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Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the names Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly. Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina.
He served two tours in Vietnam (from 1968 to 1970) with the United States Army as a helicopter gunner. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. After returning from Vietnam he attended The Citadel where he received an undergraduate degree in physics.
After graduating he was employed by the United States Navy as a nuclear engineer. He began writing in 1977. He was a history buff and enjoyed hunting, fishing, sailing, poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting. He described himself as a "High Church" Episcopalian. He lived with his wife Harriet McDougal, who works as a book editor (currently with Tor Books; she was also Jordan's editor) in a house built in 1797.
Jordan published eleven books of a projected twelve total in the main sequence of the Wheel of Time series. Blog entries confirmed that he continued work on his last book, A Memory of Light (later split into three volumes beginning with The Gathering Storm) until his death, and he shared all of the significant plot details with his family not long before he died. He maintained that in doing so the book will get published even if "the worst actually happens". On December 7, 2007 Tor Books announced that Brandon Sanderson had been chosen to finish the Wheel of Time series. Jordan's widow chose him after reading Mistborn: The Final Empire.
On March 23, 2006, Jordan disclosed in a statement that he had been diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, and that with treatment, his median life expectancy was four years, though he said he intended to beat the statistics. He encouraged his fans not to worry about him and that he intended to have a long and fully creative life, working for another 30 years. Jordan died September 16, 2007. His life will be subject of the feature length documentary The Wit of the Staircase: The Life and Works of Robert Jordan.
In addition to the main sequence, Robert Jordan also wrote some accessory works:
The World of Robert Jordan's the Wheel of Time (6 November 1997, reference book, written in collaboration with Teresa Patterson)
This reference book includes "The Strike at Shayol Ghul", a short story published online in 1996 which was republished in print as part of this reference book
New Spring (October 1998, novella, published in Tor's Legends anthology, edited by Robert Silverberg; the story is located in the third volume of the paperback edition; the hardcover is one volume)
New Spring (January 2004, novel, an expanded work superseding the earlier novella)
From The Two Rivers, a repackaging of the first half of The Eye Of The World for a younger market, includes an additional prologue titled Ravens.
To the Blight, a repackaging of the second half of The Eye of the World for a younger market.
The Hunt Begins, a repackaging of the first half of The Great Hunt for a younger market.
New Threads in the Pattern, a repackaging of the second half of The Great Hunt for a younger market.
(under the pen name "Reagan O'Neal")
The Fallon Blood (1980)
The Fallon Pride (1981)
The Fallon Legacy (1982)
Conan the Barbarian
Jordan was one of several writers who have written new Conan the Barbarian stories.
Conan the Invincible (1982)
Conan the Defender (1982)
Conan the Unconquered (1983)
Conan the Triumphant (1983)
Conan the Magnificent (1984)
Conan the Destroyer (1984)
Conan the Victorious (1984)
Some bibliographies also include Conan: King of Thieves; this however, was actually the working title of the second Conan movie, Conan the Destroyer, and hence Jordan's novelization. Jordan had already been hired to do the novelization and Tor had already applied for an ISBN when the title was changed to Conan the Destroyer.
They were packed into two separate volumes:
The Conan Chronicles
The Further Chronicles of Conan (The Conan Chronicles II in the UK, different contents)
Jordan also compiled a well-known Conan Chronology.
Cheyenne Raiders (1982, under the pseudonym "Jackson O'Reilly")