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Author Robert Jordan Dies

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Author Robert Jordan Dies

By BRUCE SMITH ? 2 hours ago

Source: Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) ? Author Robert Jordan, whose "Wheel of Time" series of fantasy novels sold millions of copies, died Sunday of a rare blood disease. He was 58.

Jordan, whose real name was James Oliver Rigney Jr., was born and lived in this southern city most of his life. He died at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston of complications from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy, his personal assistant, Maria Simons, said Monday. The blood disease caused the walls of Rigney's heart to thicken.

He wrote a trilogy of historical novels set in Charleston under the pen name Reagan O'Neal in the early 1980s. Then he turned his attention to fantasy and the first volume in his Wheel of Time epic, "The Eye of the World," was published in 1990 under the name Robert Jordan.

Jordan's books tells of Rand al'Thor, who is destined to become the champion who will battle ultimate evil in a mythical land.

Book 11, "Knife of Dreams," came out in 2005; there was also a prequel, "New Spring: The Novel," in 2004. The other titles in the series include "The Great Hunt," "Lord of Chaos" and "The Path of Daggers." Jordan was working on a 12th volume at the time of his death, Simons said.

"The younger devotees of the series, who seem to be legion, have a habit of dutifully rereading the complete gospel before each addition. ... (Jordan) creates a universe simple enough to master and then challenges the characters to do the same in meticulously choreographed battles against chaos and dissolution."

In a 2004 online chat on the USA Today Web site, Jordan said he hoped to finish the main "Wheel" series in two more books. "It's not an absolute promise, but I'm very much hoping for it and I think I can do it," he wrote.

Most of the books made The New York Times list of best sellers.

In an interview with The Associated Press in 2003, Jordan discussed having a best seller. The first time it happens "you go out in the middle of the floor and you do a little dance. Then you go someplace booze is being served and buy a drink for everybody in the house.

"You have to have talent to some extent ? I certainly hope I have talent ? but you have to have luck as well," Jordan said. "Once you get that first shot, that will get you noticed for the rest of your books and that will give the rest of your books a better chance."

He said in the interview that his Southern background came through in his work, even though it is set in a fantasy world.

"What I write is certainly not set in South Carolina, but I have had a number of reviewers comment on the fact that I write with a distinctly Southern voice," he said.

"It goes beyond more than simply where the story is set. I believe it is something we take in in the air and the water. It's a matter of word choices ? of the rhythms of sentences and the rhythm of speech in particular."

A graduate of The Citadel, South Carolina's state military college, Rigney worked as a nuclear engineer at the old Charleston Naval Shipyard before taking up writing full time in 1977. He served two tours of duty with the Army in Vietnam. He was decorated several times, including winning the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star.

He is survived by his wife, Harriet McDougal Rigney.

Funeral arrangements had not been finalized on Monday, Simons said.

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I enjoyed reading The Wheel of Time series. I used to ride the train into my downtown office, and the many books in the series kept me entertained during many a ride in and out of the downtown corridor.

To be honest, the series ran so long, I sort of got burned out on it after reading book eight, The Path of Daggers. Part of the problem, I think, was that I was reading The Wizards First Rule series, by Terry Goodkind at the same time.

Still, Jordan created excellent, believable characters, and a fascinating world for his story to unfold on. One day, I'll go back and re-read The Wheel of Time series from start to finish, or as close as we'll get, since it would appear from the article that Robert Jordan was working on book twelve when he passed away.

What a shame, he passed too soon. It seems the song was right: Only the good die young. :hehe:

Rick

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My first series read was Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. Of course she died before finishing the series, and it made me VERY leery about reading any series before its completion. I started the Wheel series, thinking it would be a short one, but as there came to be more and more of them, I finally weened myself off them. Well written, but not worth my sense of irritation at the lack of closure.

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My first series read was Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. Of course she died before finishing the series, and it made me VERY leery about reading any series before its completion.

Jean M. Auel is still alive as far as I know. She's been sick, which is why it took so long for the fifth book to come out, but she's working on the sixth (and last) book in the series (to the best of my knowledge).

I'm sadden by Robert Jordan's death, though I feel guilty that my first thought was about the lack of completion of the series. While that's the main contact we have with the author, it still makes me feel shallow that my first reaction was so selfish. My condolences to his family :(

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The last I had heard of Jean Auel was that she was at death's door, and that was many years ago. I apologize for reporting her prematurely gone, but with no further books coming out, I just assumed the worst.

Graeme, I don't think it is shallow to think first of your only real connection with an author. It is quite natural to relate in a personal way first, and then expand to the larger perspective, and see the feelings of the author's family.

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I'm sadden by Robert Jordan's death, though I feel guilty that my first thought was about the lack of completion of the series. While that's the main contact we have with the author, it still makes me feel shallow that my first reaction was so selfish. My condolences to his family :(

I feel badly for his family, but as a reader I've long since given up on WOT. It became repetitive, predictable, and pedantic. Was I the only one who noticed Jordan's penchant for minute details of everything even when neither necessary nor interesting. I read the first ones gleefuly, then read them with interest. When I read eight "Why am I reading if it feels like I'm slogging my way through" and that, sirs, was that.

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