The Dragon Reborn, and follows on just a short while after the end of the previous story, The Great Hunt. We have followed the once innocent troop of rustics from the small village of Two Rivers as the ever-turning wheel of time has propelled them hither and yon at breakneck pace. Three young men, Rand, Mat, and Perrin, have found that they are somehow key players in the destiny of the world, the battle of light against dark, with Rand the child of prophesy who is fated to face the Dark One in the final battle. Each is marked with his own part to play, but to them their safe and secure worlds have unraveled so quickly they cannot seem to catch their breath. One moment they were happy to dream their small dreams and live their rural lives, and the next they are battling tooth and nail against creatures previously limited only to their nightmares. As well, two young women are caught up in the flow of fate that is pinned to the boys, Nynaeve and Egwene, who were celebrated in Two Rivers for their ability to channel powers of healing and nature. With their eyes opened as to what they can do with proper training, they have gone to become powerful sorceresses known as Aes Sedai.
However, even though the boys and the girls are separated geographically at the start of the story dealing with their own issues, they are still inexorably linked via the turning wheel of time. Rand has found that he has a powerful ability to channel, a power that history has shown leads to madness in men in short order. As he fights against the threat of this madness on the one hand, and against the prophesies that paint him as the Dragon on the other, he decides to force the hand of fate and prove to himself whether or not he is the Dragon or just a pawn of the Aes Sedai. He decides to travel to the great city of Tear where the prophesies claim that the one true Dragon is the only one who can claim the great crystal sword Callandor. Pulled in Rand's wake, Mat and Perrin separately take a circuituous and adventurous path to Tear.
The girls, who the Aes Sedai realize are closely linked to Rand, are given a secret mission to investigate a plot by a renegade group of their number controlled by the Dark One, also follow a trail to Tear. Ultimately Rand, Mat, Perrin, Nynaeve, and Egwene battle one of the Dark One's most powerful minions, believing initially that their efforts had, in fact, defeated the Dark One himself. It is only when they are drained of every last ounce of strength and mental reserve, that they begin to see how long and how perilious their true journey ahead will be. I now move eargerly onto the next part of the tale, The Shadow Rising.