Best-selling book series authored by Citadel alumnus available to stream on Amazon Prime

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The first book from “The Wheel of Time” series and James Rigney’s Citadel ring (The Citadel)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- “The Wheel of Time,” a tv show based on a 14-book fantasy novel series authored by Citadel alumnus Robert Jordan, will premiere on Amazon Prime on Friday, November 18.

Before becoming famous around the world as Robert Jordan, a pen name, the author was known as James Rigney Jr., a 1974 graduate of the Citadel.

After serving in the Vietnam War, Rigney Jr. enrolled at the Citadel where he earned a degree in physics. He began writing in 1977 and published the first book in “The Wheel of Time” series in 1990.

Rigney Jr.’s connection to the Citadel does not end with his graduation. In 1999 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of literature from the college and copies of “The Wheel of Time” books are kept on campus in the Rare Books Room in the Daniel Library. The library also has a collection of Rigney memorabilia on display.

The series is notable for its length, detailed imaginary world and magic system, large cast of characters, and cyclical view of time. As of 2021, the series has sold over 90 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling epic fantasy series since “Lord of the Rings.”

“It’s a fantasy, and like many of its forerunners in that genre — from Homer’s ‘Iliad’ to Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ — it’s a work of mythic complexity, shot through with an eye for the realism of trauma: something Rigney had seen first-hand as a decorated helicopter door gunner in Vietnam before he returned to Charleston,” Citadel English professor, Michael Livingston, Ph.D. said.

On Friday, fans of the series will get to see the world that Rigney created come to life on Amazon Prime.

IMDB describes the show as: “Set in a high fantasy world where magic exists, but only some can access it, a woman named Moiraine crosses paths with five young men and women. This sparks a dangerous, world-spanning journey.”

“There’s no underestimating the enormity of the excitement around the world to see the rich world he created, and the rich characters that live and breathe within it, transfer from the page to the screen,” Livingston said.

Rigney died in 2007 after battling a rare blood disease before he finished the series. Author Brandon Sanderson was chosen to complete the series, based on notes left by Rigney.

“We hope that Rigney’s work will inspire future Citadel cadets and students to discover the creative part of their nature and bring imagination to whatever work they choose,” Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Brian Madison Jones, Ph.D. said.

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