"The Fires of Heaven" is Robert Jordan's fifth book in "The Wheel of Time" series. Despite a plethora of characters introduced in the first four novels, this book is very much the story of Rand al'Thor. Rand is the Dragon Reborn, the foretold reincarnation of Lews Therin Telamon - a warrior king from thousands of years ago, who is destined to lead the forces of light against those of darkness in the upcoming final battle. Rand gathers and command his armies, battles dark friends, and feels his sanity slipping away as Lews Therin's thought intrude upon his mind.
Jordan is often criticized (sometimes by me) for the slow pace of the series. But the passage of time makes Rand's gradual transformation from naive shepherd to warrior king more plausible.
Two other characters grow considerably in this volume: Mat tries to run from his responsibilities but repeatedly rises to the challenges set before him; and Morgaine sacrifices her pride and more to do what is right.
Other significant developments in TFOH:
- Villainess Lanfear's obsession with Rand and Lews Theron finally erupts into a violent confrontation
- An ancient warrior woman is released to the real world after centuries trapped in a dream world
Perrin is notably missing from this book - presumably resting from his heroic actions in the previous novel and celebrating his honeymoon.
The action accelerates near the end of this book: major characters are killed, and others seek vengeance against their murderers. The switching perspectives in the final chapters show the same action from different points of view, giving a frantic pace to the narration.
"The Fires of Heaven" starts slowly but is saved by a strong finish.