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The fantasy world of Charleston author Robert Jordan and his “The Wheel of Time” saga

The fantasy world of Charleston author Robert Jordan and his “The Wheel of Time” saga
October 2021

The series will get a new audience when it airs on Amazon Prime

Charlestonian James Oliver Rigney Jr., known to most as fantasy author Robert Jordan.

Wonder which Charlestonians are known across the globe? James Oliver Rigney Jr., born October 17, 1948, is among them.

With more than 30 million books in print in French, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Hebrew, and other languages, the late author has become a worldwide phenomenon. Under the pen name Robert Jordan, he wrote the fantasy saga, “The Wheel of Time,” which has been compared with the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Watch the trailer for Amazon's "The Wheel of Time" series:

Rigney grew up on James Island and graduated from The Citadel in 1974, after serving in Vietnam. While working as a nuclear engineer on the Navy Base, he twisted his leg in a fall, and during his recovery took up writing. Encouraged by his editor (and soon-to-be wife) Harriet Popham MacDougal, he first wrote historical novels set in Charleston under the name Reagan O’Neal and went on to add luster to the “Conan the Barbarian” series. He authored Westerns as well, but fantasy was his true calling. The first installment of what he planned as a series of six appeared in 1990, and the 11th was released in 2006, just as his own epic battle with a rare blood disease began. Though it felled him in 2007, his story goes on.

Rigney had plotted Memory of Light, the final installment, which was published in three volumes by Brian Sanderson. Since Rigney’s passing, his fame has grown, including the annual JordanCon convention that started in 2009. Next month, the growth will continue as Sony Pictures’ dramatization of “The Wheel of Time” premieres on Amazon Prime. The Eye of the World (the first volume’s title) is still on James Rigney.