The Fires of Heaven – The Wheel of Time, Book 5

Man, the Aiel really don’t like Cairhien…

The Fires of Heaven continues Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time epic immediately after The Shadow Rising. Rand has secured most of the Aiel clans’ loyalty and found a teacher for the One Power, Nynaeve fought one of the dreaded Forsaken to a stalemate and the White Tower has split. Fires has a lot happening and starts off pretty quickly, but ends with some major bangs.

Rand’s group has to contend at first with the rogue Shaido clan of Aiel, who followed what they believe to be the true Aiel leader in Couladin into Cairhien to finish what five clans started almost 20 years ago in the Aiel War. Some of what the Eelfinn gave Mat begins to develop in the memories of past generals and warlords, and he shows himself to be a more than capable battle leader.


Meanwhile, Nynaeve and Elaine are dealing with the fallout from the former’s duel with Moghedien and their subsequent flight from Tanchico. They are looking for the rebel Aes Sedai band while trying to avoid the Forsaken’s attention; Moghedien did not take being stymied by a half-trained girl well. The two continue to use the World of Dreams through Egwene’s ter’angreal, unknowingly playing into their foe’s hands, as Moghedian was often considered one of the masters of that place.

These two groups merge, if abstractly, in the end of the book when Rand attacks another Forsaken in Caemlyn. Rahvin has used Compulsion to manipulate Elaine’s mother then, after she fled, the upper class of Andor to proclaim himself King. Rand travels with Aiel and his friends to rectify that, and Nynaeve assists him in the World of Dreams when the fighting moves there.

Perrin’s story does not have a part in this book, so fans of the Wolfbrother will be disappointed there. The ending of this book seems to be the final fight with Rahvin, but the first major blow to Rand’s crew happens at the very end of the book, seemingly out of nowhere. Then the series’ biggest mystery for several years happens, an event that was debated and dissected by fans from countless angles.

Overall, The Fires of Heaven is a well-paced book packed with things happening all over the continent. The lack of Perrin’s storyline may seem odd at first, but nothing in the Two Rivers really fits into the story being told in Fires. This is not the only time this happens in the series, although it doesn’t happen often. Major things happen in book five and there is plenty to dissect for first time readers. Despite being just under 1000 pages (992 in the U.S. Paperback version), The Fires of Heaven does not feel bloated or sluggish. Jordan continues to tell a tight narrative that still sprawls over the entire world.

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