With this book the concepts of the The Wheel of Time world are becoming more apparent-the World of Dreams which affects the World of the Flesh also, the different ways the characters are connected to the One Power, lives relived (less focus on this in this 3rd book). Maybe this is why I think this is the best book in the series so far. Maybe also because it is separate stories which I could tell were going to converge-but how was unknown.

At the start of the book, Rand is following Morraine, as they with Perrin, Lan, Min and the Shienaran soldiers avoid the Darkfriends and Whitecloaks hunting them. Rand runs from Morraine’s leadership when it becomes obvious he cannot control the One Power and his friends are in jeopardy.

Mat has been transported to Tar Valon with Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne-the women to continue training to be Aes Sedai and Mat for healing. The Aes Sedai heal him partially, and he runs from the Amyrlin’s guard, because, like Rand, he determines he will not be used by the Aes Sedai.

When the Black Ajah reveals itself, Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne are sent to hunt and expose them. The women and Rand are led separately through Dreams to the Heart of the Stone in Tear. Callandor, a crystal sword, is the objective and the next step in the revealing of the Dragon Reborn. Morraine, Lan, Perrin and Faile (a new character) follow the evidence of Rand’s path to the city of Tear.

Aielmen (and their women warriors) are drawn from beyond the Borderlands by evidence of the prophecy fulfillment.

After delivering a message to Elayne’s mother, Morgase the Queen of Andor, Mat learns that the women are in danger and rushes to Tear to protect them.

The compelling of all the major players to reach Tear, due to the trap the Forsaken have set for Rand, lends complexity and builds suspense. The World of Dreams (Tel’aran’rhiod) is an interesting addition to the series. The connection of the friends through this world will, I think, continue to be important, as well as the access to their minds that Dreams allow the Forsaken. In this book, Egwene is developing a premonition ability through the Dreams, and I suspect her Amyrlin Dream is related to events to come.

I liked that the book developed Rand’s friends to a greater extent, and ideas important to their world. Rand (the Dragon Reborn) is barely in the book. There is also a greater understanding of the Forsaken, imprisoned along with the Dark One, at the Breaking of the World. Oddly, the prologue is all about the Whitecloaks’ reaction to rumors of the Dragon Reborn, but then they are not in the rest of the book. Only a mention of them controlling the towns surrounding Tar Valon.