***Note: Lord of Chaos was nominated for the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 1995
Review: Lord of Chaos, the sixth book in The Wheel of Time doesn’t have as much action as The Fires of Heaven. The majority of the conflict in this book is internal, with a number of our protagonists struggling with their place, or still trying to find it, in the Pattern and different rules being imposed on them. Many of our antagonists are struggling, as well.
Elaida, the Amyrlin Seat in Tar Valon, still struggles to get the Aes Sedai in the White Tower to follow her. She has to manipulate and threaten to get her plans working. She plots to get Rand Al’Thor to Tar Valon where she can keep him under control until the time of the Last Battle. She tries sending invitations for him to come and sends an envoy to him in Cairhein to “escort” him back.
The rebel Aes Sedai, holding up in Salidar, are also decide to send an envoy to Rand. Other than that, though, they are stagnating, accomplishing nothing as a whole, but learning the “discoveries” Nynaeve and Elayne are making. For the most part, these discoveries are what they manage to force Moghedien to tell them. Using the original angreal ring, as well as a number of copies Elayne has managed to create, Elayne and Nynaeve begin teaching some of the sisters how to DreamWalk, in addition to helping them have periodic meetings with the Wise Ones in Tel’aran’rhoid. The majority of the sisters aren’t very good at DreamWalking because they have a difficult time accepting that a strong will and mind is more important to accomplishing things in Tel’aran’rhoid than the One Power. During one outing in Tel’aran’rhoid, after the other sisters have departed, Elayne and Nynaeve locate what they believe to be a ter’angreal that will allow them to fix the weather that has been plaguing the world. Unfortunately, it would require traveling to Ebou Dar.
Egwene, who begins this book still studying with the Aiel Wise Ones, is recalled by the Aes Sedai in Salidar. The Wise Ones refuse to teach her how to use Tel’aran’rhoid to travel, but she figures it out and arrives much sooner than the Aes Sedai expected. She is raised from Accepted straight to Amyrlin Seat of the rebels, an attempt to put a figurehead in place that the new “Hall” think they can control. She, in turn, raises Nynaeve and Elayne to full Aes Sedai status, as well as a couple other sisters, and begins to allow herself to be guided in most things while also laying the groundwork to make use of her new position to eventually teach the new “Hall” that she truly is the Amyrlin Seat, and that they chose poorly in trying to emplace a puppet.
Min becomes much more involved in this book. While not in every scene with Rand, she begins to hint to him that she wants to be more than just a friends and source of “viewings.” She teases him, sitting in his lap and wiggling around on it, invading his personal space, and generally leaving him scratching his head, trying to figure out if she’s just playing with him since she knows about Elayne. She, on the other hand, already knows that she’s in love with him and couldn’t stop herself if she tried. She is also one of the few people who are allowed by the Maidens to pass through the door to his chambers without being summoned.
Rand finds himself practically besieged by Aes Sedai. In Caemlyn, there’s a contingent of them from Salidar who pester him, while in Cairhein he’s approached by those of the White Tower. Eventually, in a moment of overconfidence and inattention, Rand allows himself to be shielded from the One Power, captured, and carried away, bound in a chest. By the time his friends and allies realize he hasn’t just “traveled” somewhere without notifying anyone, they have to mount a chase, led by Perrin, to try to catch the White Tower Aes Sedai before they can smuggle him back to Tar Valon.
They finally catch up and the battle at Dumai’s Wells takes place. It is a bloody affair, and serves as a great climax to another great book.
Bottom Line: Lord of Chaos slows the pace a bit. There’s more development on Rand’s relationships…with Min, with the nobles and others in Cairhein, with the two groups of Aes Sedai, with the Aiel, and with the man in his head. We hear his plans for Andor and Cairhein, his plans for an army of men who can channel, and his machinations for bringing down another of the Forsaken. We also see the plans of others, including how some plan to use Rand. Finally, we have a huge battle involving opposing factions of Aes Sedai, Wise Ones and Aiel, and we get to see how effective the Asha’man can be in battle. And just how effective and Rand and the Asha’man? Their use of the power brings us to the last three lines of the book, which I discussed briefly in “…the world was changed forever.”