The Seanchan invasion force is in possession of Ebou Dar. Nynaeve, Elayne, and Aviendha head for Caemlyn and Elayne's rightful throne, but on the way they discover an enemy much worse than the Seanchan.
In Illian, Rand vows to throw the Seanchan back as he did once before. But signs of madness are appearing among the Asha'man.
In Ghealdan, Perrin faces the intrigues of Whitecloaks, Seanchan invaders, the scattered Shaido Aiel, and the Prophet himself. Perrin's beloved wife, Faile, may pay with her life, and Perrin himself may have to destroy his soul to save her.
Meanwhile the rebel Aes Sedai under their young Amyrlin, Egwene al'Vere, face an army that intends to keep them away from the White Tower. But Egwene is determined to unseat the usurper Elaida and reunite the Aes Sedai. She does not yet understand the price that others—and she herself—will pay.