Considered by many fans to be one of the finest entries in the series, The Shadow Rising stands as a triumph of fantasy literature.
The Shadow Rising is the fourth book in The Wheel of Time. It was first published by Tor Books and released on September 15, 1992.
At 393,823 words, The Shadow Rising is the longest book in the series. It consists of 58 chapters but was the first book in the main sequence novels to not contain a prologue.
Rand al’thor holds Callandor, and there can be no doubt anymore that he is the Dragon Reborn. Yet even though they would doom themselves, the High Lords of Tear want nothing of him, and plot almost ceaselessly to see him dead. Only fear of the Aiel, the deadly warriors of the Waste who protect Rand, and the subtle political machinations of Thom Merrillin keep them in check.
How can he hope to save the Light when the very people he is supposed to save are working against him? Even in Tar Valon there is resistance, for though the Aes Sedai know better than most the dangers of Tarmon Gai’don, the prejudice and fear of men who can channel runs deep, and as the Amyrlin works to unite the world behind Rand, her own Sisters begin to turn against her.
Moiraine claims Rand should attack Illian, Tear’s old rival. By doing so, she states, he will cement Tear to him, and the destruction of Sammael—the Forsaken who has claimed Illian for his own—will make the other Forsaken wary and give Rand the time he needs to learn to use the One Power properly. Yet even as she suggests this, she fears, for dark rumors have come out of the Two Rivers, rumors of trouble that suggest Padan Fain has acted on his threat against Rand’s family and friends. If Rand gives up Tear to save his home it will be disastrous, but how can Moiraine stop him?
When Rand declares that the armies of Tear will march—and not to Illian, but to Cairhein, and that he will not march with them, the worst of Moiraine’s fears are realised—but Rand surprises her when he declares that he will be going to Rhuidean in the Aiel Waste, to seek answers to the prophecies which brought the Aiel out of their desert stronghold for the first time since the Aiel War.
It is Perrin Aybarra, along with the Lady Faile, the Ogier Loial and three Aiel who look to the troubles of the Two Rivers. Daring the dangers of the Ways, they arrive in the Two Rivers to find smoke and fire—Trollocs have returned, and though Whitecloaks camp in the hundreds near Taren Ferry, they seem more interested in locking up the Two Rivers folk then they do hunting the Trollocs. Strangest of all, some dark threat, known only as Slayer, hunts the Wolf Dream, and the wolves have all fled before it. Even as he works to free the Whitecloak’s prisoners and hunt this Slayer, Perrin begins gathering the folk of the Two Rivers to make a stand against the Trollocs—but will he be in time? And where is Fain in all this?
Meanwhile, Elayne and Nynaeve learn that the surviving Black Ajah seek a weapon in Tarabon, something that may be used to drive Rand to his knees. Leaving Egwene, they pursue the darkfriends to Tanchico, the capital of Tarabon, where they step into political upheaval, famine and brewing civil war. Yet darker dangers await them, for one of the Forsaken is in Tanchico—and she has become aware of their presence.
After Nynaeve and Elayne leave, Egwene follows Rand to the Aiel Waste, hoping the Aiel Wise One’s can teach her the secrets of her prophetic dreams. But whilst Rand seeks the truth at the centre of Rhuidean, the truth which shall gain him the loyalty of the Aiel and break them at the same time, the Forsaken gather near. Can he secure the Aiel before the Forsaken drive them against him? And how will he learn to master the One Power when the last men who could teach him died three thousand years ago in the Breaking of the World?