The Gathering Storm is the twelfth novel in the Wheel of Time sequence. It was originally thought that it would be under the supertitle A Memory of Light, but is now being marketed as 'Book Twelve'. The Gathering Storm is the first of three novels that make up what was planned as A Memory of Light.

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Hardback cover

While the final novel, A Memory of Light, according to author Robert Jordan, was originally to have been released in one large volume "whether it is 1500 pages long, Tor has to invent a new binding system, or it comes with its own library cart" , it was announced on March 25, 2009 that a decision has been reached by Tor Books, Harriet Rigney, and Brandon Sanderson to release it in three parts, starting on 27 October 2009.[1] It is 1120 pages long.

Blurb from DragonCon

An early blurb (under the title The Gathering Clouds) was included in the DragonCon 2009 program. [2]

Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, looms. And mankind is not ready.

A Memory of Light was partially finished by Robert Jordan before his untimely passing in 2007. Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn books, was chosen by Jordan’s editor—his wife, Harriet McDougal—to complete the final book. The scope and size of the novel was such that it can not be contained in a single volume, and so TOR proudly presents A Memory of Light:

Gathering Clouds[3] as the first in a short sequence of novels that will complete the struggle against the Shadow, bringing to a close a journey begun almost twenty years ago and marking the conclusion of the Wheel of Time, the preeminent fantasy epic of our era.

In this epic novel, Robert Jordan’s international bestselling series begins its dramatic conclusion. Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, struggles to unite a fractured network of kingdoms and alliances in preparation for the Last Battle. As he attempts to halt the Seanchan encroachment northward—wishing he could form at least a temporary truce with the invaders—his allies work in desperation to forestall the shadow that seems to be growing within the heart of the Dragon Reborn himself.

Egwene al’Vere, the Amyrlin Seat of the rebel Aes Sedai, is a captive of the White Tower and subject to the whims of their tyrannical leader. As days tick toward the Seanchan attack she knows is imminent, Egwene works to hold together the disparate factions of Aes Sedai while providing leadership in the face of increasing uncertainty and despair. Her fight will prove the mettle of the Aes Sedai, and her conflict will decide the future of the White Tower—and therefore the world itself.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. [4]

The Gathering Storm Provisional Cover

Provisional cover art for The Gathering Storm

Other Pre-Release Details

JordanCon also saw a recording being played of Robert Jordan reading a summary of the first scene in the prologue to the final book.

Brandon Sanderson has given some further information about the book on his Twitter feed. The book is to have 21 distinct PoVs and will have 50 chapters, not including the prologue and epilogue.

The first chapter was able to be read online for free until the end of September 2009, courtesy of Tor. The audio book clip of the same chapter is also available, as is the Prologue e-book (for sale).

Plot Summary

The Gathering Storm centers on the stories of two characters, primary protagonist Rand al'Thor and Egwene al'Vere. While the stories of main characters such as Perrin Aybara and Mat Cauthon are briefly touched upon, they have little bearing on the main plotline. Some main characters such as Elayne Trakand and Lan Mandragoran do not appear at all, but are referred to.

Rand's story begins in Arad Doman, restoring order while searching for the Forsaken Graendal. The Aes Sedai working with Rand interrogate Semirhage, but she is freed by Shaidar Haran. She takes a Domination Band, an item used to control male channelers, and locks it around Rand's neck. She and Black sister Elza Penfell use it to make him torture and attempt to kill his lover, Min Farshaw. Unable to touch saidin, he reaches out in desperation and embraces the True Power, possibly through his connection to Moridin, using it to free himself and kill Semirhage and Elza. After this, he resolves to make himself harder and emotionless. He banishes Cadsuane for not securing the Domination Band, promising to kill her if he sees her face again.

Rand meets at Falme with the Seanchan leader, the Daughter of the Nine Moons, Tuon, to discuss a truce. When Tuon senses the dark aura and mood from the Dragon Reborn, she rejects his terms. Following the meeting, Tuon declares herself Empress, taking a new name and approving a surprise attack against the White Tower to reduce what she sees as a source of Rand's strength.

Graendal's hiding place is eventually traced to a remote palace in Arad Doman. Confirming her presence, Rand uses the Choedan Kal to eliminate the entire building with balefire. This horrifies Min and Nynaeve al'Meara, and they turn to Cadsuane for help. Giving up on saving Arad Doman from the Seanchan and starvation, Rand returns to Tear.

The second main plot thread follows Egwene al'Vere, leader of the rebel faction of Aes Sedai. After her capture by the White Tower in the previous book, Egwene works to undermine Elaida a'Roihan's rule and mend the strife it is causing between the Ajahs in the White Tower. She is initially granted freedom of the tower as novice, but after denouncing Elaida as a coward and a tyrant, Elaida names her Darkfriend and orders her imprisonment. When Elaida fails to prove her accusation, Egwene is released and instead the Mistress of Novices, Silviana Brehon, is scapegoated for failing to control Egwene's behavior.

Egwene returns to her room to find Verin Mathwin, who announces that she is of the Black Ajah. Taking advantage of a loophole in the unbreakable oath Verin had sworn that she could not betray them "until the hour of my death", she fatally poisons herself, allowing her to use her last hour to reveal everything she has learned to Egwene. Verin explains that although she was forced to swear fealty to them or face death, she used the position to research the Black sisterhood. She provides Egwene with a journal detailing the group's structure and nearly every member.

