The penultimate installment in Jordan's ongoing saga of the Wheel of Time delivers in his usual astounding fashion. Rand, Mat, Perrin and Egwene are still crusading to save their world, and each faces challenges while preparing for the last showdown with the Dark One.

Rand must face the threat of the Seanchan, a governing force that has grown too powerful, while securing the seals to the Dark One's prison, even as treachery shadows him.

Meanwhile, relationships are evolving. Perrin is forced to deal with the Dark One to save his wife Faile from a dastardly fate. Mat and his half-wife, Tuon, have a tenuous bond in which the power is constantly shifting, but they too are in danger from the Seanchan.

Finally, the security and sanctity of the White Tower has been endangered, and Egwene must work from within the powerful sisterhood of Aes Sedai to save it.

With nearly 10,000 pages penned in this ongoing fantasy saga, Jordan's meticulously built world remains compelling. Constant readers will be glad to note that, unlike the somewhat dragging middle installments, here the author packs the pages with one explosive showdown after another. (Oct., 783 pp., $29.95)
Reviewed by: 
Tara Gelsomino