The Fires of Heaven is the fifth book in the series The Wheel of Time that I started a while back. It is by Robert Jordan and is fantasy.
In this book, Rand alThor, now hailed as the Dragon Reborn, decides to attack Illian. Rand does not know that he is being lured into a trap by the nine remaining forsaken. One of them, Sammael by name, is the ruler of Illian. Meanwhile, in the White tower, the new Amyrlin, the head honcho of the Aes Sedai, is concocting weird new plans for Rand. Nothing comes of it in this book, but Ill bet money something will happen later because of those plans. Siaun Sanche, the deposed and stilled Amyrlin, is arrested in Andor for barn burning. Literally.
Rand is just getting ready to attack Illian and wipe it from the face of the earth, when he receives word that Queen Morgase, his girlfriend Elaines mother, has been killed in Caemlyn. Several seconds later, Moraine, one of his teachers, dies in a kamikaze mission as she kills one of the forsaken that showed up to harass Rand. Rand becomes very angry because Caemlyn, the capitol city in Andor, is being controlled by the foresaken. This will be a major hindrance as his girlfriend, Elayne, is going to be Queen and lay claim to the throne. The name of the forsaken controlling Caemlyn is Rahvin. Rand then decides that his quest to conquer Illian can wait and proceeds to destroy Caemlyn.
The main conflict in this story is man VS. man. Man VS. self also comes into play as Rand starts to go mad. Man VS. man is obvious when Rand attacks Caemlyn and his thousands of Aiel fight the army of Rahvin in Caemlyn. There are about 500 Aiel, who have their way with the 10,000 kings guards in Caemlyn, at little loss for themselves. There are only about 1,000 prisoners of the kings guard. Rand holds his sanity remarkably well, except for the voice of Lews Therin, which pops into his head. Lews Therin was the previous Dragon Reborn, and is a completely different volume of books for a different day.
The Climax of this book is when Rand destroys Rahvin. Erases him from time would be a better way of putting it. Rahvin lures Rand into telaranrhiod (tel-AYE-rahn-rhee-ODD) in the Old Tongue, the unseen world or the world of dreams. This is a world glimpsed in dreams which was believed by the ancients to permeate and surround other worlds. Many can touch telaranrhiod for a few moments in their dreams, but few have ever had the ability to enter at will. Unlike other dreams, what happens to living things in the World of Dreams is real; a wound taken there will still exist on awakening, and if you die there, you will not wake up at all. Rand goes there in the flesh. However, when you enter that dream world you lose some part of what makes you human.
Anyway, Rand follows Rahvin into telaranrhiod and kills him with balefire. Balefire basically erases people from before now. The stronger the balefire, the farther back the events that person caused are erased.
This was an appropriate ending because Rand appropriated a country that was directly to the south of Cairhein, a country which he already had control over. It was a double bonus because he also managed to avoid the trap the forsaken had laid.
The theme of this book is to give careful consideration of what you do and always look before you leap. If Rand hadnt, at the last minute, decided to attack Caemlyn, hed be dead. He got lucky this time.
The Fires of Heaven is an amazing story. I’ve just read it for the umpteenth time, and I found it as engaging as ever before. The main character, Rand, shows an incredible growth in strength in response to the position he finds himself in. He seems to understand full well how everybody else has ulterior motives or hidden agendas where he is concerned. He alone seems to have a good view of the struggle, and he steels himself to do, or cause to be done, that which will give the best chance of success. If he seems arrogant or “full of himself,” – well that’s sometimes what it takes to be a leader. Yet having to be that way is hurtful to him. He is after all, just 20 years old, and most of the world wants to use him or to kill him. That’s a load for anybody. It’s also humorous to see the effect that three young women can have on the poise and concentration of the young Dragon.
We see Elayne a lot more in this book. Sure, she’s a spoiled brat. And, she’s also energetic and adventurous. She has been growing on me, and she holds my attention in the scenes around Birgitte’s reappearance in this world, and in particular by her dealings with Thom and Juilin. Those guys will follow her anywhere, and that’s a good start to becoming Queen of Andor.
Nynaeve – now there’s a case for you. She has so many conflicts gnawing at her it’s remarkable she can keep it together at all. She is several years older than the other key characters, and she was an important person in the quiet place where she has lived most of her life. She’s struggling with the changes – her loss of acknowledged station, her dislike about Moiraine and Aes Sedai, etc. But, she’s tough as nails and fierce as a tigress and a real heavyweight with the One Power. The scenes with Moghedien, especially in the Royal Palace, are riveting.
Mat is my favorite character he just keeps on being Mat. He would always take the easy way if he could, but the Wheel won’t allow it. The unassuming hero just continues to grow. Because he is such a cynic and pessimist in general, the things that befall Mat are really strange. As a result, stories about Mat are often side-splittingly funny. But, even though Mat doesn’t confide every little thing, Rand recognizes the development of his military skills. He uses Mat’s skills to the extent he can. The battle scenes around Caemlyn are terrific.
As for the relations between men and women, I think Jordan has that scoped out pretty well. That’s why that book about Mars and Venus was a monumental best seller.
Compared to other fantasy genre books, this stands at the top. I have read books in this field by many authors, and Jordan is the best of them all thus far. I would in fact, compare him to Tolkien, I have heard people say that Jordan basically steals all his stuff from Tolkien and other sources. Trollocs = orcs, myrddraal = nazgull, the Dark One = Sauron, Aes Sedai = Bene Gesserit, Aiel = Fremen, Rand alThor = Paul Muaddib etc. I think that he does not steal, or even borrow. I think that instead he knows how to write a fantasy novel. All successful fantasy novels have several major characters: evil overmind (the Dark One, house Harkonnen, Sauron, the Emperor) elite highly skilled bad warriors (Myrddraal, Mentat, ring wraiths, Darth Vader) basic not very smart/downright stupid evil masses (Trollocs, house guards, orcs, stormtroopers) and the occasional spy (Darkfriends, Dr. Yueh, Golam, spies). The inverse is true for the good guys, but their units are generally weaker.
If you look at the online book reviews at amazon.com, youll probably find people who think Jordan stole from other places; I think he just knows how to write.