Continuing our tribute to Jim Rigney, better known as Robert Jordan (1948-2007), the Book of the Week is the 1998 first edition of Legends, an original anthology edited by Robert Silverberg. This contains the first appearance of "New Spring," a stand-alone novella by Robert Jordan set before the events of his best-selling Wheel of Time series. "New Spring" was later expanded and published in 2004 as a separate novel, a prequel to the main sequence of The Wheel of Time. It spent five weeks in the top ten of the New York Times bestseller list, but never hit #1 due to poor timing -- it came out during The Da Vinci Code's long run at #1.
Robert Silverberg designed the two Legends anthologies to showcase some of the most popular secondary worlds in modern fantasy. It is a great way to sample The Wheel of Time before deciding whether to dive in to the series' many thousands of pages. Other very successful fantasy worlds for which Legends provides a nice introduction include Stephen King's Dark Tower series, Terry Pratchett's Discworld, and George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire.
If the worlds' leading science fiction and fantasy authors will all refrain from dying this week, next week's Book of the Week will begin a survey of some of the most recent additions to my collection. In honor of the American Library Association' s Banned Books Week, we will begin with a novel that (like A Wrinkle in Time, our BOTW three weeks back) ranks high on the list of most frequently challenged books.