This is a great book, but moves somewhat slower than the first two. I read it first a couple years ago, and now I'm kind of re-reading it and am about halfway through it. Unlike the first two in the series, the focus lifts off Rand as well as giving us a somewhat clearer view of events outside the knowledge of the protagonists. The scheming of the Forsaken becomes less muddled, although the reader is still very much in the dark as to what alliances have formed among the Forsaken. It becomes obvious for the first time that the Aiel will play a MAJOR role in Rand's destiny and he will need their help. As far as the main characters are concerned, Rand himself is in flight practically the entire book and Jordan doesn't spend much time on him. The pacing seems a bit off; Rand should be out-distancing the rest of the companions (because they have several adventures along the way, i.e. Perrin and Faile, the wolf-man, etc.), yet Moiraine manages to end up in Tear at about the same time as Rand! Maybe I need to finish re-reading it to understand how that worked. As usual, Jordan shows his mastery of immersing the reader in the setting. The descriptions of the Stone of Tear and the final battle within are outstanding. The conclusion is very satisfying and henceforth Rand begins a widely recognized ascendancy as the Dragon Reborn, with promises of a gripping saga ahead!