"A Crown of Swords" is Book 7 of Robert Jordan's 14-volume "Wheel of Time" series. The title refers to the crown worn by the king of Ilyan - a crown literally composed of swords, making it difficult to wear physically and metaphorically.
In this book, Rand wonders if he is going insane, but is reassured when he finds a new lover, who can partially predict his future. He spends most of the novel gathering his forces - via conquering, persuasion, and inspiration - in order to invade Ilyan and battle the evil Sammael.
Other star-crossed lovers finally hook up after a long separation; while Elayne and Nynaeve with the help of Mat continue their quest for the Bowl of the Winds, which can halt the unnatural global warming brought on by the dark ones; and Egwayne asserts her power as the new Amyrlin Seat. Oh, and Mat is raped by a queen.
I am now halfway through Robert Jordan's massive "Wheel of Time" series, and I feel committed. Each book which hovers around a thousand pages, but I am convinced Jordan could have told this story in far less space.
I like the characters and I like the story. But I wish Jordan would get on with it.