Friday, December 18, 2015

A Crown of Swords

The seventh book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is entitled A Crown of Swords and follows immediately after Lord of Chaos. Another tale that sees the reach of the Dark One continue to expand beyond his prison at Shayol Ghul, while his hand-chosen Forsaken plot and scheme against each other to consolidate their own power. They are at once pure evil and utterly vindictive and petty. Alliances formed today are betrayed tomorrow.

There are two main story arcs in this tale. The first sees Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, the savior of the people from prophesy, developing an elaborate scheme to defeat one of the most powerful Forsaken. Sammael has taken control of the kingdom of Illian and sows discord in the land. While Rand feints and patiently sets up his trap, Sammael never seems to fall for the bait. Certainly he controls numbers of Darkfriends as spies in Rand's camp. Ultimately it comes down to strength against strength and Rand's moment has come to strike down Sammael. With each step Rand must carefully weigh who truly is on his side and who seeks to either slip a knife in his back or bring him to heel.

The second main arc of the narrative follows Nynaeve and Elayne as they search for the powerful ter'angreal from the Age of Legends called the Bowl of Winds. With enough Aes Sedai linking their strength and channeling through this creation, it is believed that they can remove the crippling drought that the Dark One has unleashed across the land. With the help of the special gifts of Mat Cauthon, the ter'angreal is located, but no sooner do they close in on the prize than they are met by numbers of the Black Ajah, Aes Sedai that have pledged their souls to the Dark One. Not only that, but they are attacked by a Shadowspawn called a gholam, a creature that is unkillable and nearly unstoppable. Yet Mat finds a way to drive him off and the Bowl of Winds is finally in hand. I now move onto the next book in this most enjoyable and fully engrossing series, The Path of Daggers.