appear before the Supreme Council, Alviarin being marked by the Great Lord, and Egwene entering Tel’aran’rhiod, hoping tos peak with Siuan.

The main chapters open with the same windy motif that precedes the primary text of prior series entries, with the Amyrlin Egwene’s life in danger, with fear that her death would result in her replacement by Romanda, whom many Aes Sedai would consider worse than Elaida; Lelaine also yearns for the post of the Amyrlin dies. Mat in the meantime continues to follow Valan Luca’s Grand Traveling Show and Magnificent Display of Marvels and Wonders, and Thom receives a letter from Moiraine claiming that she isn’t dead, after which the minstrel yearns to visit the Tower of Ghenjei.

Elayne, in the meantime, fears for her forthcoming children, receiving security against assassins that would have her brought to the Tower to continue her training as Aes Sedai. Several sorceresses receive accusations of being members of the taboo Black Ajah, and towards the end of the book a series of well-described battles occur, involving both Ogier and humans alike, with Rand’s father Tam leading a few of them. Elayne ultimately finds herself captive of Darkfriends, and the book itself ends with word of Aes Sedai bonding men who can channel, Asha’man, as Warders. Overall, this entry is a good swan song for the author before his death, although the prologue may confuse some given its abrupt switches in perspective.

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