When we left the series at the end of Towers of Midnight Caemlyn was burning and most of the worlds armies were gathering at the designated site to hear what the Dragon Reborn had to say. TOR released an E-version of the prologue in the US and Canada on September 19, 2012 with the actual book not due out until January 8, 2013. Then it will be available in hard cover only until April 9, 2013. So with spoilers abounding here is my opinion on the beginning of the end.
We open with a ragtag army (I am not going to give everything away) finding all of the metal in their camp turned soft and useless, so the only person with experience in stone is making himself a spearhead. When it is complete his leader (who has gone quite mad) is one of the few left due to desertion from the ranks of men who have gone north toward the wind. In his madness the few remaining men secure him to a tree and take off as one put it “I’ll be hanged before I let Andor march to the Last Battle without me,” promising to tell anyone they meet where they left him.
Then we find the remaining parts of the Band of the Red Hand heading to Caemlyn to see what they can do about whatever is going on there with Talmanes leading them after having taken a blow from a Myrddraal sword but still standing and fighting as the try to invade Caemlyn to rescue the “dragons” from the Shadow who are everywhere in the city, fighting their way to the palace they find a few defenders trying to hold until the queen (who has no clue what is happening as she is elsewhere) can send help. It won’t be coming today.
Isam in the meantime has been ordered by a chosen to meet him at the Town in the Blight thus giving us the answer to what is the _____ in the Blight. He see’s Moridin passing by but not looking for him so waits and watches as the red veiled aiel channelers who appear to have been 13X13’d scatter at Moridin’s approach. Then we find out it was Cyndane who summoned Isam to meet. She tells him he is to kill Rand Al’Thor without fail and to obey no orders to do anything else that do not come from the Great Lord of the Dark himself, Isam being a killer is glad to receive this order though he would rather be about the business of killing Perrin Aybara but happy to leave town anyway.
At a meeting of the “Chosen” Moridin introduces to the remaining members from the Age of Legends a new member named by the Great Lord of the Dark, M’hael as he is to be known now, Mazrim Taim being merely a label cast off to be forgotten. We find out Graendal’s punishment, she has lost her name as well and now is known as Hessalam which in the old tongue means without forgiveness
In the Aiel camp Avi has told of her vision of treachery in the Pillars of Rhuidean and Bair gives her a simple way of changing it before telling her that as the strongest of the Wise Ones Bair must go to Rhuidean to see the vision of the future for herself so as to have more than one perspective would be my guess.
Androl and Pevara are trying to figure out a way of escaping from the Black Tower with those who have not been changed into something less human, good luck with that. We also find out that Emarin is actually “Lord Algerin of House Pendaloan” whose brother Emarin was gentled by the Aes Sedai and survived for a while. It seems to run in his family.
Meanwhile Leilwin and Bayle Domon are trying to find Elayne and Nynaeve, to Leilwin’s regret they find Nynaeve first who (still in her I am the Wisdom mode for some reason this late in the series) decides that Egwene (I hate this character) should decide what to do with them for letting the Seanchan get their hands on the Domination Band that wound up on Rand’s neck momentarily before he used the TRUE POWER on it and killed Semi.
Talmanes finds a member of the Kin who tells him she is sorry but the wound is beyond her ability to heal so he decides to go for it against another Myrddraal and defeats it taking a cut on his face telling one of his men he has figured out how to defeat them you just have to be already dead. Fighting on into the city they find Aludra with her dragon carts using people to pull them in an attempt to get them away.
Being overrun and trapped against a wall of the city they fire the dragons at the trollocs massed against them in the streets “like ink.” Then Talmanes orders the center rank turned and fired at the wall behind them and collapses into unconsciousness thus ending the prologue.
Lots of people will probably hate me for this report but “Dovie’andi se tovya sagain.” Its time to toss the dice. IF you haven’t read this I highly recommend it. It is available at WWW.DRAGONMOUNT.COM for US$2.99 in the USA Canada and select other countries.