Dumai's Wells is over, the Asha'man have been tested and are now considered the most deadly weapons in the world. The first Aes Sedai have sworn to Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, and now he turns his attention to Illian where the Forsaken Sammael rules. Newly raised Amyrlin Seat Egwene al'Vere and Siuan Sanche attempt to manipulate the rebel Aes Sedai into marching on the White Tower to pull down the usurper Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan. Mat Cauthon, Elayne Trakand and Nynaeve al'Meara seek in Ebou Dar for the fabled Bowl of the Winds in order to break the Dark One's unnatural control of the world weather. With the Dark One's forces and one of the most dangerous Shadowspawn trying to thwart them, can they reach their goal before the Seanchan can reassert their claim to the lands east of the Aryth Ocean?
A Crown of Swords is the seventh book in Robert Jordan's fourteen-book fantasy series The Wheel of Time. The book sees a return to the fast-paced, multi-climactic story lines that we have become accustomed to in this series. With Mat, Elayne and Nynaeve already established in Ebou Dar at the end of the last book their story-line takes off straight away, as if making up for lost time, and keeps going right to the end of the book. This also starts the real beginning of Mat's story-line away from the main plot surrounding Rand, just as we saw with Perrin when he went back to save the Two Rivers in The Shadow Rising. Mat's story lines are always good to read because they are always dramatic and add a lot of humour without taking away from the drama of the situation created in the book. The pace of the book again is not quite as fast as we have come to expect with the exception of Rand's plot which keeps jumping around from event to event to keep the book pushing forward. A bigger number to sub plots give us a good idea of what is going on all over the world whilst also creating more mystery as to characters intentions and allegiances.
All in all the book is another very good read but like the previous book, Lord of Chaos, not one of the better books in the series. The pace has been picked up again but with this book set up to go from the start by the previous book we find that it gets in to it a lot quicker. With most of the characters story-lines keeping them in one place, we look to Rand to keep the plot moving, but it does this well and pushes the book towards its dramatic conclusion.