The final Wheel of Time novel, A Memory of Light, has been split into at least two but possibly three volumes (i.e. if the recession gets worse it'll be three). The first sub-volume, given the hilarious generic title The Gathering Storm, will be released in November 2009. But sub-volumes II and III (if it goes that far) will only follow at 12-month intervals. According to the website to break the news, Tor will be releasing the book in tradeback rather than hardcover, which sounds insane to me.
EDIT: Rereading the press release, I think they mean there will be a tradeback as well as a hardcover. This is still noteworthy as Tor haven't issued a volume in this series in tradeback in some considerable time.
EDIT2: Some fans seem to be clinging to the hope this is a hoax. I hope so too, but given that Barnes & Noble and Amazon.ca now both list the book under the new title (not the cover though), I really doubt it. The cover and the three-volume thing could be fake and indeed I hope it is.
EDIT3: Dragonmount have confirmed a formal announcement will follow in the next couple of days on this issue.
Brandon Sanderson's comments (via DarthAndrea on Dragonmount, many thanks!):
"I wish I could say something official, but it's just not my place. Harriet rightly gets to release information like that. I did just fire off an email to Harriet and Tor, suggesting that they respond to this and speed up their timetable for a press release.
As for that cover, that strikes me as a rough mock-up rather than the final version. For instance, I'm surprised it mentions this as a sequel to Crossroads of Twilight, rather than Knife of Dreams. (At least, I think that's what the image says. The text is kind of hard to read.)
That's just one of the things that strikes me as odd about the cover. I can't say more yet, I'm afraid.
The short of it is I doubt this is a hoax, but I also doubt that everything you see here is official. Some things are getting garbled as they get passed from ear to ear. Keep an eye out for more news, hopefully Thursday or Friday. Feel free to pass this along."
Sanderson also has a blog entry on the matter here.
In a later blog entry, Sanderson reports that he has received word from Harriet that she has not seen, approved or signed off on any cover art at all, and the cover art released must be a very rough mock-up released by accident. Sanderson also now reports that the official press release will follow early next week. Tor considered releasing it early, but had already timed the release with other news outlets, so it cannot now be changed.
At this time the only information that can be verified is that the book has been split and the first part will most likely be called The Gathering Storm (and that can change right up until the book physically enters mass-printing). The covert art and the number of volumes the book has been split into remains unconfirmed.
Additional information from Tor directly:
There you have it.
"There is no cover for the next Wheel of Time book available yet. The formal Wheel of Time update has been scheduled to release two weeks before JordanCon, with personal words from Harriet McDougal and Tom Doherty. This is going to be an exciting year, so we appreciate your patience and enthusiasm!
Check out Dragonmount and Tor.com on Monday morning."