The Great Hunt

The Great Hunt - Robert Jordan The Great Hunt is the second book of the wheel of time series and we join our protaganists in Shienar at Fal Dara, where the White Towers head of the Aes Sedai, the Amyrlin Seat arrives with a strong contingent of Aes Sedai and their warders.

Rand has been training with Lan in mastering his heron marked blade and Mat's condition deteriorates as his tainted dagger takes effect. The Amyrlin Seat informs Rand that he is the Dragon Reborn, Rand denies this at every possible opportunity and becomes determined and steadfast in not allowing the Aes Sedai to use him in their games. He doesn't want the madness bought on from channelling the one power and he wont be gentled by the Aes Sadai.

The legendary Horn of Valere which can be used to raise the dead heroes of the ages, rescued by Rand and his companions, is also in the city of Fal Dara heavily guarded and awaiting its final destination.
Also in the dungeons at Fal Dara is Pardon Faine, a darkfriend with a powerful secret and his allies attack the city, they release Faine, take the Horn of Valere and the tainted dagger that Mat needs to survive.

Shienaran Lord Ingtar leads a group, which includes Rand, Mat, Perrin and skilled tracker Hurin, who can smell murder and here starts an epic journey to recover the Horn and the dagger as they pursue Fain’s fleeing darkforce of trollocs, myrddraal and darkfriends.

Nynaeve and Egwene accompany the Aes Sedai to Tar Valon to begin their training. Andoran Princess Elayne and clairvoyant Min arrive at Tar Valon as well and they all have quite an interesting story arc as they are betrayed and effectively removed and cut off. They find themselves on the other side of the continent, prisoners, and we have the introduction of the invading Seanchan and their exotic beasts.

I rated The Eye of the World 5 stars simply for the story telling genius behind it and I found this book even better, Rand started off frustrating me a little with the continued denial of his powers and his role to be, the only reason he embarked on the quest was for Mat's dagger, then he expected to fade into the background. My favourite part was when he met the Seanchan and had to duel a warrior who also owned a heron marked blade.
The introduction of the Seachen and their leashing of the Aes Sedai, certainly broadened the scope of the story and each character is pulled apart a little as their situations become fraught with danger, the only way to prevail is to work together and fight for one another, until Rand faces the final battle once more.