A Series in Time: Robert Jordan's Extraordinary Saga Ends
Today marks an event more than two decades in the making for fans of Robert Jordan's fantasy series The Wheel of Time; the 15th and final installment, A Memory of Light, hits the shelves. This final book (like the two before it) was completed by author Brandon Sanderson, who used extensive notes left behind by Jordan when he passed away in 2007, and (like all of the Wheel of Time novels) it was edited by Jordan's wife Harriet McDougal.
The wildly popular series -- which has sold more than 40 million copies in more than 30 languages -- comes full circle just one week shy of 23 years to the day that the first volume, The Eye of the World, was first released.
In honor of the triumphant finish of this epic tale, we take a look back at each book within the context of what was happening in the world at the time of its release.
The Eye of the World
The '80s were officially over and Apartheid was on its way out, too. The world's biggest McDonalds opened in Moscow, Joe Montana was the MVP of Super Bowl XXIV, and exactly one day before this book got the Wheel of Time spinning, The Simpsons debuted on FOX.
The Great Hunt
America was a few months into Operation Desert Storm when President Bush dubbed dictator Saddam Hussein "The New Hitler." The World Wide Web launched, Home Alone held the No. 1 spot at the box office, and Grammy-winning duo Milli Vanilli was mired in a lip-syncing scandal.
The Dragon Reborn
Anita Hill testified against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton announced his bid for the 1992 presidency. Mariah Carey's "Emotions" held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Shadow Rising
Inflation hit the Peanuts hard as Lucy's fee for Psychiatric Help increased from 5 cents to a whopping 47 cents. Stefan Edberg finally defeated Michael Chang for a US Open win after a match that lasted 5 hours and 26 minutes. Boyz II Men topped the Billboard Hot 100 with "End of the Road."
The Fires of Heaven
Nelson Mandela and South Africa president F.W. de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize. Tupac Shakur was charged with aggravated assault for firing on police officers who had fired at him. Mariah Carey topped the Billboard charts again, this time with "Dreamlover."
Lord of Chaos
Raul Julia and Burt Lancaster passed away. Susan Smith swore her two children had been carjacked (later admitting she'd killed them). Pulp Fiction ruled the box office. Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson announced his retirement.
Crown of Swords
Daytime Emmy Award nominee Susan Lucci failed to win for the 16th time. Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" was No. 1 on the Billboard Charts.
The Path of Daggers
Matthew Shepard was discovered tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming after being tortured and murdered for being gay. The House of Representatives voted in favor of an impeachment inquiry of President Clinton. Google launched.
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones tied the knot. Whether the presidency will be won by Al Gore or George W. Bush came down to Florida. Hillary Clinton was elected to the United States Senate.
Crossroads of Twilight
Hulk Hogan returned to the WWE. Eminem was at No. 1 on the Billboard charts with "Lose Yourself." Kobe Bryant sunk his 12th 3-point shot in a single game, breaking the NBA record. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was the No. 1 film.
Radio personality/countdown show host Casey Kasum retired from "American Top 40." My space launched. A 60-ton sperm whale exploded in Taiwan. OutKast's "Hey Ya! was No. 1 on the Billboard charts and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was No. 1 at the box office.
Knife of Dreams
"The Colbert Report" debuted on Comedy Central. Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks passed away. Saddam Hussein was tried in Baghdad for crimes against humanity. Kanye West was at No. 1 with "Gold Digger."
The Gathering Storm
President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The ultimately scandalous search for "Balloon Boy" was in full swing.
Towers of Midnight
Almost a year after losing his role as the host of "The Tonight Show," Conan O'Brien made his triumphant debut on TBS. The Beatles released their entire catalog on iTunes. Willie Nelson was busted for pot possession.