The Wheel of Time is a well known fantasy series by the late author Robert Jordan that has a pretty serious following. I came to know of it because of Brandon Sanderson's involvement in finishing the series after Jordan's death in 2007, Sanderson being one of my favorites. Once I learned a bit about the story, I added it to my reading list. The series consists of 15 novels with the first being The Eye of the World. However, some 15 years and 10 books after the publication of the first book, Jordan released a "book 0" in the series, a prequel to help tell some of the back story about how the protagonists met. I decided to start with this book, New Spring.
The story begins in the land of Tar Valon at the end of the Aiel War. There we are introduced to a monastic order of powerful women with mystical powers whose ways are mysterious and ancient. A sisterhood to which all kingdom's pay a grand tribute. One of the officers of the Aes Sedai has an explosive vision in which she foretells the birth of the legendary savior of the people, the hero who will defeat the forces of darkness. A young initiate, Moiraine Damodred, overhears the vision and vows to go in search of the child. If the Aes Sedai cannot find the child first, the forces of darkness will destroy him in short order. On her journey Moiraine meets up with a man who at once unnerves and frustrates her. She cannot tell whether this Lan Mandragoran is a brigand or an oaf. Yet their fortunes become entwined when it seems the dark forces have targeted each of them. In time Moiraine learns that Lan is the chosen king of the long dead Malkieri kingdom, and Lan learns that Moiraine is a sorceress of the feared Aes Sedai. Yet when they understand that they have no past, only a common future, they bind their souls together in their common quest to find the "Dragon Reborn."
As the first book in a lengthy series, I was more than pleased to find an author who has the skill to pull me into an epic adventure that promises to be a great ride. The rumors of this series and its great reputation are well deserved. I move on now to the official first book in the series, The Eye of the World.