The second Wheel of Time novel is where Robert Jordan truly proves that his saga is unlike any other. The Hunt begins....
The Great Hunt is the second book in The Wheel of Time series. It was first published by Tor Books and released on November 15, 1990. The Great Hunt consists of a prologue and 50 chapters. In 2004 The Great Hunt was re-released as two separate books by Starscape books, The Hunt Begins and
'gainst the fall of long night,
the mountains stand guard,
and the dead shall be ward,
for the grave is no bar to my call.
Rand al’thor has discovered dark secrets about himself. Moiraine, the powerful Aes Sedai who brought him out of the Two Rivers may be the only one with answers, yet she avoids him like the plague. Rand knows he should leave, run some place where no one knows him, and where he can do no harm. However when the the leader of the Aes Sedai arrives in Fal Dara he knows he put off flight for too long. Desperate to escape the Amyrlin Seat, he finds all gates locked against him, and his only hope is to seek the aid of Egwene, the woman he once thought he would marry, a woman in training to be Aes Sedai herself.
When Trollocs invade the mighty fortress Rand can think of only one thing—protecting Egwene. Heedless of the danger to himself—both from the Shadow and from the Aes Sedai, he rushes to her aid, only to discover her and Mat Cauthon unconscious in the middle of the bloodbath that had been the prison cell of the darkfriend, Padan Fain. Fain himself is nowhere to be seen, and written on the wall in blood beside Dark Prophecy and grim blasphemy lay Fain’s warning to Rand. 'Come to Toman Head, or I will harrow every drop of your blood'.
There is no more evasion. Summoned the next day before the Amyrlin, Rand discovers that rather than doom him, she wishes only to tell him things—dark, terrible things about both his past and his future, things he would deny to his very bones. On top of it all, she informs him that in addition to freeing Fain, the Shadow stole not only the fabled Horn of Valere, the Horn made to summon Dead Heroes back from the Grave to fight on behalf of its sounder, but the Shadar Logoth dagger, without which Rand’s friend Mat would die. Along with Mat and Perrin, Rand agrees to join the Hunt for the Horn, yet even far from them he feels the hands of the Aes Sedai pushing him towards his dark destiny.
At the same time Egwene and Nynaeve seek Tar Valon where they are to be trained as Aes Sedai and learn the secrets of the One Power, yet they too are not safe, for the Black Ajah, Aes Sedai who serve the Dark One, walk the halls of the White Tower.
The Great Hunt will lead many strange places—even to other worlds—yet in the end all paths lead to Toman Head, where strange invaders from across the Aryth Ocean are said to hold power, and where Fain waits to exact his revenge upon Rand al’thor.
The majority of this book was originally intended to be part of book 1 in the series. When Robert Jordan realized how huge the novel would have been, he found a good place to split the novels.
This second book in the series was published just a few months after book 1, The Eye of the World was released. This was the shortest wait time between any of the books in the series.
In 2009, for the first eBook cover of this novel, artist Kekai Kotaki and art director Irene Gallo decided to paint an updated version of the original Darryl K. Sweet cover. Both covers show the same scene with the same characters present.