The Seanchan then raid the White Tower. The fractured state of the tower prevents an effective defense and many Aes Sedai are captured or killed before Egwene, leading a group of novices, succeeds in driving off the Seanchan. Siuan Sanche, Gawyn Trakand and Gareth Bryne mount a rescue for Egwene. When they find her, she is so exhausted that she cannot protest when they extract her against her orders. After Egwene awakens in the camp, she complains that they may have ruined her chances to gain credit among the Tower loyalists for defeating the Seanchan.

Using the information provided by Verin, Egwene begins to expose the Black Ajah among the rebels, requiring every sister to re-swear her allegiances. Fifty sisters are exposed and executed, while twenty are able to escape. Taking advantage of the weakened White Tower defenses following the Seanchan raid, the rebels prepare an immediate attack. Just before the attack is mounted, the Tower Aes Sedai announce that Elaida was captured in the Seanchan raid, and that they would have Egwene as the Amyrlin Seat. She appoints Silviana as her Keeper as a gesture to the Red Ajah and in honor of Silviana's sense of duty and fairness (she stood up to Elaida following Egwene's imprisonment, and was nearly stilled and executed for it). The rebels return, and after exposing the Black Ajah in the tower itself, they begin rebuilding the Tower.

Nynaeve, under the instruction of Cadsuane, locates Tam al'Thor, Rand's father, who meets with Rand in an attempt to break his emotional isolation. Rand becomes angry when he learns that Tam was sent by Cadsuane, nearly killing his father before fleeing in horror at what he had almost done. Rand Travels to Ebou Dar, intending to destroy the entire Seanchan army, but he becomes reluctant to act after seeing how peaceful the city is, and their concern for him when he is struck by his channeling sickness. Nearly mad with rage and grief, he Travels to the top of Dragonmount, the location where he killed himself as Lews Therin Telamon. Angry at the futility of life bound to the Wheel and its repeating pattern, he uses the Choedan Kal to draw enough power to destroy the world and end all suffering. Lews Therin seizes a moment of lucidity and suggests that by being reborn to the same life, one has the opportunity to do things right. Agreeing, Rand turns the power of the Choedan Kal against itself, destroying it. Rand is finally able to laugh again, and the oppressive clouds which had shrouded the Westlands for weeks finally break.


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Egwene battles a raken.

The ebook for The Gathering Storm was created by Todd Lockwood. It shows Egwene al'Vere fighting a raken.

Statistical Analysis

See also the full statistical analysis for this book.

The Gathering Storm contains 50 chapters, a prologue and an epilogue, in 28 different POVs, of which:

POV % Chapters
Egwene al'Vere 21.08% Ch2, 20% of Ch6, Ch12, 16, 43% of Ch25, Ch 38, 39, 32% of Ch40, 17% of Ch411, 55% of Ch432, Ch45, 46, and 97% of the Epilogue
Rand al'Thor 14.91% Ch1, 65% of Ch5, 35% of Ch15, 85% of Ch22, Ch29, 53% of Ch31, 38% of Ch35, Ch42, 47, 49 and 50
Matrim Cauthon 10.75% Ch20, 27, 28, 34, and 76% of Ch36
Nynaeve al'Meara 8.86% Ch7, 32, 33, and 44
Gawyn Trakand 6.81% Ch4, 13, 24, 30 and 19% of Ch41
Siuan Sanche 4.86% Ch8, 18, 40% of Ch403, and 12% of Ch43
Aviendha 4.73% Ch3, 11, 21% of Ch15, and 67% of Ch26
Min Farshaw 4.36% 44% of Ch15, Ch37, and 48
Cadsuane Melaidhrin 4.18% 35% of Ch5, Ch14, 53% of Ch17, Ch23, and 47% of Ch31
Tuon Athaem Kore Paendrag 3.84% Ch19, 62% of Ch35, and 24% of Ch36
Perrin Aybara 2.88% Ch9, 47% of Ch17, and 29% of Ch214
Rodel Ituralde 2.37% 8.5% of the Prologue, 43% of Ch6, and Ch10
Renald Fanwar 1.30% 29% of the Prologue
Faile Bashere 1.30% 71% of Ch21
Graendal 1.13% 26% of the Prologue
Gareth Bryne 0.94% 35% of Ch41
Jesse Bilal 0.89% 33% of Ch43
Saerin Asnobar 0.68% 25% of Ch411
Romanda Cassin 0.62% 33% of Ch26
Falendre 0.61% 14% of the Prologue
Adelorna Bastine 0.58% 28% of Ch40
Tylee Khirgan 0.49% 11% of the Prologue
Masema Dagar 0.49% 11% of the Prologue
Sheriam Bayanar 0.45% 57% of Ch25
Leane Sharif 0.39% 37% of Ch6
Semirhage 0.37% 15% of Ch22
Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan 0.10% 4% of Ch41
Quote 0.04% 0.5% of the Prologue and 3% of the Epilogue
1 Chapter 41 has seven points of view, two of which are from Egwene al'Vere's POV and two of which are from Saerin Asnobar's. Egwene al'Vere's first is 19% of the chapter and her second is 10% of the chapter. Saerin Asnobar's first is 19% of the chapter and her second is 6% of the chapter.
2 Chapter 43 has four points of view, two of which are from Egwene al'Vere's POV. Her first is 24% of the chapter and her second is 31% of the chapter.
3 Chapter 40 has four points of view, two of which are from Siuan Sanche's POV. Her first is 17% of the chapter and her second is 23% of the chapter.
4 Chapter 21 has three points of view, two of which are from Perrin Aybara's POV. His first is 24% of the chapter and his second is 5% of the chapter.


  1. Tor announces The Gathering Storm
  2. Source:
  3. This synopsis predates the change from The Gathering Clouds to The Gathering Storm
  4. The book is offically listed as written by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson and is named Book 12 rather than Book 12:Part One.