Moiraine and Lan have brought Rand al'Thor and the others from the Two Rivers (and Loial) to the Blight. a great victory was won for the Light and spring has come at last. Rand al'Thor has discovered that he can channel the tainted male half of the One Power and is therefore cursed to go mad. There are other facts he'd just as soon mistake as well. Secrets to be kept. Moiraine tells him he is the Dragon Reborn, that he must defeat the Dark One in the Last Battle, and he may not survive it. Nynaeve and Egwene know, but he begs her not to tell Mat and Perrin or Loial. The Eye of the World had hidden within it the remnants of one of the seals of the Dark One's prison, the banner of the Dragon, and the fabled Horn of Valere. These are more proof that the Last Battle is coming. The Horn can summon the great heroes of all the ages back from the dead, but they will fight for the first who blows the horn - Light or Dark - so it is essential the Horn be kept safe.
Time has passed at Fal Dara while the members of the party recover from the battle and make plans for the future. Egwene and Nynaeve will go to Tar Valon to begin training to be Aes Sedai, Mat Cauthon to be Healed of his deathly bond with the Shadar Logath dagger, and Perrin will go with them before returning home. Lan is training Rand how to use his sword and making excellent progress. Rand stays to learn, but plans on making his escape. Time has passed, though, and the greater world is coming to Rand. The Amyrlin Seat, the leader of the White Tower and the Aes Sedai has come to Fal Dara and Rand knows that whatever her reasons may appear to be, she has come for him.
Then the Horn is stolen. Stolen by a corrupted villain with a personal vendetta against Rand, and with it he steals the Shadar Logath dagger. The Horn must be found for the sake of the world, but Mat's life is at stake. The dagger was killing him, but without it he'll die faster.
'The Great Hunt' divides our cast into two. The armored party of Shienarans, led by the proud Ingtar, seek the Horn and includes the three Super-boys [thanks fandom] and Loial. A man named Hurin is along who can track people by smelling what they've done. An Aes Sedai, named Verin Mathwin, figures out who Rand is (or will be) and rides after the hunt for the Horn for her own reasons. All three boys are Ta'veren, which means that the 'Pattern' (reality for shorthand) both weaves itself around them, drawing others into their path, but also in strange ways limits their choices and their ultimate destiny.
Egwene and Nynaeve travel to Tar Valon with Moiraine, Lan, and the Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche. Nynaeve's enormous potential in the Power allows her to skip novice-hood and pass through the Acceptatron (again, thank you fandom) and become an Accepted. Egwene is a novice with Elayne, the Daughter-Heir to Andor, the kingdom the Two Rivers is supposedly in. After Elayne's eventful meeting in TEotW with Rand her destiny tangled inextricably with his, along with her brothers Gawyn and Galad (and...a whole lot of other people. More on that in a few books). Min Farshaw was befriended by Moiraine because of her ability to see visions and sometimes interpret them around people, but she knows after one meeting with Rand that she is tied to him as well. Many other characters with only a passing mention on the page often crop up hundreds, sometimes thousands of pages later, their lives twisted by their contact with the ta'veren - an excellent conceit that covers a lot of authorial necessity.
The hunt for the Horn is beset with problems for the boys, and the budding super-girls training at the White Tower are not as safe as they should be. There are some shocking developments, feats of strength, deeper villainy, and a dramatic climax that, while not the MOST satisfying of all the books, comes pretty darn close.
The Wheel of Time:
Next: 'The Dragon Reborn'
Previous: 'The Eye of the World'