I did pick up vol 8, the Path of Doggers, on a couple of occasions. I even made it through the bloated 44-page prologue ‘Deceptive Appearances’, in which various royals and wizards meet in a mighty convocation to sit astride dancing horses (‘Tenobia gave a sudden, shocking laugh. Her gelding tried to dance’, 23) and establish alliances to destroy the dragon; followed by a section in which an Aes Sedai called Verin Mathwin interrogates some people and inwardly waffles on and on. But though I had several goes at chapter one I couldn’t get myself into it. And this despite promising sentences like:
East the wind blew across Tremalking, where the fair-skinned Amayar farmed their fields, and made fine glass and porcelain, and followed the peace of the Water Way.The wind did?
Why did I fail? Oh, why did I fail to polish off wotviii this week, I thought to myself, creasing my brow and tugging my braids. Since the Age of Legends I have been reading this bu’u’ook, as the ancient bound codices were called. White streaking my beard and hair, I stroked the mindtrap upon my bedside table. I must be careful, I thought. Careful. To take care. Three different skills were in play, the ancient art of readin, the even more ancient and venerable art, of which only a few dozen in the world were true masters, of Turnian Pages, and, most difficult of all preventing the bitter, lethal brain num that inevitably pursued any man who dared to channel the antique magic of this kind of readin. It could be fatal, brain num. Fatal, it could be. I tugged my braid. The old Ar Selbow proverb came back to me: readin should be a chore, not a pleasure. I thought, oh, but I've read so much! To give up now would be ... but I left the utterance an axe-handle short of completion. Was there room for any more? I tugged my braids. Hardly any hair left, I thought to myself. I wonder if tugging it all the time is responsible for it falling out? I wonder. I wonder.
It's only 560 pages long, too. Tch!