The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A cross between Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones without the sex.
Bel Tine brings several strangers to Two Rivers, the mysterious Moiraine (Aes Sedai-a woman who can wield the One Power, all the male Aes Sedai are believed to be dead or mad) and Lan (Warder, think Ranger like Aragorn in Lord of The Rings) Thom Merrilin (a traveling storyteller known as a gleeman) and Padan Fain (a traveling peddler) all seem interested in three young village boys; Rand, Perrin and Mat. Due to rumors of trouble Rand and his Father (Tam) leave for home early but are attacked by Trollocs while they are eating supper. To Rand's surprise Tam retrieves a sword, that he supposedly bought and holds the Trollocs off, after ordering Rand to hide in the woods. Rand finds Tam badly injured and mumbling about finding a babe on the battlefield. Rand manages to drag Tam to town, only to find the town in chaos after being attacked by another band of Trollocs. The Wisdom (Nynaeve al'Meara) is unable to help him, so Rand goes to Moiraine for help and she heals his Father. Moiraine also reveals that the Trollocs are after Rand, Perrin and Mat and insist they leave with her and Lan for Tar Valon. Rand's girlfriend Egwene insist on coming too, and Thom also insist on joining them. Nynaeve tracks them down intent on bringing the children back to Two River's but is soon convinced that Moiraine is telling the truth about the Trollocs, Fades and other agents of the Dark One being after them, but insist on staying with them.
Desperate for shelter from the Trollocs the band take refuge in Shadar Logoth, but unwisely Mat, Perrin and Rand sneak off to explore the city. They awaken Mordeth who leads them to treasure. Sensing danger they flee, but unbeknownst to Rand and Perrin, Mat pockets a parasitic dagger. Mashadar is unleashed, so when the group is forced to flee Shadar Logoth before morning both the Trollocs and Mashadar are after them, the group becomes separated fleeing the city.
Mat, Rand and Thom find passage on a boat headed to Whitebridge. Thom convinces everyone that Mat and Rand are apprentice gleemen (storytellers) and they pay for their passage to Whitebridge with the coins Moiraine gave them making it impossible for her to track them from a distance. When a Fade shows up in Whitebridge looking for them Thom instructs Mat and Rand to flee while he attacks the Fade. They believe Thom died attacking the Fade but follow his instructions to head to the Queen's Blessing in Caemlyn where they hope the others will find them if they are alive. Before they get there they are approached by the Dark One's agents and Rand is forced to use the One Power (without realizing it) to escape with Mat. Once they reach the Queen's Blessing an increasingly paranoid Mat will not leave their room. Seeking companionship Rand visits the library of the Queen's Blessing and meets Loial (a Builder aka an Ogier think Ent from Lord of the Rings). While Rand is exploring the city and hoping to get a look at the False Dragon, he accidentally falls into Queen Morgase's garden and meets the daughter heir (Elayne) and her brother. He is briefly taken prisoner before Queen Morgase decides to release him and hurries back to the Queen's Blessing where he discovers his friends have arrived but the Children of Light are after them.
Perrin and Egwene fell into the river, they are befriended by Elyas and his pack of wolves. Perrin discovers he too is a Wolf Brother. When they are attacked by the Children of Light (think Fundamentalist Christians) , Hopper dies trying to protect Perrin. Perrin and Egwene are taken prisoner. Moiraine, Lan and Nynaeve eventually catch up with them and free them.
Moiraine realizes Mat is under the influence of the parasitic dagger and does what she can to minimize it's influence, before they have to flee. After hearing the boys dreams, a story Perrin and Egwene heard when they were with the (gypsies), and a story of Loial's people Moiraine realizes there is no time to go to Tar Valon. She ask Loial to help them use "The Ways" to reach the Green Man and find the Eye of the World. The Green Man finds them and shows them the Eye of the World. Moiraine reveals that a number of Aes Sedai male and female used their power to create a source of "pure" power that a man could weld even though it cost them their lives. Two of the Forsaken find them. Balthamel is killed by the Green Man when he attacks Nynaeve but he is able to kill the Green Man as he dies. Rand wields the power from the Eye of the World and defeats Aginor he is also able to do serious damage to The Dark One.
Rand (The Dragon Reborn) plans to leave the group while the rest travel on to Tar Valon. Moiraine has the relics they found hidden in the Eye of the World; The banner of the Lord of the Morning, The Horn of Valor (Book 2) and the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai (think the symbol for Yin and Yang) made of Heartstone.
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